Apple patents SmartGarment DRM for clothing


Apple, we love you, but you are most definitely the screen door in our submarine sometimes.

Apple's Nike+ iPod Sport Kit is rather neat if you're a runner. By inserting a little dongle in your shoe and pairing it to your iPod, you can record all of your statistics as you go for a jog. Despite the Nike branding, one of the cooler things about it is you could use the Nike+ kit in any shoe, from a pair of old chucks to a glossy pair of taps.

Now, Apple wants to change all that. In a patent published last week but filed in March of 2007, Apple describes a "Smart Garment" technology that would lock a gadget to a specific set of clothes. In short, it's DRM for clothing.

Ars Technica has a better look at the patent, and to be fair, Apple's offering some new features: one Smart Garment feature, for example, is the ability to inform a runner that their Nike shoe has been dangerously degraded and may result in injury. But even that feature can be interpreted cynically: isn't that something Nike could set the threshold on to sell people unnecessary and expensive new shoes.

DRM in music is bad enough, Apple. DRM in clothing is simply ludicrous. It's the sort of thing Terry Gilliam might have inserted into Brazil if it had been made twenty years later.

Apple Wants To Tie Your Shoes To Your Clothes With DRM [Ars Technica via GeekSugar]

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  1. “…the ability to inform a runner that their Nike shoe has been dangerously degraded and may result in injury.”

    I am interested in how they are going to determine that. Currently, the only measure they have is time, and use – there is no measure on how the structure and material have degraded.

    This is bogus.

  2. #1: Of course there isn’t. And even if there was, they’d tell you to replace your shoes earlier than necessary (like copiers do with their toner) just to sell more shoes.

    Apple products I’m not to crazy about, but I have an iPod. Nike on the other hand, are scum sucking pigs. I haven’t touched a nike shoe since my Jordan IVs in 6th grade. Screw Nike. Everything they make now is butt ugly anyway.

  3. This is only a patent application, not an issued patent. Apple has not “patented” anything.

    I.e., Apple has only applied for a patent, which might or might not be granted. The ArsTechnical article is incorrect.

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