So I was out riding with Monument Dave at Ski Liberty in PA this past winter. I'm sure he was gaping out in a classy Virginia tech jacket and fine thread that only he can pull off when he said "I have my airtime watch today." Clearly my head half turned inquisitive dog look was more than enough to make him explain a bit more. "It records your hang time." Pulling a carabiner off a belt loop and he tossed it in the air. Upon catching it the little watch face showed how long this device had been up and about defying then regretfully accepting the laws of gravity. maybe it was the tone of the six espressos I had consumed but we both pretty much erupted into laughter. Another piece of useless junk marketed to snowboarders and showing why not all technology finds a relevant home. Then fast forward to today ... this popped up on my radar.
The USPTO has officially revealed one of Apple’s great Issued Patents which covers extreme sports. Apple is apparently working on an activity monitoring system that uses speed and loft sensors amongst others to monitor ski, snowboard and mountain bike jumps. For example, a typical snowboarding person might regularly exclaim after a jump that they “caught” some “big sky,” “big air” or “phat air” without ever quantitatively knowing how much time really elapsed in the air. Apple’s invention is to provide an apparatus and method for determining the “air” time of participants in sporting activities. The system is also shown to work with a monitoring watch, very much like a Polar style device. As in the case of Apple working with Nike, Apple may now be working with leaders in other sporting arenas. Whether Apple will modify the iPod in any way or simply debut a series of new devices like a smart-watch is unknown at this time. But for now, it’s clear that Apple has their eyes on advancing deeper into the sporting market. Extreme Sport enthusiasts - get ready!
It looks like the mac posse is working on the same thing. Who's ready for a Burton snowboard than will tell them how fast, miles, vertical feet and all the other pertinent data that is best left too people with excess in the time and money department. Like Burton or Lib's $1,200 snowboards targeting a newer high end of the market this feels like an attempt to create a new market in snowboarding. However this one is based around hardware and data that isn't relevant. let me put it to you this way. Logging more vertical feet, air time, speed these things do not make you a better rider. Sure, knowing if you are riding faster will help if you are a boardercross or slalom racer. But, if you are waiting on this tech and you are in that category ....you're an idiot. Buy a stop watch. On the the slightly blurrier side of all things park, half pipe and free riding things are very clear. Judging on hang time, or god forbid "phat air", has never really entered the equation. Style, effort and that little life affirming action of "going for it" tend to count for more in the judges rule books. In short this doesn't make sense and it's nice to know what crap we will see at SIA cluttering the shelves.