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
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.
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
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 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 earnings. Read more
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.
A cheeky Apple advertisement appeared in several newspapers on Tuesday. Above a vast array of solar panels, it read: “There are some ideas we want every company to copy.”
The ad ran not only during Apple’s latest bout of patent litigation against Samsung, which continues in a San Jose courtroom, but on Earth Day, an annual reminder of our environmental responsibilities.
Apple used Earth Day to launch a new video ad, ‘Better’, narrated by chief executive Tim Cook himself, and a new portion of its website dedicated to its green achievements. These include powering its data centres with 100 per cent renewable energy, as well as 120 of its retail stores.
But perhaps more remarkable is that Mr Cook let Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives, give an open and sometimes unscripted talk at Stanford University on Tuesday night. Read more
Lytro caused a lot of excitement among photography enthusiasts when it launched in 2011. Billed as the third evolution of the camera after film and digital, Lytro’s unique “light-field” sensor allowed snappers to “shoot first, focus later”, as well as other “computational photography” tricks such as shifting perspective or add 3D elements to an image after the photo is taken.
However, the Silicon Valley start-up’s first camera was aimed not at hardcore photographers, but at a mass market. The $500, flashlight-shaped device was described by the FT’s Chris Nuttall as “an amusement for now”, due to issues such as a small screen/viewfinder and counter-intuitive controls, even if he predicted the underlying technology was “likely to change photography radically in the long run”.
Three years and one CEO change later, Lytro is back with a new device, the Illum. It is aimed more directly at those snap-happy early adopters, professionals and “aspiring amateurs” who were most enthusiastic about its technology in the first place but perhaps found version one fell short of their hopes. Read more
In the canon of Apple top executive departures following the death of Steve Jobs, the retirement of numbers guy Peter Oppenheimer should give the least cause for concern. Read more
Here’s Apple’s play in the world of cars, and it’s called, er, CarPlay. 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 doesn’t do down-market.
We’ve always known this about the premium device maker, but its first quarter results hammered home how this is becoming a problem for the iPhone creator. Read more
Are phablets more phabtastic now that Apple appears to be showing an interest?
The signs are that a product of unwieldy phone size and ugly monicker is winning at least some admirers. Read more
The internet search startup, which went on to resemble a media company with its content services, is becoming all about the hardware these days. 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
Monday was all about the big technology companies planting their flags in the areas believed to have a mainstream impact in 2014 – but it was telling that their choices of which segment to claim leadership in was rather varied: Read more
A new year brings a new perspective on Apple, with Wells Fargo analysts sensing a power shift for the iPhone maker and downgrading it from “Outperform” to “Market Perform”.
The stagecoach sages are turning bearish on worries that gross margins will come under pressure later this year with the iPhone 6, which would require new, more expensive components if the historic trend of a fresh design being introduced is repeated. Read more