2 companies drifting apart? The must have accessory for most runners is the Nike+ system. For those unfamiliar, this is a sensor that slips inside a Nike shoe & connects to a receiver attached to your iPod. Run data is recorded to the iPod which can then be synced (Syunc?) to your Nike+ online account. The system works beautifully and at $29 (plus an iPod) is one heck of a deal.
For Nike & Apple it seemed a beautiful match, Apple gets to sell more Nanos & Nike sells high end running shoes (must runners go through 2 pairs a year). But there's a hitch for Nike, thanks to third parties like Marware, the sensor can be attached to any running shoe which leaves Nike splitting $29 whilst Apple gets to sell more $149 Nanos.
Now Nike has released a stand-alone piece of hardware, the Sportband. This $59 wrist device also logs your run data but requires no iPod thereby bypassing Apple. Obviously the runner doesn't get music to go but many of us (myself included) don't actually listen to the iPod anyway. And this time Nike gets to keep all the revenue without relying on shoes sales to make up the difference.
Obviously the new device is not stocked in the Apple Store!