Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to be bulking up its wearable device team. A report emerged form 9to5Mac.com today asserting that the company lured away a top designer from Nike Inc (NYSE:NIKE). Ben Shaffer, Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen, led Nike through one of its most innovative design periods in recent years.
The report, which sources a person familiar with the matter inside Nike Inc (NYSE:NIKE), goes on to speculate that Shaffer will be used by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to create its own smartwatch or other wearable devices, like the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has long been rumored to be toying with wearable devices and several sources in recent months have confirmed the company is actively working on designs.
Shaffer at Nike
The main reason that Shaffer is linked to wearable computing is his part in creating the Nike Inc (NYSE:NIKE) Fuel Band. The wearable device is used to track fitness metrics, which can then be downloaded onto a computer, or onto an Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) device and manipulated to give the user a better feel for how their regimen is going.
That’s not the only thing that Shaffer worked on at Nike Inc (NYSE:NIKE), however, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is always in need of talented designers. One of the other products that came out of the Nike Innovation Kitchen during his reign included the Flyknit shoe, which was lauded as one of the most innovative pieces of footwear in years.
There is no confirmation that Shaffer is working on a wearable device for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and it is not at all clear what kind of job he will have at the company. From this report, however, it is clear that he will no longer have a place at Nike Inc (NYSE:NIKE).
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is going to release wearable devices next year, according to rumors. The company has apparently been working on many different kinds of products, but has not yet settled on an idea or told the public about it. Many analysts following the company think that it needs to release a new device in order to show it is still able to innovate.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has the manpower, the money and the innovative capital to make any kind of device it wants. With the addition of Shaffer to its design team it has added to those resources. A new product may be on the way, but it might be a while before we see it.