Consumer Electronics

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. 

Tim Bradshaw

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

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. 

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 box

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. 

Tim Bradshaw

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

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. 

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. 

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.