A report published earlier today by Mark Gurman states that Apple has just poached one of the most influential and important directors from within Nike’s Innovation Kitchen. That particular studio is responsible for the innovative and popular Nike Fuel Band, and the Flyknit shoe. Its studio director, Ben Shaffer has allegedly joined Apple with an aim to help out on the design of wearable technology. An area Tim Cook confirmed Apple was very interested in.
Shaffer is the second person to be hired by Apple who had influence on the Fuel Band. Jay Blahnik also worked on Nike’s device as consultant, and has also joined Cupertino’s team. Exactly how Shaffer fits in to the Apple picture, and what his responsibilities will be is a complete unknown. It’s rumored that he’s working alongside Jony Ive to hone in the design of the wearable tech as Apple finally gets its device in gear for public launch. But, as Mark points out in his report at 9to5Mac, there’s a possibility Apple’s working on more than just a watch.
It’s no secret by now that Cupertino’s design team have been working hard on a piece of wrist-worn technology. We’ve seen a few patents before now including a snap-wrap style design, and one for a flexible battery. What we don’t know is exactly what it will feature, and whether or not it will take on the much-used ‘iWatch’ moniker. One thing I would say: If Apple’s going to shake up the wrist-watch or smart watch industry, it’ll have to be designed to look like nothing else that currently exists. That’s what Cupertino does when it enters a new category. Time after time. With the iPhone in 2007, iPod a few years earlier and the iPad. None of those products looked like anything on the market. iWatch should be the same. If it exists.
Neither Nike or Apple have confirmed or denied Shaffer’s move to Cupertino. Yet.