Nike would be smart to outsource their fitness hardware to Apple and the iWatch

“There’s a rumor going around that Nike is axing their Nike Fuelband hardware division,” Rene Ritchie writes for iMore. “Whether it ultimately proves to be true or false, given where Apple is and where they may be going with iOS 8, iPhone 6, and perhaps even an iWatch, it makes a ton of sense.”

“If and when Apple has their own wearable on the market, then it wouldn’t matter if you had your iPhone 6 or iWatch with you on any given day,” Ritchie writes. “Even your iPad, conceivably, in your [backpack] while hiking. It would all just work together, syncing Healthbook via iCloud to all your devices.”

“In a world and future like that, a company like Nike wouldn’t have to go to the trouble to make their own fitness band,” Ritchie writes. “They can take all that effort and concentrate on making great software and services instead.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Great software, from Nike? Nike is a “hardware” company. They design shoes, eyeglasses, golf clubs, shorts, caps, golf balls, etc. Physical goods.

There is very little proof that Nike can do software well. Their Nike+ site is so-so and pretty much unnavigable crap when viewed on the iPhone in a mobile browser. They have a handful of iOS apps that seem to work pretty well, but are certainly not something Apple couldn’t do 10 times better in their sleep. All of these Nike stories end up saying the same thing: Let Apple do the hardware and Nike can do the software. Pfft. Nike hasn’t magically become a great software company just because they decided to axe their fitness hardware.

Apple can run rings all day long around Nike when it comes to software. They have access to iOS and OS X APIs that nobody else has and they control the hardware in total, including the Apple M7 motion coprocessor. Nike offers nothing that Apple can’t do far, far better when it comes to software (or hardware).

What would Nike really be bringing to the table here? Our best guess: Retail and branding. Nike is in thousands upon thousands of locations worldwide where Apple is not. Nike can help Apple sell the product via the Nike brand and their existing relationships with a massive network of retailers. Nike’s core competency is not software, it’s sporting goods and retail.

Nike is smart to outsource their fitness hardware to Apple and the iWatch because they know they will not be able to compete. Likely they’ve got a pretty clear idea of what Apple’s about to do and they’ve smartly decided to climb onboard and help where they can.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple and Nike gearing up for a big announcement this fall – April 22, 2014
Nike failed. Now only Apple can save wearables – April 22, 2014
Buh-bye FuelBand: With friends like Apple, Nike doesn’t need its own hardware – April 21, 2014
Nike fires majority of FuelBand team, to stop making wearable hardware – April 19, 2014


    1. Yes, sounds like this (with a little modification): We’ve learned and struggled for a few hundred years here figuring out how to measure time and make a decent watches. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.

      Are they? Time is not the only thing measurable.
      Apple: Out with the old, here we bring you your new “fashion”.

  1. Perhaps just a little over-the-top hyper-critical ‘Take ‘there.

    Nike knows plenty, as well this story was also debunked the day it was released. Not sure why it’s just getting posted now.

    And many people like the Nike hardware, and their Nike Fuel program. Are they perfect? No? But there’s a reason they were chosen to partner with Apple back in 2005…

      1. Not Just Brand – But marketing. And part of that is their “fuel” concept.

        Even if Nike doesn’t make hardware anymore, or if Apple never releases a smartwatch, the kind of people who care that much about their workout have bought or are interested in quantifing their workout. Nike uses “fuel” vs calories or whatever. Customers use the website to compete with their friends on how much they walk or fuel generated.

        If Apple adopts the fuel branding for their healthbook, then however you measure your fuel, and however you track your competition (like with a game center score or with nike’s own website), Apple + Nike is a good combo for marketing and adoption of “healthbook” + “Fuel”, Esp since Tim Cook sits on the board of nike and wears a fuelband.

  2. Could it be that Apple used Nike as a wearable test bed? What if the Nike shoe sensor and iPod setup was Apple’s idea? It would make sense given the infancy of wearables when this came to market. Why expose Apple and the future of a connected you strategy?

    1. I think you are correct, pointing to the long road strategy of Apple. I believe we will see this play out with the confluence of LiquidMetal/Sapphire in upcoming iDevices.

  3. I got the exact opposite impression. The only Nike product I have a positive experience with is software. The Nike Running App is quite excellent – really easy to use and useful, better than all the other running apps I’ve compared it to. Nike hardware, however, is has not been such a great experience: I’ve owned 2 pairs of Nike shoes, and they were very overpriced, and they just fell apart after an incredibly short amount of normal use. Easily the worst brand of shoes I’ve encountered in terms of price and durability. To me, it the optimizes made-in-china crap that’s only expensive because of its logo and marketing.

  4. I think it would be quite beneficial to both to cooperate on Apple based products in the sports and health field. If Nike don’t know what the sportsman wants more than Apple then they shouldn’t be the all conquering brand that they are so that expertise should be of help to Apple. equally as this product might not be such an easy sell as iPod, iPad, iPhone their marketing, outlets and brand generally would be a considerable boost I should think. Just because you can do something better doesn’t mean that you will automatically sell your product better than the opposition even if Apple has previously won in such scenarios. The opposition isn’t quite so naive these days anyway so cooperation could where practical is a good thing or niche where they earn most of the profit might just turn into niche as time goes on.

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