Greg Christie, the Apple designer who was a key part of the team behind the original iPhone, will leave the company later this year, a spokesman confirmed to the FT.

Apple blog 9to5Mac, which broke the story earlier on Wednesday, suggested that Mr Christie had fallen out with Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of design. Read more

Uber, the ambitious start-up best known for delivering people, now wants to deliver anything that can fit in a rucksack. The private driver and taxi-hailing app will on Tuesday add cycle couriers to its New York fleet with what it calls Uber Rush. Read more

Mike Judge on set with the cast of Silicon Valley

Could there be a better-timed comedy series than HBO’s new Silicon Valley? The tech hotspot has never been hotter. And the opportunities for satire have never been funnier.

 Read more

FILE -- A visitor tries the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, March 28, 2013. In the unpredictable world of tech start-ups, some interesting firms to watch, like Oculus Rift, in 2013 could fizzle and be forgotten by the end of the year, but they could also be the next big thing. (Winni Wintermeyer/The New York Times) Credit: New York Times / Redux / eyevine For further information please contact eyevine tel: +44 (0) 20 8709 8709 e-mail: info@eyevine.com www.eyevine.com©Redux

Palmer Luckey is holding court among the geeks. The boy king of virtual reality is answering questions from game developers about whether the pioneering headset he built in his parents’ garage, Oculus Rift, might work with something known as “galvanic vestibular stimulation”.

GVS, he gleefully explains, is “basically taking high-voltage electrodes and passing current through your head for entertainment”.

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Want to hear a Silicon Valley joke? Two geek billionaires walk into a coffee shop and nobody notices.

There’s no punchline. This actually happened a couple of weeks ago when I was in Mountain View and the co-founders of WhatsApp popped into their local for a brew. Despite being full of start-ups, nobody in the Red Rock Café seemed to recognise the pair who had just sold their app to Facebook for upwards of $16bn.

WhatsApp has almost 500m active users around the world but many in Silicon Valley’s elite only discovered the chat app when Mark Zuckerberg opened his chequebook. It’s entirely possible that, in the past year, more people here have tried Google Glass, the sci-fi headset that most outside Silicon Valley love to hate, than sent a message on WhatsApp. Read more

Ray-Bans via Instagram

Google has been working hard lately to dampen the constant, rumbling criticism of Glass. First, it issued guidelines on etiquette for its pioneering wearable gadget, warning early adopters: “Don’t be a glasshole.”

Then last week, it decided that the people buying its $1,500 headset weren’t glassholes after all, trying to dispel ten “myths” about the prototype product: Glass really isn’t a “distraction from the real world” or “the perfect surveillance device”, it insisted in a blogpost.

The ground suitably prepared, Google has now made a much more meaningful step towards mainstream acceptance: it is partnering with the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley frames to make Glass fashionable. Read more

It would be easy to glance at Samsung’s new Milk Music service and dismiss it as another copycat. The personalised internet radio service for Galaxy smartphone owners that launches in the US on Friday is, in essence, pretty similar to Pandora or Apple’s iTunes Radio, which launched last year.

But while maintaining feature parity is an important if unglamorous part of the hypercompetitive smartphone market, Milk does bring something new to Samsung Galaxy: great software design. Read more

In a mobile world where single-serving apps are replacing vast monolithic services, Jawbone on Thursday poured out a shot of Coffee: its new caffeine-consumption tracking app.

The move to a standalone app that does not require its Up wristband to work is a first for Jawbone, which is raising $250m in new funding. It comes as part of a big push by Jawbone to up its game in software and services, as step-counting gadgets fast become a commodityRead more

It was just a regular Tuesday afternoon in Mountain View’s Red Rock coffee shop: rows of young entrepreneurs sitting behind their MacBook screens, working on what they hope might be the next WhatsApp.

The low-key cafe served as an office for Brian Acton and Jan Koum, WhatsApp’s founders, when they were starting out back in 2009. It was here that Sequoia’s Jim Goetz met them in 2011 before becoming their only venture-capital investor. WhatsApp’s modest, unmarked offices are still just around the corner. Read more

The co-founder of fitness tracking device maker Jawbone wants to take on Twitter with the long-awaited launch of a new “global opinion network”, State.

State, which emerges from private testing on Thursday, has been many years in the making. Alex Asseily, who is still Jawbone’s chairman, and his brother Mark have been developing State since 2011, soon after Alex returned to London following 17 years in San Francisco. They had originally hoped to launch it in 2012 but the delay partly reflects the daunting scale of Mr Asseily’s vision. Read more

Facebook is paying up to $19bn in cash, stock and earnouts to acquire WhatsApp Messenger, the world’s most popular mobile chat app with more than 450m regular users. Here Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler brought live reaction and comment from Facebook’s conference call.  

Photo: Getty

Google is expanding the number of people who can get hold of Glass, as the FT reported late last year. Now a few friends of each of its first “Explorers” and selected other developers can purchase the experimental wearable device.

With all those new lenses wandering around, it hasn’t escaped Google’s notice that its wearers are getting “a lot of attention”. Google has talked to its existing community of Explorers for some tips on how to deal with the rest of the world, finally acknowledging that it can look “pretty weird”. Read more

Millions of addicted gamers are in a flap over the untimely death of Flappy Bird.

The Vietnamese creator of the most popular mobile game of 2014 has removed the app from sale after saying its internet fame “ruins my simple life”, despite making him tens of thousands of dollars a day. Read more

Expectations were running high ahead of Twitter’s maiden earnings as a public company – its stock had risen by almost 50 per cent since November’s IPO.
But investors got the jitters when they saw slowing growth in user numbers and engagement rates in the fourth quarter of 2013, feeding their fears that Twitter might be a niche product which the mass market will never understand. Dick Costolo, chief executive, stressed this was a problem they had always known about and had a plan to fix. Nonetheless, shareholders were not comforted, sending Twitter shares down almost 18 per cent in after-hours trading.
In this liveblog, Hannah Kuchler and Tim Bradshaw covered reaction and live commentary from the conference call.  

It may not be the biggest Microsoft story around today, but it’s a big deal for Foursquare: Microsoft is investing $15m in the social-location app as part of a new four-year commercial partnership.

The $15m investment comes in addition to the $35m that Foursquare raised in December last year from DFJ Growth and Capital Group. The app lets users share their location with friends by “checking in” and then recommends new places based on where they’ve been in the past.

Although uptake hasn’t quite lived up to the hype when it launched in 2009, it has collected a lot of data since then: 5bn check-ins, 60m places and 40m tips, all crowdsourced from some 45m users. Read more

Friday’s Personal Tech column reviewed the Narrative Clip, a small wearable camera that takes a photo every 30 seconds. Although it is a well-made product, I encountered some difficulties with the privacy aspects of wearing such a device, and felt that the images it produced were not worth the social awkwardness that it created.

Narrative’s co-founders are a thoughtful bunch and Oskar Kalmaru, the start-up’s chief marketing officer, sent the FT these comments in response: Read more

Apple speculators, take a breath.

Executives from the iPhone maker, including its head of operations, met with officials from the US Food and Drug Administration last month, public records show, to discuss “medical applications”.

What could they possibly have been discussing? Read more

Mark Zuckerberg’s push to make Facebook a mobile-first company seems to have paid off. Wednesday’s fourth-quarter earnings revealed that it now makes more than half of its advertising revenues from mobile devices, beating Wall Street’s forecasts and sending its stock up as much as 12 per cent in after-hours trading.
Hannah Kuchler and Tim Bradshaw reported from the earnings call as Zuck and his team talked about the opportunities in personalisation, messaging and artificial intelligence. 

Hardware is hard, so the saying goes. Raising millions of dollars on Kickstarter or Indiegogo can create as many problems as it solves. So the recent explosion in hardware start-ups has produced a crop of incubator and accelerator programmes, such as Lemnos Labs and Haxlr8r. The latest, Highway 1, is a new project from Liam Casey’s PCH International, which typically handles supply chains for rather larger electronics companies such as Apple and Beats Electronics. Read more

Expectations are high that Apple can go back to its old forecast-busting ways when it reports earnings for its December quarter on Monday.

“Investors think that Q1 is going to be a blow-out and the Q2 guide is quite strong,” said analysts at Berenberg in a note after meetings with shareholders last week.

While the iPhone and iPad both look set to turn in double-digit percentage growth rates, falling prices and margins could minimise revenue and earnings growth.

Here’s what to expect after the markets close in New York: Read more