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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Nike shoes talk to Apple's iPod in new system

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nike Inc. said on Tuesday that it is making running shoes that will be able to send data about the wearer's performance to an Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod using a new wireless system called Nike+iPod.

Shares of Nike rose over 2 percent as it capitalized on the popularity of the iPod line, which dominates portable digital music players. But one analyst said a relatively narrow section of Nike consumers would be interested in the running products.

Using a Nike+iPod Sports Kit, expected to retail for about $29, consumers will be able to access time, distance, pace and calories burned through the earphones of a nano version of the iPod via a sensor in the insole of special shoes that communicate with the digital music player.

Nike also launched a line of performance clothing, including jackets and shorts, that holds iPods and keeps wires untangled and out of sight.

"We share the same types of consumers," said Trevor Edwards, Nike's vice president of global brand management, who said more than half of nano users already use the device while running. "We know that these two brands work really well together."

A 2002 deal between Nike and the Netherlands' Philips Electronics NV that resulted in an mp3 player that tracked time and distance fizzled, Edwards said, because of differences in the two companies' target consumers.

SELLING MORE FOOTWEAR?

Analyst John Shanley of Susquehanna Financial Group said the Nike+iPod launch was innovative but would not appeal to the company's core base of teenage boys.


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