In a CNBC interview this week, Nike CEO Mark Parker added fuel to rumors about Apple integrating Nike’s fitness tracking technologies in upcoming wearable devices such the iWatch. Parker said the company aims to increase users of Nike fitness tracking to 100 million from 30 million with the help of industry partners like Apple, with whom Nike has a collaboration history.
Our Digital IQ Index: Sportswear featured wearable fitness technologies of Adidas, Nike, Fitbit and Under Armour, finding that Sportswear brands have gained an edge over technology companies in the category. FuelBand and Fitbit have devoted users, while Google-made products have yet to develop an audience and Apple has yet to come out with a device.
However, Nike’s recent lay engineer layoffs (and rumors it would shut down the FuelBand division) led to fears that fitness tracking was a bubble. Nike was the leader in the category, and its failure could mean that consumer brands lacked all the components of making successful wearable hardware. A successful wearable device would need to have a luxury element in addition to functionality. Apple has been successful at manufacturing devices that are prestigious as well as utilitarian, which is why a Nike/Apple designed fitness device could be the one that sticks.