Jawbone’s new UP Coffee app can put your caffeine consumption into context. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Apple relies heavily on caffeine. A recent company job listing advertised a role for an iCup technician, with the important task of providing “a fresh brew coffee to all Apple employees within their department.”
Jony Ive’s design team is especially obsessed with the black stuff: For years they kept a $3,000-plus Italian Grimac espresso machine, despite the fact that it leaked all the time. For a while in the 1990s, the design team was even mockingly dubbed “Espresso” for their unabashed love of caffeine culture.
Apple’s not alone in its coffee snob behavior. The rise of coffee shops — with seemingly hundreds of variations on the old coffee standards — have infiltrated every city across the United States: Americans spend $18 billion per year on specialty coffee alone.
Pear Sports’ workout system pairs a heart rate monitor with comfortable earbuds and a mobile app. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
I’ve been a runner for a long time. I trained for (and ran) the 1994 Los Angeles Marathon. I’ve run 5K races, half marathons and relays for full marathons up here in Alaska, too. I find that running gives me the best bang for my buck: All I need is a pair of running shoes, some appropriate clothing (it gets cold up here), and some music to keep me getting out there.
Recently, though, I’ve been playing with a new bit of gear: the Pear Sports heart rate monitor, paired with a set of earbuds engineered to stay in your ears while working out, plus a pretty fantastic mobile app to make sense of the heart rate data.
The shoes are your own, the Boogio slides under the insole and attaches on the shoe rim. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Jose Torres, CEO of Boogio, wants you to track your fitness with the most obvious part of your body: your feet.
“We’ve got 60,000 layers of sensitivity in the Boogio,” he told Cult of Mac at last week’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, “so we can track gravitational force, inner balance, and three different acceleration forces of your feet.”
As the nation grows more obese yet car culture still rules, here’s the nudge of the hour: your car and your fitness app talking to each other, reminding you that you’re not moving enough.
Automatic’s smart driving assistant can turn your old hunk of junk into a smart car, but the company announced today that it’s teamed up with Jawbone to whip your belly rolls into shape by giving drivers more insight into how your physical activity and driving patterns are connected.
Wahoo’s first heart-rate sensor was of the pedestrian ANT+ variety, and connected to the iPhone through a 30-pin ANT+ dongle. Around a year later, the Atlanta-based outfit introduced the first heart-rate sensor that connected to a smartphone through Bluetooth; specifically and only to the iPhone 4s, since that was the only phone at the time with Bluetooth 4.0 under the hood.
Wahoo upped the ante again in January at CES, when they revealed a radical departure from traditional heart-rate based fitness tracking: Their new highly sophisticated, three-model TICKR sensor squad, combined with an all-new app that turns conventional fitness-tracking on its head. Now the first of the TICKR trio, the TICKR Run, is hitting the street.
I’ve always hated running. When I’m asked, I jokingly say that the ten years of life I probably lose by not focusing on cardio-vascular exercise, I make up for by not feeling compelled to jog in a big circle each day after work, or talk about running shoes at dinner parties.
But if there’s one thing that could get me running it’s a zombie apocalypse — in which members of the once-dead rise again to try and feast on my brain and internal organs. And I’m definitely not the only one.
Gamified fitness app Zombies, Run! was launched a couple of years ago, but has just been updated with a number of new features.
For those unfamiliar with it, Zombies, Run! replaces your regular running soundtrack with a zombie story in which you are the main character — with your level of physical exertion playing a part as you outrun zombie hordes, collect supplies, and eventually return (brain intact) to base camp.
The sleek lines of the just-redesigned Tao WellShell.
The Tao WellShell is probably unlike any iOS-connected fitness device you’ve ever encountered. It doesn’t simply track steps, or heart rate, or weight, or any of the other standard metrics tracked in dozens of other connected fitness devices. Instead, this little guy actually acts as the fitness device itself, rather than simply a tracker (though it does indeed also track heart rate, steps and sleep patterns).
You know how you see folks running or jogging and holding those pathetic little half-kilo (one-pound) dumbbells in their hands? And you know how sometimes you also see runners carrying their iPhones in a hand?
What if there was a product which was both a weight and an iPhone case? Somewhat predictably, given the title of this post, now there is. It’s the ToneFone, and it is billed as “The World’s Heaviest iPhone Case.”