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

In an interview on Monday afternoon, Nest’s co-founder and chief executive Tony Fadell told the FT that he sold the “smart home” company to Google because he wanted to focus on new product innovations, not worry about managing the behind-the-scenes infrastructure that handles all the data generated from its “Learning Thermostat” and “Protect” smoke alarm, and to ensure the company stays ahead of mounting competition. Read more

The taxi industry’s war on app-enabled chauffeur services such as Uber has broken out into physical combat on the streets of Paris. During a strike by French cab drivers who are protesting against the rise of what are locally called “voitures de tourisme avec chauffeurs”, several drivers and limos who crossed the picket line were attacked, with windows smashed and tires slashed. Read more

The verdict is in and it’s unanimous. The best gadget of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show 2014 is not a curved television, a health-tracking wristband, a Bluetooth speaker or a connected car; in fact, it’s not even a finished product. Yet the latest prototype of the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has so excited attendees that tech blogs the Verge and Engadget – not to mention this FT reporter – have named it their “best in show”. Read more

Say you’re a fairly aggressive taxi app company with a reputation for hiking prices at peak times and raising hundreds of millions of dollars to crush your competitors. What’s the one thing with enough internet love to offset your karma? That’s right: kittens.

And so it came to pass that Uber, “everyone’s private driver”, for one day only delivered kittens and cupcakes. And the internet said it was good. Even for $20 for 15 minutes of “snuggles”. Read more

You can now comfortably hold the iPad with one hand.

What, you want more? That really is all you need to know. Read more

On a brisk, foggy Tuesdsay morning in San Francisco, Apple unveiled the iPad Air, a new tablet which is thinner and faster than the previous devices, in a bid to consolidate its grip on the high end of the tablet market.

In what it called the “lightest full-sized tablet in the world”, Apple said it had a “dramatically different experience” but the new tablet did not include the fingerprint reader that some had expected after it was introduced for the latest iPhone. The company also unveiled a new iPad mini and cut the cost of the original smaller tablet to $299, the cheapest price for an iPad ever.

Revealing a whole host of updates from mobile apps to its Mac OS update, it announced that it would now offer its software for free. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said the move was “turning the industry on its ear”.

Tim Bradshaw and Hannah Kuchler followed the launch for the FT’s Apple liveblog as Tim Cook took to the stage at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco.

 

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Nest, one of Silicon Valley’s best-known hardware startups, unveiled the follow-up to its “smart thermostat” on Tuesday: a talking smoke alarm that can send alerts to an app.

The Nest Protect has already received praise for its slick design and imaginative touches, such as motion-sensing nightlights and a woman’s voice to warn more gently of rising smoke than the traditional buzzer. These are not features you often associate with a humble smoke alarm. Read more

Backlash? What backlash? Adoption of Apple’s latest update to iOS has been strong in its first 24 hours, despite fears that some iPhone owners would freak out at its bright colours and new design. Installs of iOS 7 are ahead of iOS 6 at the same point last year, according to external estimates. Read more

Wall Street doesn’t like the new iPhone 5c.

I do.

After briefly trying out the new smartphone at its launch on Tuesday, I think it’s going to sell in record volumes for Apple. Read more

Photo: Pandora

Pandora has just appointed a veteran of Microsoft’s advertising technology business as its new chairman, president and chief executive.

Brian McAndrews left his role at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, once a seed investor in Amazon.com, to join the internet radio service as it braces for new competition from Apple’s iTunes Radio. He replaces Joe Kennedy, who is retiring after leading Pandora since 2004. Read more

It’s the biggest day in the Apple calendar: the iPhone launch. This year, for the first time, Apple unveiled two new smartphones: the upgraded 5S, with a 64-bit chip and fingerprint scanner, and the all-new 5C, with plastic casing in a handful of colours.

Tim Bradshaw was at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters and April Dembosky reported from San Francisco.

 

Twitter’s chief executive Dick Costolo is facing intense scrutiny about when the messaging site will go public. His appearance at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco taught us little about that, instead going back to first principles of managing a company – whether brand new or about to IPO. Read more

Snapchat’s investors were betting on growth first, monetisation later when they put $60m into the pioneer of ephemeral messaging.

That growth is continuing apace, Snapchat’s co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel said on Monday, with 350m “snaps” sent every day last month, up from 200m in June.

But the LA-based company is slowly starting to think about ways to make money, too, saying that Chinese internet giant Tencent – which makes much of its income from in-app purchases – was a “role model” for Snapchat. Read more

It doesn’t seem so long ago that many people thought social networking was done, and that anything that wasn’t Facebook would become a feature, app or acquisition of the social juggernaut.

In the past year, however, that’s started to change. Snapchat brought ephemerality to photo sharing, Nextdoor is reconnecting real-world neighbours and Whatsapp, WeChat and Line are fighting for mobile instant-messaging dominance.

Now, backed by some of Snapchat’s original investors, comes Whisper – an app for sharing (and viewing) secrets, posted anonymously. Read more

Samsung took to the stage in Berlin to become the first major smartphone maker to launch a smart watch accessory, beating Apple, Google and other rivals to market, and hoping to recapture the innovation initiative in the process. Tim Bradshaw and Paul Taylor report from the “Unpacked Episode 2″ event. 

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Microsoft’s €5.4bn acquisition of Nokia’s devices business was both long predicted and a bolt from the blue, coming so soon after its chief executive Steve Ballmer announced his retirement. Here Mr Ballmer explains the logic of the deal to investors.