Apple May Have Killed The Nike Fuelband

Image via Nike

Rumors about an Apple wearable, speculatively titled the iWatch, are reaching something like a fever pith. Very few Apple products have received this kind of unofficial attention, and most of those that did were released at some point. People are expecting an iWatch some time this year. Apple appears to be readying the world for that release.

The flurry of rumors means that the company is likely considering the release of a wearable device, and a recent move at Nike all but confirms Apple’s interference in the wearable market. The Nike Fuelband project is all but over, according to a release by the shoemaker last week. The company announced layoffs in the hardware division that designed the wearable, though it also stated it would continue to improve software.

Apple was involved with the device, which only functioned with iOS products, and the layoffs in the hardware division may point to a cooperative relationship between the companies.

Nike Fuelband Offers Glimpse Into iWatch Future

Nike has maintained a close relationship with Apple in the last decade or so. Apple CEO Tim Cook sits on the Nike board, and is often seen wearing the Nike Fuelband. Nike’s wearable computers, including the Fuelband and the Nike+ devices, were designed to function with Apple products. The company’s smartwatch lacked the functionality that many are hoping for in an Apple offering, but it may have hit a few of the right notes.

The Nike Fuelband was a device that people would wear. It was svelte and attractive, unlike many of the wearables being pushed right now. The device failed however, in its function. Fuelband software is clunky and consumer reviews, sourced from Amazon, suggest that accuracy was a problem for the smart watch. An Apple product will be expected to fulfill its promises, first generation or not.

iWatch May Not Work For Apple

Despite the likelihood that Apple is working on a wearable, and very likely an iWatch, there is no guarantee that the product ill be successful. As in the run up to the launch of the iPad, an “underpowered laptop with clumsy touch controls and no multitasking,” there are growing questions about the plausible use cases under which an iWatch might be demanded.

The iPad proved that Apple was ahead of popular opinion. The company new what people really wanted from their devices, and they changed the computing industry as a result. The iWatch may be a more difficult sell, but Apple generally knows what it’s doing. Unfortunately, so does Nike, and that firm failed to market the Fuelband successfully enough to keep it on shelves.

Apple has its work cut out for it as it seeks not only to design, but also to market its wearable offering. Customers are going to be sceptical of another expensive Apple purchase. Whatever about the closeness of the two companies, the $149 price of the original Fuelband is unlikely to be replicated by an iWatch.