Apple has been quietly assembling a dream team to work on its iWatch, and if you needed proof that there’s a wearable in the works – apart from today's whopping great launch event, that is – it’s the revolving door of talent arriving in Cupertino.
Update: The Apple Watch is now official, it's out next year
Essential reading: Apple Watch hands-on review
From sensor experts to the biggest names in fashion, Apple has assembled one of the biggest talent pools in wearable technology. We’ve rounded up 12 of its most exciting hires over the last year, evidence enough that somewhere in the belly of Apple HQ, a wearable device is being forged.
Patrick Pruniaux – TAG Heuer
If one appointment at Apple screams ‘we’re making a watch that you’re gonna buy’ it’s the appointment of Patrick Pruniaux from Tag Heuer. Previously the VP of sales and retail, who would be better at masterminding the selling of eye-wateringly expensive wearables?
Ryan Bailey and John Gale – Nike
Nike has been winding down its Fuelband operations fuelling speculation that there will be no more devices from the fitness company. Luckily, however, Apple has been there to help former employees find work. As of June this year Ryan Bailey is now Mechanical Design Engineer at Apple and Jon Gale Sensing Systems Engineer. Apple also hired Jay Blahnik, who advised on the Fuelband at Nike.
Nancy Dougherty – Sano Intelligence
Formerly at Sano Intelligence , Dougherty was responsible for “designing a novel system to continuously monitor blood chemistry,” and previously developed a band that “monitors heart rate, respiration, motion, and temperature".
What’s she doing at Apple? Well, now she’s a hardware engineer, of course.
Michael O'Reilly – Masimo
Back in 2013, Apple poached Michael O'Reilly MD , who was previously the chief medical officer at the Masimo corporation. O’Reilly helped his previous employers develop a host of biometric sensors for devices, including blood oxygen.
Marcelo Lamego – Cercacor
Another Masimo alumni, Apple hired Marcelo Lamego , who was previously chief technology officer at Carcacor. His experience involves developing non-invasive blood detecting technology for haemoglobin, oxygen content, carboxyhemoglobin and methemoglobin using light waves.
Jimmy Iovine – Beats by Dre
Apple got a lot of bang for its buck buying Beats, which could be considered the ultimate wearable technology success story. If Jimmy Iovine can repeat his trick of turning a superfluous consumer tech commodity into a must-have fashion accessory, the iWatch would be an overnight success.
Ravi Narasimhan – Vital Connect
Ravi Narasimhan used to be vice president of biosensor technology at Vital Connect, until he was hired by Apple in late 2012. He was "responsible for biosensor technology and algorithms for remote physiological monitoring with wearable medical devices" and previous projects involved heart rate detection and respiration.
Roy J.E.M Raymann – Philips Research
Cupertino is also now the home for Roy J.E.M Raymann, one of the top brains in sleep tech. He founded the Philips Sleep Experience Laboratory
At Philips Research, Raymann made his name as an expert on sleep tech and has a wealth of experience in wearables and sensors.
Angela Ahrendts - Burberry
Formerly CEO of Burberry, Ahrendts was headhunted by Apple to be senior vice president of retail and online Stores. Ahrendts has over 25 years of experience in the fashion industry, and it seems her skills won’t go to waste.
Selling wearable tech will be a huge challenge for Apple, and developing stores to be a place people are comfortable shopping for things they put on, rather than devices they type will be crucial.
Photo: Fast Company
Paul Deneve – Yves Saint Laurent
Apple’s appointment of high-profile Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve back in July is the biggest indicator that Cupertino has fashion on its mind. Apple made Deneve vice president, and he reports to Tim Cook on ‘special projects.’ His experience in luxury, designer goods fits perfectly for an iWatch launch.
Find out more about the iWatch by reading our comprehensive guide to everything we know about Apple's much anticipated wearable.
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