Misfit Wearables hires Apple iPad co-inventor Josh Banko as VP of hardware

By Aditi Pai

Misfit Shine Bloom NecklaceWearable activity tracker company Misfit Wearables has hired former Apple senior engineering manager Josh Banko, according to a report from VentureBeat. Banko is now Misfit's vice president of hardware.

Apple credits Banko as one of the co-inventors of the iPad, but in early January 2013 he was terminated. In December 2013, he sued Apple for wrongfully terminating his employment, according to court documents.

Banko told Venture Beat that he plans to build out Misfit's engineering team, specifically adding mechanical and electrical engineers, and that Misfit will have some big news by the end of the year.

Since Misfit launched the Shine in 2012, the company has not released any major hardware updates. Shine tracks a user’s walking, cycling, and swimming, and syncs wirelessly with the companion app.

A year after launching, Misfit released Android support for the device and since then has launched several Shine accessories, including socks and shirts with pockets for the device, and a necklace that holds the device.

But in December 2013, when Misfit raised a $15.2 million round, Misfit Wearables CEO Sonny Vu said the funding would go to new, yet to be launched products, including a new wearable product. Vu didn’t say what Misfit’s followup to Shine would be, but in the past he’s suggested the company plans to eventually develop medical products.

“We haven’t talked a lot about metabolic syndrome and things like addressing obesity and diabetes through our kinds of products, and indeed we’re not a medical device maker, at least not yet,” Vu, who in the past founded diabetes connected glucometer company Agamatrix, told MobiHealthNews in an interview last year. “We wanted to start with consumer products and making those an integrated part of our DNA. But then, we didn’t spend the last 12 years doing medical devices for nothing. So we will definitely do something in that space.”

Last month, Misfit partnered with Helsinki, Finland-based mattress sensor startup, Beddit. Through this partnership, customers will be able to purchase a co-branded Beddit device from Misfit’s website, and the tracker will be integrated into the Misfit Shine app.

Recently, the company told Forbes that 70 percent of Misfit’s revenue comes from outside the US and around 24 percent of that revenue came from China in the first quarter of 2014.