A few months ago, word got out that Nike was significantly downsizing its FuelBand team. The company’s CEO later confirmed the move, saying that it would be transitioning the focus of its FuelBand project from hardware to software.
The news sparked speculation that the strategy shift had something to do with Apple’s rumored wearable, and today more fuel was added to that fire. Apparently the iPad-maker has added two ex-FuelBand engineers to its iWatch team…
9to5Mac reports that Apple hired former FuelBanders Ryan Bailey and Jon Gale in June. Bailey served as a Senior Test and Validation Engineer at Nike, and is now listed as a Mechanical Design Engineer at Apple. Gale was a Senior Firmware Engineer, and is now employed as a Sensing Systems Engineer with the Cupertino firm.
Here’s an overview of what Bailey did at Nike via his LinkedIn profile:
Wearable devices and consumer electronics product development. Cross functional mechanical, electrical, materials and algorithm testing to inform data driven design decisions. Act as feedback loop providing engineering recommendations to all major engineering leads; mechanical, electrical, algorithm, software and product architects. Support local product development team as well as Asia Operations team. Work closely with internal and external partners to encourage efficient and integrated decision making. Drove durability and process improvements to improve FuelBand 1 and SE durability via engineering recommendations and custom lab and field testing. Developed and refined custom test protocols to accurately simulate in-field hardware defects.
Both Gale and Bailey join what is believed to be an extensive team working on wearables at Apple. Over the past year, the company has hired a number of fitness and medical experts, and it recently picked up TAG Heuer’s Patrick Pruniaux.
Not much is known about the so-called iWatch, but recent reports claim it’ll feature 10+ built-in sensors for tracking various health and fitness data, wireless charging, and more. The consensus is that Apple will unveil the device in October.