When Nike announced it was shutting down its FuelBand division and exiting the hardware business, many speculated that the company would be teaming up with Apple for the long-awaited iWatch.
Nike didn’t exactly do much to cool the rumors either — issuing a statement that claimed the two companies would “continue to partner on emerging technologies to create better solutions for all athletes.”
Now Nike Chief Executive Officer Mark Parker has poured more fuel on the fire, saying that sportswear company is committed to focusing on software, and is “excited” about its relationship with Apple.
That came during an interview on CNBC. Here’s a transcription of part of the exchange (you can see the full video below):
Parker: You’re going to continue to see us commit to this area, to focus on expanding the reach. Today we have about 30 million FuelBand users. We’re hoping to push that to over 100 million. 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.
CNBC’s Sara Eisen: Well, can you give us a hint? Are we going to expect some sort of collaborative device coming out? Nike and Apple?
Parker: I can’t really say that. There’s been a lot of speculation, which I understand. I will just say the relationship between Nike and Apple will continue. And I am personally — as we all are at Nike — very excited about what’s to come.
There are several reasons a Nike/Apple partnership makes total sense. For one thing, Tim Cook links both companies by being CEO of Apple and having sat on the board of Nike for the past nine years. For another, Nike’s FuelBand works exclusively with iOS, essentially making it a glorified iOS peripheral.
Apple has hired former FuelBand employees, including Ben Shaffer — previously Nike’s Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen, the division responsible for Nike’s wearable tech.
Do you want to see Nike be one of the key fitness-tracking developers for Apple’s iWatch? Drop us a line in the comments box below.