Apple has been granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that relates to health tracking (via AppleInsider). It describes a standalone sensor that can be attached to weightlifting bars or other in-gym equipment to track repetitions and measure frequency, quality of movement and more using onboard accelerometers and processors. It would also be able to work with a remote display, including one described as residing in a wristwatch in the patent.
The sensor described in the patent would also have its own built-in display, and some versions of it are described as a bar clamp for use with barbells and dumbbells to also lock weights in place and add no additional mass to the overall equipment.
This is a highly specialized piece of equipment, aimed at regular gym-goers, but it’s also a natural route for Apple to explore given its clear, stated interest in the health and fitness sector. Others have attempted to create dedicated weightlifting sensors, including Atlas and Push, but Apple’s efforts would probably tie directly into its new Health centralized app in iOS 8.
In all likelihood, this is one Apple patent that will never make it to market, as it’s a very specialized accessory that ventures quite far from what they’ve created in the past. It seems much more like the kind of third-party hardware they’d welcome from partners like Nike, which makes the simple run-tracking pedometer. Still, it’s interesting to see that Apple is willing to explore making its own ecosystem of unique accessories if it needs additional health and fitness input sources.