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A week with the Nike + iPod Sports Kit

The kit's been out for a while, and I have been running with my own (with a cheap shoe wallet; not Nike's shoes) for about a week now, so I figured I would post a brief review and some thoughts about one of the most unique (and arguably active) iPod accessories to date.

In a nutshell - it's nice. Very nice. Setting up and configuring the kit was a snap, especially for a couple of typically complex and finicky gadgets like these (cmon, how many times has a wifi connection had an attitude with you?). For those waiting for more confirmation as to whether you need Nike's specialized shoes for this kit to work: you don't. I, like many others already, purchased one of those $8 Nike Run Shoe Wallets we blogged, tossed the sensor inside (with a couple pieces of kleenex to make sure it doesn't bounce around) and attached it to the top of my generic running shoes. I configured my kit by both running and walking a .25 mile distance, and measured my route with the gmap pedometer to make sure the sensor was accurate.

Now a lot of users are (understandably) frustrated with Apple and Nike for designing the kit to only work with the iPod nano. Unfortunately, this is a situation to actually thank these companies for, as hard drive-based iPods aren't designed to take the kind of impact that running delivers; their drives would ultimately end up failing sooner (as opposed to later), and there would be a lot of unhappy, iPod-less runners out there. Believe it or not, Apple (for once) actually saved a lot of people a couple hundred dollars with this move.

I won't spend much more time on a review, as iLounge has already been there, done that. I do, however, think that some feature requests are in order. After all, this is a 1.0 product, right?
  • When on a distance run, the audio feedback begins rattling off the remaining distance every 100 meters when the last 500 meters is reached. I realize it's a 'pump you up' technique, but this can get kind of annoying when I'm grooving with a song; an option to toggle this would be super.
  • The Nike+ site really needs to discover the wonders of those futuristic 'cookie' things; having to re-login at every visit is so... 1994.
  • Speaking of the site - this one might be a little crazier, but: I think it would be a smoother experience if the Nike+ 'application' was simply integrated into iTunes itself (toggle-able in the Sources list: My Library - Podcasts - Videos - Nike+ would be cool). I'm using an iPod with an iPod accessory, and I need to plug said iPod into iTunes to do anything with this running data anyway - why am I surfing out to an external site to view how out of shape I am and challenge friends to distance competitions to see who has to pay for coffee next time we hang out?
  • Add a 'podcasts' option to the music choices available for the run. As far as I can tell, if I want to listen to a specific podcast on a run, I need to create a playlist (either on my Mac or 'On the Go' on the iPod itself) and add a podcast in order to listen to it during a run. Clunky.
That's about it for my list of requests for an update to the Nike + iPod Sport Kit product and software. What do you readers think? Has anyone else been stopped dead in their tracks with one problem or another? Sound off.

The kit's been out for a while, and I have been running with my own (with a cheap shoe wallet; not Nike's shoes) for about a week now, so I...