Today in Tech News Digest, Apple is probably buying Beats, the latest ZTE Firefox OS phone lands in the U.S., Amazon’s Sunday deliveries, Cinamatic for iOS, Google Classroom, and the World Under Water Google Street View mod.
Apple (Probably) Buying Beats Audio
I wonder if this Apple/Beats deal will fall apart like every pair of Beats by Dre headphones I’ve ever bought.
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) May 9, 2014
Apple is close to buying Beats Audio for $3.2 billion. This is according to The Financial Times [story behind paywall], with The New York Times and Bloomberg both having heard the same rumblings from unnamed sources. This has to be classified as a rumor, but one we suspect has some basis in fact.
The FT claims Apple is “closing in” on the deal to buy Beats, and the final details could be “announced as early as next week.” However, it cautions that “talks could still fall apart,” so there is clearly still room for maneuver for both companies.
The two companies engaged in talks as long ago as March 2013, with the focus then being a possible partnership on Beats Music. One year later and it seems Apple has decided buying the company outright would be a better option in the long term.
Apple is cash-rich, with $150 billion in the bank. So, while this $3.2 billion deal would be the biggest in Apple’s history, it’s unlikely to set hearts racing amongst Apple’s legion of accountants.
There have been several attempts — Peter Kafka, Harry McCracken, Om Malik — to explore the thinking behind this deal. Most suggest the Beats Music streaming service is the key, while others suspect this is about either grabbing talent in the form of Jimmy Iovine or securing a brand in Beats by Dre that is beloved by teens and tweens everywhere but generally hated by the tech press.
ZTE Open C Lands In The U.S.
The new ZTE Open C, the latest smartphone to be powered by Firefox OS, is now on sale on eBay in the U.S. and more than 20 European countries. Interested parties can purchase the ZTE Open C for the ‘Buy-It-Now’ price of $99.99, though there is talk of the Chinese manufacturer also releasing the phone through U.S. carrier Sprint in the future.
Amazon Expands Sunday Deliveries
Eagerly awaiting first challenge to Amazon Sunday delivery based on Blue Laws, which still exist http://t.co/inwOG1lVlz
— Ed Bott (@edbott) May 8, 2014
Amazon has expanded its Sunday deliveries program to include 15 more cities. The service, made possible thanks to an agreement with the United States Postal Service (USPS) launched first in New York and Los Angeles but now covers cities such as Austin, Texas, Columbus, Ohio, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Those not yet covered by the service will be heartened to hear Amazon promise to “continue to roll out Sunday delivery to a large portion of the U.S. population this year.” That is if they’re the kind of people who need a product so urgently that Sunday deliveries are a must.
Hipstamatic Launches Cinamatic for iOS
Hipstamatic has launched Cinamatic, a $1.99 iOS app alternative to Vine and Instagram Video. Cinamatic lets you shoot a single clip or stitch multiple shots together, the result being a video of between three and 15 seconds. Budding hipsters can also add a number of retro filters that can be applied to the clips.
Google Classroom Helps Teachers Teach
Google Classroom is a new educational tool being offered for free as part of Google Apps for Education. Google Classroom integrates a number of different Google services, helping teachers “create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback, and communicate easily with their students.”
See The World Under Water
And finally, as part of an effort to promote World Environment Day, an interactive site has been launched to show us all the World Under Water. As the name suggests, this assumes sea levels will rise in line with expectations as a result of climate change, offering a visual representation of the outcome.
World Under Water shows you what any location available on Google Street View will look like when submerged under water. It’s a basic idea implemented rather simply, but it could prove to be an effective tool in increasing awareness of the issue.
Tech News Digest… Breaking News Into Bite-Sized Chunks.
Image Credit: Jimmyweee via Flickr