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Apple files wearable fitness tech patent

iWatch concept: Todd Hamilton
iWatch concept: Todd Hamilton
iWatch concept: Todd Hamilton

Tech powerhouse Apple filed a patent application for a smart pedometer which will count steps and distance from anywhere on a users body, an indication the company may be interested in getting into the fitness-tracking business.

The company that brought the world the iPhone, which revolutionized the smartphone industry and is already home to some of the top third-party fitness tracking apps, has been rumoured to be interested in developing a smart watch. This patent seems to fit with the company moving in that direction.

Traditional pedometers are required to be placed on a runner’s body but don’t work well on other parts of the body because the running motion it creates too much “noise,” or excess data beyond simply steps. Newer devices, like some smart watches and fitness bands, are able to be worn on the wrist and filter out excess noise to calculate steps taken and distance travelled. The new Apple patent takes this idea further by allowing users to strap the pedometer anywhere on their body.

The patent also covers a technology  that would be able to automatically detect where on the body it is and when a user begins to run.

The company has filed other patents in recent months related to smart watches and have been making new hires in health tracking fields, such as physiologists and sleep pattern experts.

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The company has made a name for itself by drastically shaking up whatever industry it enters, from the mp3 market with the original iPod, to the cellphone market with the iPhone and causing the explosion in tablet computing with the iPad.