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Apple patents cycle computer concept

Apple could be looking to expand on its experience with the Nike+ technology with a novel interface for cyclists, if a newly filed patent is anything to go by.

First spotted by Apple-watcher Patently Apple, the US patent details a "Smart Bicycle System" which hooks in to an "electronic device" - something which the diagrams show as not being a million miles away from an iPod in design - in order to track information such as speed, distance, altitude, heart rate, wind speed, and power.

By tracking this information - in a similar way to the company's Nike+ system for runners - cyclists would be able to better analyse their performance and potentially improve their ability. The possibility for inter-networking between devices is also mentioned in the patent, giving those who ride as part of a team the ability to monitor how their colleagues are performing.

While this is far from the first bicycle computer to hit the market, Apple's patent demonstrates that it is looking to take the next step and progress the technology far beyond what is currently available by mixing sensors on the bike itself with those built in to the "electronic device" - such as the GPS and accelerometer sensors in the iPhone.

Apple fans who travel by bike shouldn't get too excited just yet, however: the company has a history of patenting devices that never quite see the light of day. Given the existence of Nike+, however, this one is looking more convincing than most.

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