Apple's iPod Nano Pedometer Patent Application Sparks iWatch Speculation

Apple has been rumored for some time to be working on an "iWatch" featuring biometric sensors and integration with other iOS devices, and a recently published patent application (via AppleInsider) addressing pedometer functions is being presented as evidence that the company is indeed working on a wrist-worn fitness device.

In some implementations, optimizations for detecting steps when a pedometer is worn at a user's wrist are described. In some implementations, a threshold crossing step detection method can be enhanced for wrist locations by counting the number of positive peaks between comparison threshold crossings, adjusting a minimum peak-to-peak threshold for qualifying threshold crossings, and inferring a second step based on the amount of time between threshold crossings. In some implementations, the pedometer can automatically determine that the pedometer is being worn on a user's wrist.

apple_wrist_pedometer-patent
The problem with this interpretation is that Apple already offers a product with a built-in pedometer and which is frequently worn on the wrist or arm: the iPod nano with Nike+ integration. Also supporting the idea that this research was pursued with the iPod in mind is the fact that the sole inventor listed on the patent, Yash Modi, is open about his work on iPod pedometer functionality during his time at the company. Modi left Apple in March 2012 to join Nest.

modi_ipod_pedometer
While such pedometer functionality is likely to make its way into the iWatch given rumors of emphasis on biometric sensors for the device, Apple's patent application is by no means a smoking gun given that the technology has been in use for a number of years already. The built-in pedometer debuted in the fifth-generation iPod nano introduced in September 2009.

Still, Apple's "Wrist Pedometer Step Detection" patent offers an interesting glimpse at how Apple has worked to optimize algorithms for detecting steps when a device is worn on the wrist. Unlike standard pedometers that are worn on the waist and provide consistent step data, the wrist adds complexity to step measurement because its motion is not always tied to actual forward movement. Algorithms analyzing wrist movement data must isolate actual steps from the background movement when users are typing, driving or performing other common tasks.

Apple's filtering method of step analysis accurately measures this movement and has the added benefit of being able to analyze movement from a device that is worn anywhere on the body. The software powering the device also can determine when a device is worn on the wrist or another body part and will adjust its analysis based on the device's location.

Apple is expected to unveil its iWatch wearable later this year with health and productivity features that connect the device to a user's iPhone or iPad via Siri and iOS 8's Healthbook app.

Tag: Patent

Top Rated Comments

Chupa Chupa Avatar
107 months ago
Pedometers are funny

They don't actually tell you how much calories you burn when you are stationary.

Ie lifting, yoga, cycling

I mean no offense but the people with pedometers buy them don't lose weight and throw them in a drawer.

Get a heart rate sensor and eat well.

Right, and spoons are funny too. They can't cut food. Forks are odd too. When you eat soup with them all the broth escapes!
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
George Zip Avatar
107 months ago
Ah god! My left knee isn't supposed to bend like this!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
107 months ago
So the iWatch will allow amputees to strut with confidence?

Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Chupa Chupa Avatar
107 months ago
You don't like being teased

You are one of the few success stories with Fitbit

You walked. Wow

Clap
Clap
Clap

Where are your muscles?
Teased? I don't even know you. Teasing is something friends do to each other. Your comments were just defensive and nothing more that an childish attack because you had no intellectual response. But since you care so much about me, I run 30 miles a week, but I'm self confident that I don't need to mock people that might want to walk to build my ego. Anything that gets people moving is great to me. I do love activity monitors, yes. But they are just tools, which was my original point to your original post. Every tool has a distinct use.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Radio Avatar
107 months ago
Pedometers are funny

They don't actually tell you how much calories you burn when you are stationary.

Ie lifting, yoga, cycling

I mean no offense but the people with pedometers buy them don't lose weight and throw them in a drawer.

Get a heart rate sensor and eat well.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Prosser Series 8 3

Apple Watch Series 8 Rumored to Feature New Design With Flat Display

Wednesday May 18, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
The Apple Watch Series 8 could feature an all-new design with a flat display, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In his latest video on the YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Jon Prosser highlighted information from ShrimpApplePro that suggests the Apple Watch Series 8 could feature a flat display in what seems to be a design originally rumored for the Apple Watch Series 7. ...
anker 563 dock ports

Anker's Latest USB-C Docking Station Brings Triple-Display Support to M1 Macs

Wednesday May 18, 2022 7:06 am PDT by
While Apple's early M1-based Macs can only officially support a single external display, there are ways around the limitation. Anker is launching a new 10-in-1 USB-C docking station today which delivers just that. The Anker 563 USB-C dock includes two HDMI ports and a DisplayPort port, and it leverages DisplayLink to carry multiple video signals over a single connection. Given that this hub...
macOS Monterey 2

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.4 With Support for Studio Display Webcam Update

Monday May 16, 2022 10:10 am PDT by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.4, the fourth major update to the macOS Monterey operating system that launched in October 2021. macOS Monterey 12.4 comes over two months after the launch of macOS Monterey 12.3, an update that added Universal Control. The ‌‌‌‌‌macOS Monterey‌‌ 12.4 update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System...
Whatsapp Feature

WhatsApp to Let Users Leave Group Chats 'Silently' and View Rich Link Previews in Status Updates

Tuesday May 17, 2022 3:07 am PDT by
WhatsApp is working on a new feature that will allow users to "silently" leave group chats hosted by the messaging platform instead of all members of the group being notified when they do. As it stands, when someone leaves a group chat, WhatsApp announces their exit to the entire group, making the act of leaving very public. It's not possible right now to leave a group quietly, but WhatsApp...
apple data auction iphone privacy ad

Apple Highlights iPhone's Latest Privacy Features in New 'Data Auction' Ad

Wednesday May 18, 2022 9:00 am PDT by
Apple today shared a new ad highlighting iPhone privacy features like App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection that are designed to give users more transparency and control when it comes to their personal data being collected. The ad revolves around a young woman named Ellie who discovers that her personal data is being sold at an auction house, with bids being placed on her...
airpodsproinear

Apple Facing Lawsuit After AirPods Allegedly Ruptured Child's Eardrums With Amber Alert

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:40 am PDT by
Apple's AirPods ruptured the eardrums of a 12-year-old boy in 2020 when a loud Amber Alert was issued, according to a lawsuit filed against Apple in California (via Law360). The child, identified as B.G. in the filing, was watching a movie on Netflix on his iPhone in 2020 while wearing AirPods Pro. The AirPods Pro were allegedly set at a low volume, but an Amber Alert sounded without warning ...
apple store palo alto

Apple Reinstating Employee Mask Mandate at Approximately 100 U.S. Retail Stores

Tuesday May 17, 2022 11:11 am PDT by
Apple retail employees at around 100 stores will need to go back to wearing a mask while working, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Apple is mandating masks for employees again due to a rising number of COVID cases across the United States. Customers who visit an Apple Store are not required to wear a mask at this time, but Apple is continuing to recommend masks for all Apple Store...