Apple hires TAG Heuer executive ahead of iWatch launch
Apple has reportedly hired the sales director of luxury Swiss watch maker TAG Heuer to help promote its forthcoming iWatch, which is expected to launch in October.
The appointment was announced by Jean-Claude Biver, head of watchmaking at global luxury conglomerate LVMH, which owns TAG Heuer. Biver told CNBC that the watchmaker's vice president for sales, Patrick Pruniaux, left last week "to take a contract with Apple". He did not say what the new job would be.
A TAG Heuer spokeswoman told Reuters that Pruniaux "was probably head-hunted". Apple declined to comment.
Pruniaux is not the first executive from the luxury sector to be appointed by Apple in recent months. Burberry ex-chief executive Angela Ahrendts started as its new head of retail and online sales in May, and former head of French fashion brand Yves Saint Laurent Paul Deneve was hired last year to work on special projects.
The hirings hint at Apple's growing interest in the wearable technology sector, which is expected to be worth $8.3bn by 2018. The company is rumoured to be developing an 'iWatch' to rival Samsung's Galaxy Gear.
The smartwatch will reportedly feature a curved touchscreen and run on iOS, allowing it to connect to iPhones and iPads, according to Japanese news service Nikkei.
The wearable device could also contain sensors to collect health and fitness information such as blood glucose levels and heart rate data, for possible integration into the newly-announced iOS 8 HealthKit.
Other rumours surrounding the iWatch suggest it could utilise the Touch ID technology already present within the iPhone 5s, that it will pair up with third-party health devices such as the Nike FuelBand, and that it will cost between $199 and $299.
The announcement of an iWatch would mark Apple's first newly-created product since the introduction of the iPad in 2010.