Apple's Newest Hires Make iWatch, iTV, iRing Seem Imminent

Apple hires Paul Deneve away from fashion house YSL and Pete Distad from Hulu, saying something about products it refuses to discuss.

Apple has made two big hires, making several rumored devices seem more likely.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has lured away Paul Deneve from the high-fashion brand Yves St Laurent, Bloomberg reported July 3. Deneve was previously also CEO of Lanvin and Nina Ricci.

Deneve will report directly to Cook and be a vice president, working on "special projects," Apple said in a July 2 statement, according to the report.

Apple is rumored to be working on wearable devices, including an iWatch and an iRing—projects it's tempting to think Deneve will contribute his sensibility and extensive experience to.

YSL announced July 2 that, effective Sept. 1, Francesca Bellettini will be its new CEO, as Deneve "has chosen to take up a new career opportunity in the high tech industry."

According to Bloomberg, Apple is also hiring Hulu executive Pete Distad "to help with negotiations to acquire content for Apple TV," according to two people familiar with the matter.

Apple TV enables users to view their view video content and the content in iTunes on an HDTV, but it's rumored that Apple is working on a television set of its own—an "iTV," as the press and analysts have dubbed it.

It's thought that an iTV, iWatch and iRing will complement the current Apple ecosystem, communicating with other iOS devices.

Topeka Capital analyst Brian White first reported on the iRing in an April investor note, writing that the accessory will act as a "navigation pointer for 'iTV,' enhancing the motion-detection experience and negating some functionality found in a remote."

On June 27, Japan's patent office made public an application Apple had filed June 3 to trademark the term "iWatch."

The new products would enable Apple to compete with Samsung using more than just iPhones; would strengthen its device ecosystem, as Samsung, with new tablets and laptops and phones, continues to build out its own; and ideally prove that Apple, without Steve Jobs, can still shine.

"Sentiment is bad. Make that horrible," investment firm Raymond James told investors about Apple July 1, days after Bloomberg reported that consumers aren't keen on Apple's new ad campaign.

According to Ace Metrix, a firm that analyzes the effectiveness of TV ads through surveys, Apple's newest commercial—a "manifesto ad" that suggests Apple makes so few phones because each one is a time-consuming labor of love—scored a below-industry-average 542, whereas previous Apple ads scored above 700.

(It's ironic, then, that struggling Motorola is following Apple's lead.)

Finally, in still more Apple-and-the-TV news, the Cupertino, Calif., company is said to be close to finalizing a deal with Time Warner Cable (TWC) to add more of its content to Apple TV.

According to the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, the content would be similar to what TWC currently offers through the Roku box and Microsoft's Xbox console and, soon, will offer to Samsung for its televisions.

While Apple, as a policy, doesn't acknowledge products it's working on, Cook has called wearables "an area ripe for exploration" and televisions a market of "intense interest."