Did Apple Really Team Up With Nike To Develop A 'Smartband' With Gesture Controls?

Hot on the heels of reports suggesting Nike is done making its own wearable devices, a new report claims that Apple and Nike are teaming up to launch a new smartband this coming fall.

Cover image via CNN

Apple And Nike May Be Secretly Working On A New Smartband, Reports CNET

Apple and Nike reportedly developing a ‘smart band’ with gesture controls. Image used for illustration purposes only.

Image via BGR

The two companies have been working together on a wearable device that will launch toward the end of this year, Geektime is reporting, citing sources familiar with their plans.

However, Apple and Nike aren't working on the long-rumored iWatch, the sources say, but a smartband that would come with a number of sensors capable of tracking movement and operating other devices, like a smartphone, with just gestures.

Last Week It Was Reported That Nike Fired Majority Of FuelBand Team And Will Stop Making Wearable Hardware. However, It Now Denies Complete Shutdown.

Nike Denies FuelBand Shutdown, but Layoffs Could Reveal New Cracks in Wearables Market

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On Friday, CNET reported that Nike Inc is shutting down the hardware segment of its FuelBand division, and today, there’s at least a partial confirmation of that. Re/code reports that Nike has confirmed a “small number” of layoffs in its digital sports segment. However, the company also told the website that they would keep improving the Nike+ FuelBand App, launch new METALUXE colors and “sell and support the Nike+ FuelBand SE for the foreseeable future.”

Re/code notes that the statement they received from Nike Inc does appear to leave open the possibility that the company won’t release more FuelBand products. The website’ source said Nike may want to just run through its device inventory or that it may not have decided that it wants to completely shut down the division. Sources further said that Nike Inc has been talking about what to do with the FuelBand segment for months, citing high expenses, problems with manufacturing, and low margins. They also said the company hasn’t been able to attract a very high level of engineering talent.

Apple's Tim Cook Frequently Wears A Nike FuelBand Around His Wrist, Reports CNN, Hinting About A Possible Deal Between Apple And Nike. It Said:

Apple CEO Tim Cook is known to wear a Nike FuelBand to monitor his fitness. Could an Apple watch be replacing it soon?

Image via CNN

It's a simple thing, really, the rubber and stainless steel band that a well-known CEO frequently wears around his wrist. But the Nike FuelBand that Apple's Tim Cook has been seen sporting at multiple public events is just one clue about a possible deal between Apple and Nike that could be part of the sales pitch when a rumored Apple watch hits the market.

"Obviously Apple has enjoyed a healthy relationship with them over the years," said Brian White, a Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. analyst who follows Apple. "Our view has been that the fitness band will largely fold into the smartwatch in the future and most of the players will exit the market. If I were them, makes more sense to partner with Apple, but that is just my opinion."

That Apple And Nike Might Be Partnering On A Device Is No Surprise To Some Analysts

Apple's logo with a "green" leaf in honour of Earth Day

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Speaking recently with CNET, Nike analyst Jim Duffy of Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. said that a partnership between the companies is a no-brainer, adding that it's "likely that an Apple hardware offering would be supportive of the Nike software."

"Partnering with industry-leading tech companies is nothing new for Nike. We have been working with Apple to develop products since 2006, when the two companies introduced Nike+ Running, and Nike has since create Apps for the iOS including Nike+ Training Club, Nike+ FuelBand and Nike+ Move which launched in Fall 2013. Building on these successful products and services, Nike and Apple are partnering on emerging technologies to create better solutions for athletes," Nike spokesman KeJuan Williams said.

The Tale Becomes All The More Interesting When One Considers Just How Closely Apple And Nike Are Tied

Cook has sat on Nike's board of directors for the past nine years. And the two companies have already teamed up to create the Nike+ mobile app for iPhones and iPods.

Apple's iOS system is the only mobile system that can be used with the Fuel Band and its set of apps.

In September 2013, Apple hired Nike's Ben Shaffer, the man behind the "Innovation Kitchen" that created Fuel Band.

Meanwhile, CNET Reports That Apple And Nike Are Putting The Finishing Touches On The Smartband In Preparation For The Device's Launch Later This Year

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Exact functionality isn't known at this point, and it's not clear how Nike's technology would be integrated into the device, but it seems possible that the shoemaker's software would play an important role in the smartband.

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference is set to begin on June 2, and the company has used the event in the past to announce new products. Alternately, Apple has made a habit of introducing a new iPhone every fall, in advance of the holiday shopping season. It would certainly make sense to unveil a new product then as well.

Both Apple And Nike Have Not Said Anything On The Report Yet. We At SAYS Will Update This Story When We Have More Information.

Apple iWatch Concept Combines Nike Fuelband with iOS Apps

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