Apple has hired one of Nike’s top design directors to work on wearable products at Cupertino. Ben Shaffer served as Nike’s Studio Director of Innovation Kitchen which is the athletic apparel company’s research and development arm responsible for products like the Nike FuelBand which is said to be a favorite among Apple executives including Bob Mansfield and CEO Tim Cook.
It’s unclear exactly what position Shaffer will hold at Apple but it’s a pretty fair assumption that he will be working on wearables like the long-rumored iWatch. Cupertino has reportedly been aggressively hiring talent to work on the smartwatch as of late.
Back in July, reports surfaced that Apple was hiring professionals in the health sensor field to work on the wristwatch and just last month, the company poached fitness guru Jay Blahnik who consulted on the FuelBand.
Cook has been rather open about his opinion of wearable devices. Back at the D11 conference in May, the executive said the idea of smartwatches and similar wearables was incredibly interesting and the market was ripe for exploration.
Apple was one of the first rumored to be working on a smartwatch when the term started to become sexy. Many expected the company to introduce a device by the end of the year and while that could still happen, it seems unlikely. Recent reports said the watch may not appear until late 2014 as the endeavor involved some difficult engineering problems they have not yet been able to solve.