Apple poaches Nike wearable devices guru - report

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Nike has allegedly lost one of its top designers, as the director of the shoe and apparel company's research and development studio, responsible for the FuelBand fitness tracker, has reportedly left Beaverton for Cupertino.

FuelBand


While customers and investors clamor for Apple to enter the wearable devices category and speculation about an "iWatch" mounts, the iPhone maker has snapped up another subject matter expert, according to 9to5mac. Ben Shaffer, formerly the Studio Director of Nike's Innovation Kitchen, the research and development laboratory that created the popular Fuel Band fitness tracker and lightweight Flynit running shoe, has reportedly taken up a new position at Apple.

Shaffer's departure, if true, comes just months after Apple reportedly hired another of the top minds behind the Fuel Band, fitness expert Jay Blahnik. The two hires, when placed next to other recent enlistments from the "non-invasive medical sensor" field, point to a significant increase of interest in wearable technology inside 1 Infinite Loop.

It remains to be seen whether the defections will alter the notoriously close relationship of collaboration between the two companies. Apple has long included Nike+ integration with its iPod and iPhone lines, and Nike was granted early access to update its apps to take advantage of the iPhone 5s's M7 motion coprocessor.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    AppleInsider, just because another site writes "poaches" please, please, please use some thought about what is going then write accordingly.

    Tim Cook remains on the Nike board while hiring Nike employees for Apple to assist Apple with some type of biometric wearable device. THIS fact pretty much negates the sensationalistic "poaching" term written in the title of this article. It is beyond obvious Nike is aware of the hires.

    Since Nike's new iPhone app was the only app demoed at the iPhone announcement that took advantage of the new M7 processor it is "beyond obvious" Apple and Nike are collaborating on technology in a manner that is mutually beneficial to both companies.

    Step up the investigative reporting please!
  • Reply 2 of 14
    leavingthebigg poaches data from different sources
  • Reply 3 of 14
    Apple: Thinking outside of the Infinitive Loop.

    If you think about it, Nike made electronics to sell shoes. It makes sense for Apple to take over that function and feed information back to Nike so they can sell more shoes. This way both companies do what they do best and support each other's merchandise markets.

    It's win-win-WIN...
  • Reply 4 of 14
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,600member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    While customers and investors clamor for Apple to enter the wearable devices category

     

    I don't remember ever hearing that people actually wanted Apple to be in the wearable devices category. I thought there was just speculation that Apple might make something.

  • Reply 5 of 14

    This guy's title at Nike was "Studio Director, Innovation Kitchen"... With a title like that, I'm willing to bet he was a freelancer or similar contract labor. In other words, he wasn't "poached", he would've left for a better offer with Apple depending on the terms of his agreement with Nike. The design business is dominated by talented freelancers. Think of it like the movie business, where virtually all people are labor for hire on projects, there are no real "employees" in the traditional sense.

  • Reply 6 of 14
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    This guy's title at Nike was "Studio Director, Innovation Kitchen"... With a title like that, I'm willing to bet he was a freelancer or similar contract labor. In other words, he wasn't "poached", he would've left for a better offer with Apple depending on the terms of his agreement with Nike. The design business is dominated by talented freelancers. Think of it like the movie business, where virtually all people are labor for hire on projects, there are no real "employees" in the traditional sense.


     

    No, 'Director' has a very specific meaning in most company. Generally a high profile technical person, sub VP, and very close to the metal.

    I see no reason to believe he's anything other than what the article indicates.

  • Reply 7 of 14
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,883member
    It's obvious Apple is working in an iSneaker. /s

    Can't innovate, my @ss.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    This guy's title at Nike was "Studio Director, Innovation Kitchen"... With a title like that, I'm willing to bet he was a freelancer or similar contract labor. In other words, he wasn't "poached", he would've left for a better offer with Apple depending on the terms of his agreement with Nike. The design business is dominated by talented freelancers. Think of it like the movie business, where virtually all people are labor for hire on projects, there are no real "employees" in the traditional sense.
    Except Apple of course where designers seem to be there forever. Most of the industrial designers at Apple have been there 10-15 years, a few 20+.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    leavingthebigg poaches data from different sources

    Since I watched the iPhone announcement, I stand by what I wrote.

    Don't like it?

    Cry me a river, baby?! ????
  • Reply 10 of 14
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by GQB View Post

     

     

    No, 'Director' has a very specific meaning in most company. Generally a high profile technical person, sub VP, and very close to the metal.

    I see no reason to believe he's anything other than what the article indicates.


     

    A "Studio Director" is not a standard title (a standard title would be Design Director or Studio Manager), so unless you have inside knowledge of the position I have no reason to assume he was next in line for a VP or SVP spot. My assumption is an upper level manager, which could just as soon be a contract labor position.

  • Reply 11 of 14

    Can I ask a question?  As a loyal fuelband wearer, I lit up at the keynote showing of a Nike+ Move App that used the M7.  But where is this app? is it available or a future?  I would love to monitor motion with the phone and dump the fuelband.

     

    I'm hoping these guys will help make a great iWatch.

  • Reply 12 of 14
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    If all these hires are recent- are we looking at the distant future for a wearable device? It's not like this guy would have any influence if a device were coming out this spring.
  • Reply 13 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post



    AppleInsider, just because another site writes "poaches" please, please, please use some thought about what is going then write accordingly.



    Tim Cook remains on the Nike board while hiring Nike employees for Apple to assist Apple with some type of biometric wearable device. THIS fact pretty much negates the sensationalistic "poaching" term written in the title of this article. It is beyond obvious Nike is aware of the hires.



    Since Nike's new iPhone app was the only app demoed at the iPhone announcement that took advantage of the new M7 processor it is "beyond obvious" Apple and Nike are collaborating on technology in a manner that is mutually beneficial to both companies.



    Step up the investigative reporting please!

     

    Why so serious? Sounds like you are speaking through your $AAPL shares. Relax. You can't change a thing.

  • Reply 14 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

    This guy's title at Nike was "Studio Director, Innovation Kitchen"... With a title like that, I'm willing to bet he was a freelancer or similar contract labor. In other words, he wasn't "poached", he would've left for a better offer with Apple depending on the terms of his agreement with Nike. The design business is dominated by talented freelancers. Think of it like the movie business, where virtually all people are labor for hire on projects, there are no real "employees" in the traditional sense.


     

     

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     

     

    A "Studio Director" is not a standard title (a standard title would be Design Director or Studio Manager), so unless you have inside knowledge of the position I have no reason to assume he was next in line for a VP or SVP spot. My assumption is an upper level manager, which could just as soon be a contract labor position.


     

    Very interesting. Very interesting in the sense that this is a typical scenario on the internet: Someone establishes a hypothesis without a single supporting fact, and proceeds it to defend it with intricate logic. Why not just leave it as "just my opinion, which is not worth a damn"?

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