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Nike FuelBand designer joins Apple, sparks iWatch rumours

Apple is said to have poached one of the key designers behind the Nike FuelBand, reigniting rumours it's working on a watch.

Time for some more rumours of an Apple timepiece. The Cupertino company has poached Ben Shaffer from Nike. Shaffer was the man behind the FuelBand wristband. Which would suggest Apple is gearing up to make a watch, and wants someone with experience of the wrist to help with it.

Shaffer was the studio director of Nike's research and development lab, Innovation Kitchen. His poaching hasn't been confirmed as yet (though Nike has confirmed Schaffer has left), but a source at the trainer-maker has spilled the beans to 9to5Mac.

Apple's senior bods are big fans of the FuelBand. CEO Tim Cook sits on Nike's board, and he and hardware boffin Bob Mansfield have previously expressed their fondness for the product. Apple also recently hired Jay Blahnik, a fitness expert who consulted on the FuelBand.

Tim Cook called wearable tech "profoundly interesting" recently, and said, "I think the wrist is interesting." All of which points to Apple making a watch.

The rumour fire was stoked once again a couple of weeks ago, when Apple unveiled the new iPhones. Tim Cook said the new M7 'motion co-processor' in the iPhone 5S would usher in a new era of fitness tracker apps. Which would suggest Apple has one eye on the fitness market. There's no reason it couldn't fit the M7 into a watch, after all.

Apple's time-teller is rumoured to arrive sometime around the end of next year. The company has already trademarked the name iWatch in a few countries. Samsung has stolen the lead on Apple though -- its Galaxy Gear smart watch hit the shops this week. Except it's not fared that great in our review. Oh well. Nice to get it out before Apple, I suppose.

Would you buy an Apple watch? What fitness smarts would you like to see it have? Or is wearable tech just a fad? Let me know in the comments, or on our non-wearable Facebook page.