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Smart Shoes: Is Apple Losing its Edge Without Steve Jobs?

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A recent patent filed by Apple Inc. in July 2012 describes a sensor and alarm system that can be embedded into footwear, granting users a more empirical method on which to rely when deciding to replace worn-out shoes. Sounds interesting. Maybe 20 years ago. Steve Jobs, who was known for introducing products that were ten years ahead of what all the other tech companies were doing, would never have considered a product of this nature. Clearly the literature and research being discussed today is not leaning towards increased injury rates as shoes “wear out” or lose cushion. In fact, studies have demonstrated that as cushion is lost, control is actually gained. The previous thinking of replacing shoes after 300-500 miles was based on a single study from 1985 by Cook et al and was never discussed in literature again.

I was a huge Steve Jobs fan and still watch videos of his keynotes and interviews to learn and understand his way if presenting and thinking. In my eyes, it is sad to see Apple focusing effort on a product of this nature. Jobs has been notorious for saying that Apple introduces products for people’s needs, before people actually realize that they need them. Somehow I don’t think this fits the mold for a “Job’s Product”.

1. Hamill J, Bates BT. A kinetic evaluation of the effects of in vivo loading on running shoes. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1988;10(2):47-53.

2. Cook SD, Kester MA, Brunet ME. Shock absorption characteristics of running shoes. Am J Sports Med. 1985 Jul-Aug;13(4):248-53.

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