Apple has hired former Nike design director Ben Shaffer, claims 9to5Mac, citing a source at Nike. Shaffer worked as the Studio Director of the “Innovation Kitchen”, Nike’s research and development lab, which produced popular Nike products like the Nike Fuelband and the Flyknit shoe.
While it is unknown what position Shaffer will take on at Apple, it seems likely that he will be involved in the development of the iWatch, given his expertise in wearables. Apple has been aggressively hiring for its iWatch team in recent months, acquiring a number of experts in the health sensor field. The company also recently hired fitness expert and former Nike consultant Jay Blahnik.
At the D11 conference in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the idea of smart watches and other wearables “incredibly interesting” saying the market was “ripe for exploration.” Since then, Apple has filed for “iWatch” trademarks in a number of countries across the world, including Jamaica, Russia, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Colombia, Chile, and India.
The most recent rumors have suggested Apple’s iWatch will not make an appearance until late 2014 due to “hard engineering problems” that have yet to be solved.
Update: According to Fast Company’s Austin Carr, though Shaffer did oversee Nike’s Innovation Kitchen, he was not a part of the Nike Fuelband team, making it unclear what his role at Apple will be. by macrumors