Facebook hires Apple’s UI Design Manager, possibly for a phone project?

According to a new report by InsideFacebook, Facebook has recently hired Apple’s former Product Design Manager Chris Weeldreyer, as indicated by his Facebook profile. Weeldreyer, who has 8+ year experience as user interface design manager, started his new role at Facebook on June 18, 2012.

This gig is another indication that the social networking giant could in fact be developing a phone of its own (here are the mockups)…

Weeldreyer’s Facebook page says he worked as Apple’s UI Design Manager between November 2003 to February 2012. Prior to Apple, he had worked as Principal Designer with San Francisco, California-based Cooper from September 2000 to October 2003 and before that at Pentagram and frog design.

Nick Bilton reported on the New York Times’ Bits blog in late-May that Facebook was poaching a bunch of former and current iPad and iPhone engineers to work on a phone project at Facebook, the social networking giant’s third take at own phone.

9to5Mac has more on Weeldryer’s work at Apple:

He certainly worked on at least iWeb as he is listed as an inventor on several Apple Inc filed patents including iWeb for iPad, multi-touch and gesture related inventions, as well as a number of security related patents. His LinkedIn lists his specialties as: Industrial Design, Interaction Design, User Interface Design.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Facebook hired the engineer to do some interface work on Facebook’s web site or mobile apps or even streamline their design efforts across platforms.

Be that as it may, it’s increasingly looking that Facebook could in fact be building a phone.

What do you think, should this have Apple worried?