MapMyRide can be great for estimating distance and speed, but there's nothing like getting the info straight from your bike's moving parts instead of relying solely on GPS technology. According to Patently Apple, our favorite Cupertino company could be getting into the bike business - the smart bike business.If you want a bike computer that can export data to your desktop, you're looking at spending a minimum of a couple hundred dollars. Apps like
Patently Apple offers a detailed examination of the patent, but we'll just take a look at some of the most exciting parts.
The patent application, entitled "Systems and Methods for Integrating a Portable Electronic Device with a Bicycle", describes a system that not only interfaces with the bicycle itself, but allows members of a cycling team or group to communicate with each other.
Patently Apple summarizes the patent as be able to monitor "speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, incline, decline, heart rate, power, derailleur setting, cadence, wind speed, path completed, expected future path, heart rate, power, and pace". It calls the patent "extraordinarily detailed and packed with interesting twists that the sporting cyclist will really appreciate".
The system Apple proposes offers a number of advantages over typical systems, such as being able to share real-time information and statistics with other bicycles operating the same system. Apple's system could provide real-time information to servers to be processed and viewed remotely. Patently Apple even points to a hands-free system for inputting commands via voice commands and the ability "to automatically or in response to a user instruction, record video, audio, or take photographs reflecting the course, and geo-tag the generated media for publishing".
While the patent application identifies the iPod and iPhone as potential devices, it does not restrict the system to that, acknowledging the possibilities for other types of display, including "a liquid crystal display (LCD), light emitting diode (LED) display, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED), carbon nanotubes, nanocrystal displays, or any other suitable type of display that could be incorporated in or coupled to the bike."
The system sounds like a dream for cyclists, especially those trying to ride in large groups. If you've ever been on a bike trek with a large group of people, then you know it can be like herding cats, and a GPS-enabled communication system could be a dream. Beyond that, the integration with all the other apps and remote servers could provide limitless services. How about an app that monitors weather conditions and wind directions and alters your route to deal with headwinds? Or an app that monitors speed, gear settings, incline or decline and pedal speed to guide you as to the best gear ratios? How about an OnStar system for cyclists, that makes calls or sends out alerts if the cyclist crashes?
We don't know about you, but we can't wait to get our hands on one of these.