Apple has hired Ben Shaffer who was the Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen at Nike. The Nike Innovation Kitchen has produced such products as the Fuel Band and the Flyknit shoe.
With Apple’s continued development of its own wearable watch-like device, Shaffer’s experience in working on the wearables with Nike will be critical. The Nike Fuel Band is a popular product amongst Apple executives, including Apple CEO (and Nike Board member) Tim Cook and former Hardware lead Bob Mansfield. Based on Apple’s experience and usage of the Fuel Band product, it seems like that Apple’s own wearable computer will have similar fitness-tracking abilities.
This isn’t the first Nike related hire for Apple. It recently hired Jay Blahnik, a well respected fitness expert and consultant, who worked closely with Nike to help launch Nike+ Running and who was a key expert and consultant for Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ Kinect Training.
It’s believed that Apple is working on an iWatch that would connect to the iPhone and that could be used to track fitness levels. Apple is said to have already 100 designers working on the device and have filed for ‘iWatch’ trademarks in select countries.
Notably, Apple introduced a new M7 motion coprocessor in the iPhone 5s that gathers data from the accelerometer, gyroscope and compass which allows for enhanced fitness and activity apps.
Nike has confirmed that Shaffer is no longer at the company.