Apple hires Yves Saint Laurent CEO for 'special projects', iWatch to become fashion icon?

Apple has confirmed that Paul Deneve will join the company in a new role, working on "special projects".

In what many are deciding is evidence that Apple is set to launch a smartwatch, the company has hired the CEO of Yves Saint Laurent.

Apple has confirmed that Paul Deneve will join the company in a new role, working on "special projects".

An Apple spokeswoman told AllThingsD: "We're thrilled to welcome Paul Deneve to Apple. He'll be working on special projects as a vice president reporting directly to Tim Cook."

Deneve actually has history at Apple - he was a sales and marketing manager at Apple Europe from 1990 to 1997.

Rather than focusing on the iWatch speculation, AllThingsD suggests that Deneve may have been bought in to head up Apple's retail division. A role that has been vacant since Apple fired John Browett last year. However, that site concludes that it appears that's not what Deneve will be doing.

Perhaps Deneve's experience marketing luxury fashion goods will be useful to Apple should the company launch the rumoured iWatch. This past week reports have appeared that it has been filing the iWatch trademark at various locations around the world.

Rumours about an iWatch have been circulating since as far back as 2011, when it was believed that Apple had employed several new wearable computing experts to work on such device. In recent months the speculation has been really hotting up, with reports earlier this year suggesting that Apple has a team of 100 people working on an iWatch.

This news doesn't necessarily mean that the iWatch will launch this year. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that the Apple watch is unlikely to debut any sooner than 2014. Apple CEO Tim Cook has hinted that Apple is working on new product categories ahead of a 2014 launch, too.

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Karen Haslam

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