Nike CEO Hints at Apple Fitness Tracker

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Nike CEO Mike Parker recently backed up rumors that Apple is making a strong push into the fitness tracking market saying he's excited about what the future holds for the two company's relationship. His comments follow news that Nike has gutted its FuelBand hardware team and will instead focus on developing software for the devices other companies make.

Nike CEO confirms deeper collaboration with AppleNike CEO confirms deeper collaboration with Apple

In an interview with CNBC he said,

We have partners that we work with... obviously the most visible partner we have is Apple. We've been working with them for a long time, and we're excited about where that relationship will go forward.

He added that Nike is working on expanding its NikeFuel user base. NikeFuel is the company's fitness tracking system. The company uses NikeFuel with its own FuelBand tracker, SportWatch, and Nike+ running app on the iPhone.

When news that Nike had laid off about 80 percent of its FuelBand hardware team earlier this month, the company said that it would continue to sell the FuelBand SE, but didn't say it would continue to develop new hardware. Instead, the company said it would focus more on software development, which led to speculation that Nike's partnership with Apple had become much tighter.

That deeper partnership was a big indicator Nike was developing software for Apple's own fitness tracking gear, rumored to be a wrist worn device called iWatch.

Apple hasn't confirmed it is getting into the health and fitness tracking market, but the company does have a multi-year track record of bringing in new high end talent with health and fitness tracking expertise. Couple that with Apple's stated "intense interest" in wearable tech, and it's a pretty safe bet that some form of wearable fitness tracker is coming from the company.

Whatever Apple is working on will likely come some time soon. Company CEO Tim Cook said Apple is entering into new product markets this year, and assuming the company wants to pack in as many device sales as possible, that'll happen in time for this fall's holiday buying season.

The deeper collaboration most likely has Nike developing software for Apple's hardware, which is something that's already happening through the Nike+ running app. Considering Nike's experience and success with fitness software development, that looks like a good path for the company to follow.

"We are focusing more on the software side of the experience," Mr. Parker said. "I think we will be part of wearables going forward."

[Thanks to What Mobile for the heads up]

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Comments

Lars Pallesen 1

Does the news say anything about whether the fired hardware designers from Nike have incidentally been offered new jobs at a certain fruit company in Cupertino?

wab95

Interesting.

For some time, I have felt that the Nike FuelBand hardware was a proof-of-principle device whose primary function was to introduce the NikeFuel software system, and that, given their long-term partnership, NIke would throw in their lot with Apple and whatever hardware they would eventually release, and which would be a more refined, capable and mature product than Nike’s introductory and short-lived wearable.

Having become a fan and user of the FuelBand and NikeFuel, I am gratified to see evidence that this might prove true, and that my accumulated data to date may not have to be lost when I almost undoubtedly will switch to the Apple solution.

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