9to5Mac has the scoop on Apple's big hire. Shaffer sounds like a perfect match for Ive's design team.
Apple has lured away top Nike design director Ben Shaffer, according to a source at Nike with knowledge of the details behind Shaffer’s departure. At Nike, Shaffer was the Studio Director of the Innovation Kitchen. This is Nike’s research and development lab where new product designs are created. Under Shaffer’s lead, Nike was named the most innovative company in 2013 by Fast Company. Nike’s Innovation Kitchen has been responsible for wearable products like the popular Nike Fuel Band, and most recently, the Flyknit shoe.
As Apple designers have previously explained, the company goes through hundreds of prototypes and design considerations before landing on a final product. Apple’s devices also are in design development for a number of years. Based on Shaffer’s anecdotes about his design process, it seems that he understands design on the level of Apple’s own industrial design group.