Hardware

It was probably best that I died, my computer companion told me sadly. Read more

Richard Waters

You’re standing on the surface of Mars. You look down and marvel at the detail, then up to the horizon, following the ridge of mountains around to your left. You jump: the Mars Rover is right behind your left shoulder, taller than you are, one of its cameras slanted to the side and looking like a pet robot waiting for an order.

This isn’t some gamer version of Mars. It’s the real thing. Every rock, in clear 3D. In front of you stands the bronze avatar of a scientist ready to talk about the experiments you’re going to perform.

Microsoft has lacked the “wow” factor for some time. It’s been left to Google, Apple and Facebook, with its acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus, to set the standards in technical daring and creative ambition.

Not any more. With HoloLens, the “mixed reality” headset it unveiled on Wednesday, Microsoft is suddenly a contender in one of the most exciting races in the tech world: to mix the real and virtual worlds in ways that transform both.

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Tim Bradshaw

As Apple readies its Watch, Jawbone is aiming for “the other wrist” with the latest update to its Up fitness tracker.

Rather than challenge the iPhone maker’s forthcoming smartwatch head on, Jawbone’s new Up3 wristband is smaller than its predecessor, packed with more sensors including heart-rate and skin temperature detectors, and costs almost half the price of Apple Watch. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

The Silicon Valley crowd loves Nest’s $250 thermostats and $99 smoke alarms. But while its $3.2bn acquisition by Google confirmed Nest as a defining company of the smart home, for many its designer appliances might seem a little on the pricey side.

Enter Leeo, a new smart-home company that wants to be the Nest for the rest of us. Read more

Barely two months after Apple admitted it was storing users’ data online in mainland China, reports emerged that hackers have tried breaking into its iCloud data.

Apple representatives in China declined to comment on the reports of the hacking attack, which were posted on GreatFire.org, a group that conducts research on Chinese internet censorship.

The revelations, if true, would be little surprise to China observers. But it would be a comeuppance for Apple whose decision to store users’ data in mainland servers underlined the tenuous balance that foreign tech companies must strike between commitment to customer security and the realities of the Chinese market. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Apple has invited reporters to an event on October 16, which is expected to see the debut of new iPads and Mac computers. Read more

Apple’s latest iPhone has been has been hailed as the thinnest and biggest mobile device it has created yet. But those qualities may have created an unexpected problem: the gadget may have a tendency to “bend”.

Lewis Hilsenteger of product review site Unbox Therapy has published a video that has gone viral (over 3m views and counting), in which he conducted a not-so-scientific “bend test” on the phone. Using his hands to apply pressure on the back of the device while pulling the edges back, he found that the device was warped.

“Will this happen in your front pocket?” asked Mr Hilsenteger. “That probably depends on how tight your pants are.”

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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

Oculus is closing in on the consumer release of its Rift virtual reality headset, accelerated by a huge hiring spree since its sale to Facebook in March.

It showed off its new ‘Crescent Bay’ prototype at the Oculus Connect developer conference in Los Angeles on Saturday. 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

Tim Bradshaw

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

Tim Bradshaw

After the market closes on Tuesday, Apple releases its third quarter earnings for the three months to the end of June. Its stock price has risen by more than 20 per cent since it beat forecasts with its last quarterly numbers, taking it close to its-all time high. Can Apple repeat the trick in what are likely to be the last results before the next iPhones arrive, and push its stock to $100?

Here’s what Wall Street is looking for this quarter: Read more

Arm shares are being treated like royalty today, despite being disdained as commoners at the open. Read more

Sounds like a bad week for Moore’s Law at the microchip industry’s big annual Silicon Valley get-together. 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

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. 

Fashion, just like the tech world, is borne from, reflective of and defined by the cyclical and cultural trends that continually evolve and adapt around it.

Both are businesses that are high-risk and tricky to be in, balancing books around supply and demand. But, more specifically, the real art that defines leaders from the pack is preemptively being able to guess what people want and need before they manage to recognize it for themselves. The best at this are making billions, both in fashion and tech.

But there’s one overlapping sector which both the titans of Silicon Valley and tastemakers of London, New York, Paris and Milan are still struggling to get en vogue.

Wearables.

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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. 

Here’s another sign of Qualcomm’s domination in mobile phones -Broadcom wants out of cellular baseband chipsRead more

Paul Taylor

How best to judge Microsoft’s next-generation tablet, the Surface Pro 3, which was unveiled by its new chief executive Satya Nadella at an event in New York on Tuesday?

One way would be to compare it to its previous incarnation, which received a more positive critical response for its improved features, but still did not really make a dent in the market share of Apple iOS or Android devices – Microsoft has recorded about $2.64bn in Surface sales so far. For comparison, Apple sold $7.6bn worth of iPads in the latest quarter alone.

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