Tim Bradshaw

After its original unveiling in September, the Apple Watch is nearly out. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, is expected to take to the stage at the Yerba Buena centre in San Francisco to detail new features, apps, pricing and its retail strategy. Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters bring live updates when the show begins at 10am PST (5pm GMT).

 

Meerkat allows you to broadcast a live video stream from your phone, sending a link to all your Twitter followers, who can then use the 140-character messaging site to chat with you as you film. Its creators describe it as a “live video button for Twitter” but say “no reruns”: every video can only be watched live. Read more

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

Sarah Mishkin

Michael Ginty, former head of global security for Uber, used to spend his days thinking about how to keep the ride-hailing company’s facilities and staff safe as it opened new offices and angered taxi drivers in hundreds of cities around the world.

This week, the former military special agent is starting a new job protecting far smaller charges. He has left Uber to figure out how to protect primary school children at Altschool, a venture-capital backed start-up opening new schools in the San Francisco area that integrate technology into the curriculum.

 Read more

Richard Waters

Silicon Valley’s super-rich tech companies have found a new way to compete: which of them can come up with the coolest new headquarters?

With the unveiling of a new, adaptive building style that it says will have the capacity to evolve over decades, Google on Friday made its own bid for architectural immortality, following Apple and Facebook.

 Read more

This post on BuzzFeed is getting a lot of traffic – 26m 27.6m page views (and counting) since Thursday. It’s important to work out why otherwise we will all feel very old.

The basic attraction is working out what colour the dress is. “Currently, 74% of readers see a white and gold dress. Only 26% see black and blue,” BuzzFeed explains.

But to put its popularity in perspective – last year the Guardian said that its most popular article ever was a piece revealing Edward Snowden as a whistleblower. That had nearly 4m page views.

So let’s settle this: why do you think BuzzFeed’s post went viral? Read more

Richard Waters

Google’s Play Store is taking off. It has handed out more than $7bn to app developers in the last 12 months. And after an apparent slow-down at Apple, it looks like it may be closing the gap with the App Store:

 Read more

Better known for slick and glossy ads, LG Electronics on Monday uploaded 9 minutes of grainy footage to YouTube showing one of its top executives innocently looking at a washing machine.

The bizarre move was the latest salvo in the decidedly un-high tech washing machine wars. Tech may be an industry famed for its multi-billion-dollar patent lawsuits and occasional (careful) corporate espionage, but South Korea’s two tech wunderkinds are clashing over claims of old-fashioned vandalising a very domestic appliance. Read more

Richard Waters

What is Slack? Even for Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of the online collaboration tool of the moment, it isn’t an easy question to answer.

“We’re working on a tight articulation of that,” he says “It’s a new category.” Whatever you call it, though, Slack’s first year has been impressive. Read more

Cheap remote-controlled quadcopters from Syma and Hubsan bring aerial photography within reach of a much bigger audience.  Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Expectations are high for Apple as it publishes its first-quarter earnings, with analysts forecasting that it sold more than 65m iPhones in the three months to December. With the impact of China looming large but the iPad still looking weak, Tim Bradshaw and Sarah Mishkin bring the news, live updates and analyst reaction from San Francisco.  

Tim Bradshaw

When the Oculus Rift VR headset raised $2.4m on Kickstarter in 2012, its crowdfunding was squarely pitched at the videogaming crowd, with its invitation to “step into the game”.

Now Oculus wants audiences to step into the silver screen too, as it unveils its in-house filmmaking team, Story Studio. Hired over the last year from the likes of Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic, Story Studio will be showing its first short at the Sundance Film Festival this week. Read more

“Cardboard” is a funny thing to call a teleportation machine. But when paired with a smartphone and a willing suspension of disbelief, Google’s low-cost design for a virtual reality headset becomes just that. 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.

 Read more

Richard Waters

The sliding Bitcoin price has provoked a fair amount of schadenfreude recently. But it hasn’t done much to dampen the spirits of the start-up investors flocking to the market.

A case in point: Coinbase has just raised $75m in what is the biggest publicly disclosed funding round yet for a Bitcoin company. Also notable is that the backers this time include the New York Stock Exchange, BBVA and former Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit. Read more

Machines are getting smarter all the time, but could they ever attain the quintessentially human qualities of creativity and introspection?

Demis Hassabis – chess wunderkind, games designer and one of Google’s artificial intelligence whizzkids – thinks so.

He made a rare public appearance this week, speaking on a panel of philosophers and neuroscientists at the London School of Economics, to debate whether the brain is a “predictive machine”. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Soylent, the start-up which aims to replace regular meals with its low-cost nutritional drinks, has raised $20m to expand its manufacturing capabilities and develop its recipe. Read more

Hannah Kuchler

The damaging fall-out from emails leaked after the Sony Pictures cyber attack has spread to the technology industry, with details of Snapchat‘s business plan exposed in messages reported to be found in the inbox of Michael Lynton, Sony Entertainment CEO and Snapchat board member.

Evan Spiegel, Snapchat‘s chief executive, has reacted angrily to having what he described as his “business plans” and “secrets” spilled in an industry that places a high value on stealth. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

A German start-up is trying to change America’s reluctance to long-distance ride-sharing by partnering with Uber to make it more convenient, even in the sprawling US.

Munich-based carpooling is launching today in the US with an app that lets drivers offer spare seats to passengers for rides. The model has proven a hit in Europe, with multiple start-ups in the same field, but it has not taken off in the US, where cities are further apart and public transit within most cities fairly meager. Blablacar, carpooling’s French rival, told the Financial Times last week that it would not launch in the US. Read more

On Friday we reported that the European parliament is threatening to break up Google. More precisely, it is likely to approve a draft motion calling for the European Commission to consider the “unbundling” of search engines from other commercial services as one possible solution to Google’s dominance.

But would this even work in practice? The short answer is, it’s not clear.

The German MEP Andreas Schwab, a long-time Google critic who is sponsoring the draft motion, told the FT that the practicalities had still to be looked at. Read more