When Nike stopped developing its Fuelband wristware earlier this year, the company insisted that it wasn’t abandoning wearables — and there was plenty of speculation that Nike was merely ceding hardware development to Apple. Now Nike CEO Mark Parker has told Bloomberg TV that the companies are, indeed, hatching something.
Parker’s not saying what that something is, other than it’s “more stealth, more integrated, more stylish, more functional.” Given that Nike is deeply into the athletic wear business, we would not be surprised if tech-embedded clothing were the direction the company is headed in; it certainly ticks all four of those boxes.
When Nike shut down Fuelband development, it retained a software team. In fact, the company started talking more publicly about its “NikeFuel” metric right about the time the hardware team went away. Plainly, interest in the technology remained, even if that particular form factor went on the back burner.
Nike has a long relationship with Apple. Nike shoe-borne motion trackers have long integrated with iOS. Parker himself worked with Steve Jobs, and Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on Nike’s board of directors.