The rumors surrounding the impending launch of Apple’s first foray into the smart-watch market just got a bit more intense and believable. On Friday, the American tech giant announced it had wrested away the vice president of sales from the Swiss luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer. By all accounts, the iWatch will launch at some point later this year. Most reports have the release date pegged for some time in October. The company has yet to announce any definitive date, but, by the looks of it, this latest hire is just one more way of confirming that it’s gearing up to release the iWatch on the market.
The newest high-level acquisition at Apple is Patrick Pruniaux, the former vice president of sales and retail at Tag Heuer. The announcement that Apple had nabbed him was first made by Jean-Claude Biver to CNBC on Friday; Biver, the head of the watch brands department at LMVH, the luxury goods conglomerate that also manages Tag Heuer, told the media outlet that Apple had signed a contract with the Tag Heuer sales director. Later on during the day, 9to5Mac, a website dedicated to all things Apple, identified the new hire as Pruniaux. The news was then confirmed by global press agency Reuters.
Biver told CNBC that he doesn’t feel betrayed by Pruniaux’s departure, since the sales CEO did not leave Tag Heuer for a direct competitor. He added: “if he goes to Apple I think it is a great experience for him” and then went on to say that Swiss watchmakers should be keeping an eye out on the tech giant. According to Biver, “the iWatch will have the same status symbol power as many other Apple products, especially at the beginning. I personally believe it has the potential to be a threat for the industry, and it should not stay with its arms crossed.”
Most industry experts expect the iWatch to be launched in September or October this year. In late June, Reuters cited anonymous sources within the company, according to whom Apple has already gone ahead with mass production of the wearable gadget. Their reports say that Quanta is in charge of producing the iWatch and also state that Apple has filed the necessary documents for trademarking the iWatch in Japan. Company representatives notably failed to make any official statements regarding the device at the WWDC conference for developers. However, as many tech pundits have noted, they did make several announcements, which could be interpreted as more oblique hints regarding the upcoming release of the device.