Apple is plotting a souped-up Nike+ style application for future versions of iOS, which would allow athletes to compete against each other in real-time, according to a recent patent filing.
The application would link up with specific pieces of gym equipment to write data to an iOS device in real-time and then share the results with another user to provide a competitive environment.
So, for example, if you're running on a treadmill in London, you could race against a bloke doing the same thing in San Francisco as if you were on the same running track.
iOS devices would link-up with each other and display stats like time, distance, heart-rate, calories burned and even blood oxygen levels.
Providing a competitive environment
The filing, entitled Interfacing Portable Media Devices and Sports Equipment says that information would be communicated between users via a third party website.
The abstract for the filing at the US Patent Office reads: "Circuits, methods, and apparatus that allow sports or other equipment, such as gym or other cardio equipment, to write data to a media player.
"Examples further provide the uploading of this data to a computer and third-party website. To monitor progress, the third-party website can be used to track workout data over time. The third party-website can also collect data from other users, which is particularly useful for providing a competitive environment.
"This data can then be graphically displayed in various ways to provide encouragement."
Nike+ in real-time
Apple has featured the Nike+ software, in various guises, on iPhone and iPad models down the years, but the suggestion here is that Apple thinks it can perhaps do better and turn iOS devices into essential fitness gadgets.
Nike+ currently uploads your workout data after you've finished exercising, but this innovation would allow head-to-head competition in real-time.
The app would, of course, require gyms to upgrade their machinery to be compatible with such a system, which is probably more of a reach than Apple creating the software in the first place.
You can read the full USPTO filing here.