Did Nike Cut Staff to Help Apple’s iWatch?

Source: Nike

Another day, another round of iRumors concerning the much-speculated but little-known-about iWatch. This time, the speculation is that Nike’s (NYSE:NKE) layoffs of its staff involved with the creation of the Nike FuelBand are some sort of indication that athletic wear company will somehow be involved in the development of the much-awaited iWatch. Mashable published several tweets concering this speculation in its coverage of the rumors.

CNET reports that Nike announced that it’s canceling future Nike FuelBand projects but continuing to support its community and sell current versions of the wristband fitness tracker. Nike will continue with its fitness-related software — it’s just scrapping a future FuelBand project.

The detail fueling the speculation regarding the iWatch is that Apple CEO Tim Cook is on the board of directors at Nike, a position he’s held since 2005. In the past, the two companies worked together to develop the Nike+ iPod application, which launched in 2006. Since then, Nike has developed other fitness and training apps.

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iWatch is a product in development. AppleInsider reports that Apple applied for patents related to a wearable wristband device. It has also applied for the name “iWatch,” which the wristband has been referred to as in press reports since then. The patents include categories that include wristwatches.

One major hire Apple made for the development of this product was poached from the Nike FuelBand team. Since Nike’s announcement, speculation that Nike will somehow be involved in the development of the iWatch as a fitness tracker continues.

While there’s a possibility that Nike will contribute either in the form of software or apps to the iWatch, this and many other iRumors regarding the device remain unconfirmed. The iWatch is rumored to have Bluetooth, Siri, and Maps on the wristwatch-sized device. Other rumors about the iWatch include a 2014 release date, that it will have a curved screen, and that it will contain health-monitoring tools. Apple has confirmed none of these rumors so far. That the wristband device the company keeps submitting patents about is even the long-rumored iWatch has yet to be confirmed by Apple.

Apple’s style is to remain quiet about new devices until their release date is near. The first iPhone was announced in January 2007; it was later released in June of the same year. The iPad was first announced in January 2010 and released in March that year. Until official word comes from Apple, the iRumors fly with no proof beyond the occasional insider speaking confidentially or the appearance of items of public record like patent applications. The rest is speculation.

As Apple has hired a consultant who worked on the Nike FuelBand and the previous collaboration between the two companies has resulted in Nike apps for multiple Apple products, including the iPhone and iPod, the possibility of Nike software for the iWatch remains likely. It just depends on what sort of device the mysterious iWatch is revealed to be when Apple is ready to release the product.

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