Apple is definitely on a high profile hiring spree of late. They began with Ex-Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve to work on "Special Projects" and just hired Ben Shaffer from Nike's "innovation Kitchen" fame to join this group. Now enters cable industry vet and long-time CableLabs exec Jean-François Mulé who has recently joined Apple in the role of engineering director. It's interesting to note that CableLabs marketing slogan is "Revolutionizing Cable Technology." I would guess it's safe to say that Apple tapped Mulé for his expertise in revolutionizing the cable experience for an Apple TV related project - though time will tell.
Multichannel News reports that "Mulé shared word of his new role at the consumer electronics and media company on LinkedIn, noting in a post that he joined Apple last month and will be 'challenged, inspired and part of something big' at Apple.
Regardless of Apple's longer-term video strategy and how cable factors into it, Mulé will bring Apple significant cable engineering and knowhow that ties into the cable industry's video, voice and data service platforms, states the report.
At a Goldman Sachs Technology Conference earlier this year, Tim Cook briefly talked about Apple TV this way: "Apple doesn't do hobbies, as a general rule. We believe in focus and only working on a few things. With Apple TV, however, despite the barriers in that market, for those of us who use it, we've always thought there was something there. And that if we kept following our intuition and kept pulling the string, then we might find something that was larger. For those people that have it right now, the customer satisfaction is off the charts. But we need something that could go more main market for it to be a serious category."
Apple's Tim Cook on Apple TV with Brian Williams
Cook was asked about Apple TV at the 17: 50 mark of the noted video above, and his response was well rehearsed and prepared; In fact, too prepared to have been an off-the-cuff response. So was Mulé hired to create Apple's iWatch? – Of course not. His expertise will bring Apple the latest thinking about Cable TV and perhaps more importantly, the know-how to outthink the Cable industry. And if Mulé thinks the project he was hired for is "something big," then I think we count on it being just that. While only time will tell us how this all plays out – for now it's safe to say that Mulé is another great hire for Apple.