Although Nike has abandoned FuelBand, its fitness tracking bracelet, it is not out of the wearables arena. The company has teamed up with Apple to work on a new wearable device that will be less obtrusive, more ‘stealth’ and ‘stylish’ and will work with existing devices, according to Mark Parker, CEO of Nike.
Nike’s partnership with Apple in wearable technology goes a long way. It first partnered with Apple in 2006 for its Nike+ running sensors that connected to the iPod wirelessly. Nike abandoned its FuelBand in April last year and shut down the team involved. Consequently, two of its engineers moved over to Apple for working on its Apple Watch. But Mike Parker still thinks wearable technology is a key factor in the future of Nike.
As Parker said to Bloomberg TV in an interview:
“I think it’s going to be a big part of the future, absolutely. I think the form it takes is critical. You can go from the very geeky kind of wearables today – we’ve all seen some of those – to what I think you’ll see in the future, things that are more stealth, more integrated, more stylish and more functional, yes.”
Parker stated that having Apple’s CEO Tim Cook on Nike’s board was a big advantage because Nike has worked well with Apple earlier and Parker had personally worked with Apple’s founder Steve Jobs.
“Technologically we can do things together that we couldn’t do independently,” said Parker. “So yeah, that’s part of our plan, to expand the whole digital frontier in terms of wearables, and go from what we say is tens of millions of users – right now there’s 25 million Nike+ users – to hundreds of millions.”
Nike axed its 70-member dedicated FuelBand team just a few months after its 2nd generation fitness band was released, which though didn’t come as a complete surprise, was somewhat sudden. Apple’s entry into the wearable’s segment might have been one of the reasons. Nike said that it wanted to focus back on its existing business of fitness devices in shoes and on the Nike+ software.
It is not yet known what wearable technology Nike is developing in collaboration with Apple. Nike+ app will probably be on the Apple Watch. However, Parker’s comments suggest it will be much more than a mere smartwatch app.
Via The Guardian