Jay Blahnik, a globally recognized fitness expert and instrumental consultant in the development of several Nike fitness products, has confirmed his new role at Apple. In July, we reported on unconfirmed whispers out of the fitness industry that Blahnik had been hired at Apple, likely to work on the iWatch. We’ve also since confirmed with additional sources that he has joined Apple, and these people say that Blahnik will be working on the iWatch team…
The first piece of confirmation comes by way of a Tweet from Blahnik to a person asking if his hiring at Apple is true. Blahnik said “yes, it is true!” and called the opportunity “exciting.”
According to profiles of Blahnik, the top-celebrity of the fitness world travels 40 weeks a year to speak at conferences and consult companies. Blahnik, who has consulted for several companies over the past several years, including Nike, Gatorade, and General Electric, will be fully leaving the fitness industry to take the job at Apple.
Blahnik previously consulted at Apple on unspecified initiatives, according to online profiles, but it appears that his new work will be so critical that he has to focus the entirety of his current career on it.
According to several tweets and posts on Intstagram, a party for “leaving the fitness industry” was thrown for Blahnik in recent days.
The above Instagram photo appears to hint at the new Apple role by showing the cover of MacLife Magazine.
In another form of confirmation, Blahnik retweeted a tweet telling him that he will be missed. It appears that Blahnik also announced his new career path at fitness events over the past couple of weeks.
According to posts online and people in attendance, Blahnik was honored at the major IDEAFit Conference this month.
Blahnik also deleted his Twitter feed and removed all contact information, scheduling options, and many details about his career from his public website and online profiles following our July report.
With Apple developing a wrist-watch device that focuses on health, sensors, and fitness purposes, the hire of Blahnik is absolutely critical and beneficial for Apple. Blahnik’s career has been about changing the behavior of people, and his experience could help Apple CEO Tim Cook write the book about how a wearable device could change a person’s behavior. It seems likely that someone with a fitness career as bright as Blahnik’s would only leave everything behind to work on something as potentially profound as an Apple wearable device.
In addition to having immense fitness experience, Blahnik also has product development skills. According to his website, Blahnik has been critical in the development of Nike fitness apps, programs, Nike+ Kinect training, and the FuelBand.
Jay has been a Nike Elite Athlete and Nike consultant for almost 20 years. He worked closely with Nike on the launch of Nike+Running, which has become the largest digital running community in the world. He was also the original creator and program developer of the Nike Training Club App, and the Nike Training Club in-gym program, which boasts over 6 million digital users. He is also a key expert and consultant for many of Nike’s new Digital Sport initiatives that launched in 2012, including Nike+ Kinect Training and Nike+ FuelBand.
The Nike FuelBand is the Nike-built wearable computer that measures distances moved and levels of exercise performed by its users. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook wears the device and has praised it on numerous occasions. Apple’s Bob Mansfield, who has demonstrated interest in wearable and fitness devices, also wears a FuelBand. With Blahnik’s experience in developing those Nike products, it seems that he will be incredibly instrumental in ensuring that the Apple “iWatch” includes fitness elements.
This program was designed with Nike Sports Science, the same kind of skills and drills that we give to our elite level athletes when they come to campus to train or improve their game. So it is inspired and built off of the same science behind all of those training programs. So whether you’re a beginner, who’s just looking to get results and get started or whether you’re actually an athlete currently playing sports, this is going to build on your fitness and athleticism, which we think are actually skills that both general fitness consumers need but also athletes need.
According to a source, Apple, in recent months, has been thoroughly investigating technologies for motion sensing for use in upcoming TV products. Perhaps Blahnik’s experience in developing fitness tools for the Xbox Kinect could play into Apple’s “grand vision” for the living room. Despite rumors to the contrary, we currently believe that the launch of radically new Apple television hardware is unlikely to occur this year.
In addition to fitness tools, based on recent hires from medical and sensor fields, the iWatch will be able to measure blood levels and other elements of a user’s health. While the launch of the iWatch has been rumored for this fall, recent reports (and our own analysis in a previous post), point to the release being at least a year away.
At a time where some believe that the iPhone and iPad could be Apple’s last game-changing products, Apple is making moves to measure what the industry wants and work in secrecy on new potentially life-changing devices.
- iWatch’s novelty emerges as Apple taps sensor and fitness experts (9to5mac.com)
- iWatch watch: a roundup of some of the more interesting concepts (9to5mac.com)