Apple picks up two engineers from spun down Nike FuelBand team

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Apple's rumored wearables team, widely thought to be working on a so-called "iWatch" device, recently got an infusion of new talent as the company brought on two former engineers from Nike's stagnant FuelBand program.

According to their LinkedIn profiles, hardware engineer Ryan Bailey and sensor software expert Jon Gale were picked up by Apple in June, less than two months after Nike fired a "small number" of employees working on the FuelBand fitness tracker.

As noted by 9to5Mac, Bailey worked as a Senior Test and Validation Engineer at Nike, while Gale collaborated with partner companies to develop FuelBand firmware as a Senior Firmware Engineer. Bailey now holds the title of Mechanical Design Engineer at Apple and Gale is listed as a Sensing Systems Engineer.

Apple's latest hires come from the ashes of Nike's Digital Sport arm, which in April axed an undisclosed number of workers from the division's hardware team. Responsible for products like the FuelBand SE, Nike+ sportwatch and other wearable devices, Nike Digital Sport once consisted of 70 hardware engineers and 200 software engineers. At the time, rumors claimed up to 55 people from the hardware side were let go.

Bailey and Gale will likely join Apple's growing team of wearable device experts that include fitness guru Jay Blahnik, who consulted on Nike's FuelBand project, and former Atlas Wearables software engineer Alex Hsieh. Most recently, the head of TAG Heuer's luxury watch brand business Jean-Claude Biver revealed that Apple took on former sales director Patrick Pruniaux to assist in rolling out the anticipated iWatch.

Apple's other iWatch-related hires include a number of experts from the medical sensor field, pulse oximeter firm Masimo Corporation executive Michael O'Reilly and Philips Research sleep expert Roy Raymann.


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