Apple has recruited Ben Shaffer, formerly the studio director for Nike's Innovation Kitchen, a source says. The Innovation Kitchen is Nike's research and development department, the birthplace of products like the FuelBand wrist tracker and the lightweight Flyknit shoe. What Shaffer might be doing at Apple is unstated
, but based on his background it's speculated that he may have been brought on for Apple's alleged iWatch project
and/or future wearable technologies.
The unannounced iWatch faces a number of technical hurdles in order to succeed in the marketplace, should it ever actually appear. The device has to be stylish, light and comfortable enough to wear for hours, but big enough to house a processor, memory, sensors, wireless chips, and a reasonably-sized display. The central obstacle may be power consumption, since battery size is inherently limited on a wrist-shaped device.
The product is rumored to ship sometime in 2014, most likely in the second half. Speculation and scattered reports hold that Apple may have suffered engineering problems preventing it from shipping the product any sooner. In the meantime, some rivals will have a headstart, like Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear
, though the latter company recently admitted that its own effort
at a smartwatch "lacks something special."