Consumer Electronics

Tim Bradshaw

Apple is making a big splash in Europe this week. On the same day the European Commission published the initial findings of its investigation into Ireland’s handling of its taxes, Apple popped up at Paris Fashion Week to show off its forthcoming Watch to the general public for the first time.

In a clear break with previous launches, Apple chose a chic fashion boutique, rather than its own retail stores, as the venue, giving a hint of how the smartwatch might be marketed and distributed when it goes on sale next year. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The virtual-reality creations on show at this weekend’s Oculus Connect event were as varied as they were bizarre.

Some 800 overwhelmingly male developers gathered at the upmarket Loews Hotel in Hollywood to attend presentations ranging from game design to “360-degree filmmaking”. A session dedicated to the Gear VR, Oculus’s collaboration with Samsung to launch a mobile VR headset later this year, was particularly busy.

Outside the talks, developers lined up to try Oculus’s new Crescent Bay prototype device and showed off their own VR software – just some of the 325 games uploaded to Oculus Share, its version of an app store. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

After weeks of hype, Apple’s big day is finally here: the iPhone 6 goes on sale in the US, UK, Hong Kong and other key markets (though not China) on Friday.

As ever, the Apple faithful are lining up outside its stores, after supplies of its supersized iPhone 6 Plus were exhausted in online preorders within a matter of hours last week. Most analysts predict pent-up demand for upgrades will push iPhone sales to a new record.

“Big” is the operative word all round. Apple has lent the FT both of the new iPhones and, after an evening playing with both devices, one conclusion feels obvious: the iPhone 6 Plus is just too big. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Don’t let anyone tell you that size doesn’t matter.

The first reviews are in for the latest iPhones and if there is one common obsession, it’s the undeniable fact that these are the largest iPhones Apple has ever made.

Here are a few highlights from reviewers’ first takes of the iPhone 6 and the supersized iPhone 6 Plus. (No sniggering at the back.) Read more

Buried under the avalanche of Apple announcements this week was the one that got the mobile operators pretty excited: an innovation that lets people use a WiFi connection rather than mobile signal to make calls.

On the face of it – like much of Apple’s news – it seems an old idea, with various services already on offer that allow people to make calls using WiFi. Three, the smallest UK mobile group, launched a service called InTouch this summer, while Telefonica’s O2 has offered TuGo for some time.

But, again like many of the advances unveiled this week, it is just being done better by the Cupertino-based technology group. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The design of Apple’s Watch draws on the heritage of the iPod and iPhone but wears its history lightly. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Apple Unveils iPhone 6

Expectations are high as Apple prepares for its biggest event since the launch of the iPad four years ago. At the Flint Center in its Cupertino backyard, Apple is expected to unveil not just new iPhones but a push into payments and wearable devices. Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters bring live updates from the event, with input and insights from other FT reporters around the world.  

Tim Bradshaw

Apple has sent invites out to members of the media for a September 9 launch event at which it is expected to unveil new iPhones and potentially a new wearable device.

The looming launch of what pundits have dubbed the iWatch will make this Apple’s most closely watched event since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in 2010. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The Kickstarter community has funded many innovations in the past few years.

The Pebble smartwatch raised $10.3m in 2012, shooting the starting gun on the wearables trend that Apple is about to leap into. The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset raised $2.4m, only to be acquired by Facebook for $2bn two years later. SmartThings raised $1.2m for its first connected-home kit before being snapped up by Samsung. New ideas like Hello’s Sense sleep-monitoring device just keep coming.

But one crowd-funded gadget this week emerged to trump them all. After two years at the top, Pebble has lost its crown as the most-funded Kickstarter of all time. And it has lost it to… a freezer boxRead more

By Jonathan Soble and Lindsay Whipp

OK, so you know selfies are a thing – who doesn’t? But what about encasing that selfie-taking mobile phone in a case shaped like a Chanel perfume bottle?

Meet the Smelfie (Perfume + Selfie) – a thing, apparently, among women in China. And it hasn’t escaped the notice of product designers at Sony. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Nest’s smart thermostat costs $250. littleBits wants you to make your own for $59. Read more

To accompany its preliminary quarterly earnings guidance on Tuesday, Samsung Electronics for the first time issued an explanatory note, to address “investors’ concerns about uncertainties”. Here are some of the key issues facing shareholders after Samsung’s 24 per cent year-on-year earnings decline. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

GoPro’s stock leapt more than 30 per cent on its first morning of trading on Thursday, valuing the action camera maker at around $4bn.

Nick Woodman, GoPro’s billionaire founder and chief executive, who still owns almost half of the company, spoke with the FT shortly after ringing the Nasdaq opening bell. Here is an edited transcript of our conversation about how he got here and how he plans to build a media business around millions of people taking photos and videos of themselves. Read more

goog3

Smart watches, TVs and cars featured prominently on Wednesday as Google laid out its plans for pushing its Android smartphone software into new fields. At its annual I/O developer event in San Francisco, “wearables” had pride of place, with news that the first smartwatches based on Android Wear are now on sale – before Apple unveils its much-anticipated iWatch. With Android TV and Android Auto, on the other hand, Google was playing catch up with Apple. The event pointed to how the battle for the next big tech markets beyond the smartphone will be fought. Richard Waters and Tim Bradshaw were at the Moscone Center for this round. 

Sarah Mishkin

What can a company that proposes using drones to deliver goods instantaneously do to impress?

Amazon tried hard with its Fire phone, the first smartphone ever from the e-commerce giant. It sort of succeeds, but the best thing about the phone is the vision of what it could become after a few rounds of refinements and tweaks. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Apple’s annual developer conference saw chief executive Tim Cook and head of software engineering Craig Federighi dominate the stage. Apple showed off new operating systems, including iOS8 and the newly-minted OS X Yosemite, as well as HealthKit, its first foray into fitness tracking, and HomeKit, a connected home platform. Not to mention tools for developers and a new programming language called Swift. Tim Bradshaw, Richard Waters and Sarah Mishkin give the rundown and reaction from the Moscone Center in San Francisco. 

Tim Bradshaw

Image from @tim_cook on Twitter

Even before the ink is dry on his $3bn acquisition of Beats Electronics, Apple chief Tim Cook is still “on the prowl” for more deals.

That was Mr Cook’s phrase when asked in last month’s earnings call whether Apple would consider making large acquisitions, before he had sealed the iPhone maker’s largest ever transaction.

In April, he said that Apple had made 24 acquisitions in the last 18 months. That number has now risen to 27, Mr Cook told the FT on Wednesday, and looks set to keep growing: Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Watching the Apple faithful grapple with its imminent acquisition of Beats Electronics has been fascinating.

The only thing Apple watchers seem to agree on is that nobody saw it coming, even though Reuters reported talks about some sort of tie-up over streaming music more than a year ago. It’s the ultimate example of Apple doing something nobody could imagine Steve Jobs doing. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Tim Cook onstage at an Apple launch (Reuters)

Apple just announced that its biggest new slate of product launches in years is finally arriving soon.

This declaration came not from a black-clad stage or rising on a spotlit podium, but buried in a regulatory filing following Wednesday’s quarterly earningsRead more

Tim Bradshaw

Apple returned to its old forecast-busting ways on Wednesday, reporting better-than-expected revenue and iPhone growth. Even though iPad sales underwhelmed, Wall Street cheered the second-quarter results with an 8 per cent spike in after-hours trading. Apple also added $30bn in new dividends and share buybacks to its existing $100bn capital return programme, alongside a seven-for-one stock split.
Tim Bradshaw and Sarah Mishkin bring live commentary from Apple’s conference call and reactions from the market.