Apple, a company that has introduced a lengthy series of must-have technological gadgets, will try and expand its repertoire even further by producing a "smart bike".
The company has applied for a patent for their idea of a smart bicycle that lets its rider monitor the full range of appropriate statistics for their cycling journey: speed, distance travelled, heart rate, acceleration, wind speed and a whole host of informative extras to let users get analytical about their cycling. In this regard, the smart bike concept is not unlike Apple's Nike and iPod collaboration that links a pair of Nike trainers to an iPod Touch or Nano via an app to monitor a similar set of vital statistics for runners.
Another similarity between the products is that the smart bike would require an iPod Touch or iPhone to operate its impressive array of sensors that analyse the cyclist's progress. To serious cyclists, the prospect of a computerised bike is not so novel, since attachable kits are already available. However, the novelty factor is the ability that users would have to share the data recorded by their smart bike with other smart bike users.
At present we don't have all the details of how the sensors would be installed or whether the iPod Touch or iPhone display would be coupled with an armband or simply mounted on the handlebars.
The more intriguing question than how the basic concept would be fleshed out is how does a smart bike fit Apple's broader business strategy? Is it an extension of their mobile marketing goals to highlight the iPhone's broad range of uses, or an indication of a more fundamental change of Apple's direction?
Apple has already shown that it is not afraid to try to be diverse and tap into other markets, but cycling products are remarkably niche compared to Apple's usual fare. However, the inevitable hype that is generated by the anticipated release of a new Apple product through online advertising and social media should set the wheels in motion for a successful reception.