The highly successful global shoes brand has recently halved the number of staff it has working on its Fuel Band, Nike's somewhat less-than-successful fitness tracker. Many have speculated that this could signal their retreat from the wearables market altogether, a view supported by the company's recent shelving of plans for a new, thinner Fuel Band.
However, there is another intriguing possibility.
Apple is widely regarded to be working on a new wearable device – tentatively referred to as the 'iWatch'. While there is no official confirmation on the existence or development of such a device, Apple's recent acquisitions, as well as patent info, makes a future wearable device almost certain.
It is possible that Nike has abandoned the Fuel Ban to secure itself a role on the iWatch.
This is where Nike comes in. Having partnered with Apple before on the Nike+iPod line of fitness tracking peripherals, the company has a long-standing relationship with Apple. It is indeed possible that Nike has abandoned its Fuel Band plans in order to secure itself a key role on the iWatch platform.
Backing this up is Nike's own official statements regarding the reduction of Fuel Band staff, emphasising that they have “evolving digital priorities”. Could these priorities be a private deal with Apple for Nike to provide exclusive branded software for the iWatch?
While only time will confirm these suspicions, Nike's brand power could easily be the magic bullet that Apple is looking for to open up the wearables market, in the same way it did with the iPhone and iPad