A while back, Ken wrote an article on ‘The Future of Gadgets’, and the elegance of the un-cluttered handlebar.  Well, it looks like, and really we shouldn’t be that surprised, Apple has been working on this, and of course taken it to the next level. Why stop at providing consumers with a ‘smart phone’, when you can provide a ‘smart bike’ to go along with it?

On August 5, 2010, a patent was published for Apple’s upcoming Smart Bicycle System.

Though still in development, it aims to deliver a similar functionality to the iPod + Nike system already available for runners. The Smart Bicycle System will provide live data such as: time, distance, speed, elevation, altitude, incline, decline, power, heart rate, cadence, calories burned, weather, and temperature, derailleur setting, wind speed, path completed, and expected future path, etc… Now, if you’re like me, you may be asking, ‘so what’s so special about that, because my Garmin 500 already does most of that?’ Well, not only can you interface with this live data yourself, but you can also interface with other riders around you, live! So imagine if you’re the Cervélo Test Team out for a training ride, and you can all interface with everyone’s data on the fly. Pretty cool and useful, I’d say, and all via your already beloved and adored, iPhone/iPod.

The novelty comes primarily from the ability to ‘share’ data while in a group and on the go. The patent allows for option to apply this system to any typical type of bicycle, from road, to mountain and BMX. I wonder though, once this technology comes into production, will this be something we see trickle down beyond the pro team level, and which bike manufacturers will be the first to integrate it. Could we see Apple as a team sponsor in the not too distance future, ie: Team Apple Specialized? Intergraded sensors, would certainly offer a clutter free, and theoretically, hassle free riding and metric measurement experience, but like with everything, the more you add to things, the more things there are to break and petentially go wrong. This goes back to my article talking about the practicality of using an iPhone/iPod as a bike computer. I’ll wait to see what Apple comes up with before I cast a vote there.

At any rate, GO APPLE GO, and Garmin, you might need to step up its game.

The read more on the patent, link here.