Apple has added to its wearables team yet again by hiring two former Nike FuelBand engineers. Jon Gale wrote FuelBand firmware code for Nike and Ryan Bailey was a hardware engineer on the FuelBand team, and their new jobs make it even more clear that Apple is working on fitness tracking devices.
Apple adds more Nike talent to its iWatch team
Mr. Gale's title at Apple is Sensing Systems Engineer, according to his LinkedIn profile, and Mr. Bailey is a Mechanical Design Engineer. Both have plenty of experience with the FuelBand fitness tracker.
The two joined Apple following Nike's massive FuelBand team layoffs where the company all but killed its wearable fitness tracking division. Nike is now focusing on developing software for other companies making fitness tracking devices, and hinted that it may be working closely with Apple on what sounds like the rumored iWatch.
Mr. Gale and Mr. Bailey aren't the first Nike employees Apple has hired. The iPhone and iPad maker previously hired high tech fabric designer Ben Shaffer, fitness expert Jay Blahnik who worked for the company as a wearable fitness tracker consultant.
Apple's fitness and wearables hiring list also includes health sensor expert Dr. Michael O'Reilly, non-invasive medical sensor expert Marcelo Lamego, sleep expert Roy Raymann, Alex Hsieh from Atlas Wearables, FDA approval process expert Divya Nag, fashion industry expert Paul Deneve, and more.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said he is "extremely interested" in wearable tech, but stopped short of confirming that's the next market the company is planning to disrupt. That interest may be focused primarily on our wrists, especially considering he recently hired Tag Heuer sales VP Patrick Pruniaux.
"There are lots of gadgets in the [wearable] space," Mr. Cook said. He added that he hasn't seen anything yet, "that's going to convince a kid that's never worn glasses or a band or a watch or whatever to wear one. At least I haven't seen it. So there's lots of things to solve in this space."
Considering the number of people Apple has been hiring, it's looking like the company is actively working to solve the issues Mr. Cook sees. Apple hasn't confirmed the rumored iWatch is in development, although rumors claim the company plans to ship its device this fall.
[Thanks to 9to5 Mac for the heads up]