Nike recently debuted a new iOS app called NikeConnect which will allow users to use an iPhone to interact with specific “smart” clothing and apparel.
The popular sportswear company, which recently became the official apparel maker for the NBA, is releasing a series of “smart jerseys” that can interface with an iPhone via the aforementioned app. Basically, customers who own one of the new jerseys will be able to tap their phone against a smart tag to access exclusive content with NikeConnect. According to the NBA, the jerseys give the wearer an “all-access pass into the world of their favorite team and players.”
Some of that content includes team and player statistics, in-game or post-game final scores, a pre-game countdown timer and information on when and where a team is playing next. Users can also view pre-game arrival footage, game highlights and videos related to a team or a specific NBA player.
The NikeConnect app will also have an “offers” page where users will be able to take advantage of certain promotions, including products and game tickets, Spotify playlists created by players, in-game boosts for players of NBA 2K18, and other “to-be-announced” offers. The app also tracks a user’s tap-in history and rewards.
“Today, Nike and the NBA introduce the future of fan apparel with the first NBA connected jersey,” the company wrote. “This innovative marriage of apparel and digital technology gives NikePlus members and NBA fans access to incredible product, customized content and exclusive experiences through the NikeConnect logo on their jersey’s jock tag.”
NikeConnect uses near-field communication (NFC) technology to interface with the jerseys. This wouldn’t have been possible in previous version of iOS, since Apple has been notoriously strict with third-parties using the iPhone’s NFC tech. As of iOS 11, Apple has loosened some of these restrictions with the addition of the Core NFC framework. Nike’s system only shows off part of the potential for NFC on the iPhone, too. In the future, the loosening restrictions could allow for a wide variety of ways for users to interact with their environment, interface with products, and even automate tasks.
The app’s availability will be slightly limited at launch, because of the NFC tech that the app utilizes. Apple device users will need to be using an iPhone 7 or newer running iOS 11. The app is also available for Android from the Google Play Store. As far as how much the smart jerseys will cost, they “range from $110 replica jerseys to $200 authentic jerseys”. Reportedly, only adult-sized jerseys will sport the NFC tech, and users will need a NikePlus account to access the features.
The NikeConnect app will officially launch on the App Store on Sept. 29, the same day that the official NFC-equipped jerseys will become available.