Is Nike going to be teaming with Apple for the iWatch?
Ever since Nike announced the surprising news that it was scrapping its rival fitness-tracking FuelBand line of wearables — including a new, slimmer device planned for this fall — the rumor mill has been buzzing with suggestions that Nike is now positioned perfectly to partner Apple for its long-awaited iWatch.
Here’s why it makes sense:
1) iOS was the only mobile system able to be used with FuelBand and its apps — essentially making the FuelBand a glorified iOS accessory.
2) Tim Cook links both companies together: being CEO of Apple, and having sat on the board of directors for the past nine years.
3) Back in September, Apple hired Ben Shaffer — previously Nike’s Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen, the division responsible for Nike’s wearable tech. In doing so it gained a key employee with knowledge of both companies.
Does all of this provide any definite answers?
Of course it doesn’t. But it does make a whole lot of sense given what we know about both companies and their respective strategies.
“Apple is in the hardware business. Nike is in the sneaker business. I don’t think Apple sees Nike as competitive,” Jim Duffy, a Nike analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, recently told CNET. “Nike would be content to let Apple sell devices, as long as they would be supportive of the apps.”
Finally, consider also this statement given to The Next Web on the back of the FuelBand firings, in which Nike noted the two company’s shared history:
Partnering with industry-leading tech companies is nothing new for [us]. We have been working with Apple to develop products since 2006, when we introduced Nike+ Running, and Nike has since created iOS Apps including Nike+ Training Club, Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ Move.
Building on these successful products and services, Nike and Apple continue to partner on emerging technologies to create better solutions for all athletes.
Nike as Apple’s partner for the iWatch? Just do it, we say — although maybe ditch the “fuel points” along the way.