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Apple iWatch Rumors Strengthen as Company Hires Former YSL CEO

In yet another indication that Apple has a smart watch in its pipeline, the company has hired former Yves St. Laurent Group CEO Paul Deneve.  The former fashion mogul will be working on special projects with Apple CEO Tim Cook, according to Bloomberg.

Deneve returns to the Cupertino, Calif.-based company after working with Apple in Europe during the 1990s. The former luxury fashion brand chief isn’t the only new executive to join Apple—the company also hired Hulu’s Pete Distad to assist in acquiring content for Apple TV.

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“We’re thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple,” the iPhone maker said in a statement on July 2. “He’ll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook.”

Of course, Apple has made no mention of Deneve’s involvement in designing a smart watch, but it wouldn’t be surprising given Cook’s outlook on the wearable tech industry.

“For something to work here, you have to convince people it’s so incredible you want to wear it,” the 52-year-old Apple CEO said on stage at this year’s D11 conference.

The announcement comes just after Apple filed a trademark for the term “iWatch” across multiple countries including Russia, Japan, Taiwan and Turkey earlier this week. If the rumors turn out to be accurate, Apple will be far from the first tech company to launch a smart watch.

Sony recently announced that its SmartWatch 2 will hit the market in September and the Kickstarter-funded Pebble lands on Best Buy next week after being available online only. However, if Deneve has been brought on board to help design an iWatch, Apple could add a new element of appeal to wearables given his extensive experience in the high-end fashion field. 

“Apple is renowned for the innovation and unique perspectives it provides to new product types,” Joshua Flood, senior analyst with ABI Research, said earlier this week. “I believe if Apple or Samsung or Google brought out a smart watch, the interest in the product type would be taken to a new level.”