Apple Watch arrives, HBO Now exclusive, Google releases Android 5.1, Facebook kills FriendFeed, Gigaom is no more, and Samsung builds a Dream Doghouse.
Apple Launches Watch & New MacBook
Apple has surprised absolutely no one with its Spring Forward event.
The main focus was the launch of the Apple Watch in countless flavors and an eye-watering range of price points. Available from April 24 in a number of countries, the Apple Watch Sport starts at $349, the Apple Watch will start at $549 for a stainless steel finish, and the Apple Watch Edition will start at $10,000 (not a typo) for an 18k gold finish. Apple expects a battery life of around 18 hours for most Apple Watch users.
Apple also revealed a new 12-inch MacBook with a starting price of $1,299. It’s the lightest and thinnest Apple laptop yet released, with the Intel Core M processor allowing it to be so svelte. Just like the Apple Watch, it will also come in gold for those with more money than sense or style.
Apple also announced details of ResearchKit, an open source framework for medical researchers. This means Apple will be collecting vast amounts of very personal biometric data on its users, though participation is entirely optional.
HBO Now Landing on iDevices First
— iTunes TV (@iTunesTV) March 9, 2015
As expected, HBO Now is happening, with the standalone subscription offering set to launch in April. Unfortunately, HBO Now is going to be an Apple exclusive for at least the first three months, with potential users needing to own an Apple device to get access to the service.
This exclusivity deal means HBO Now will be unavailable to anyone who doesn’t own an Apple device for the duration of Season 5 of Game of Thrones. HBO Now will cost $15-per-month, which buys users access to online streams of its full lineup of television shows and movies.
Google Rolls Out Android 5.1
Was really impressed with last nights big tech announcement …. woohoo Android 5.1!!!
— Dean Waller (@FallenRider) March 10, 2015
Google has started rolling Android 5.1 out to select devices, with owners of the Nexus 6 being the first lucky recipients of the update to Lollipop. Google claims the update “improves stability and performance and offers a few new features like support for multiple SIM cards, Device Protection and high definition (HD) voice on compatible phones.”
We’re sure it was a complete coincidence that Google decided to release Android 5.1 on the same day as Apple was holding its big Spring Forward event.
Facebook Kills FriendFeed
First FriendFeed and now GigaOm. 2009 is pissed.
— Louis Gray (@louisgray) March 10, 2015
Facebook is killing off FriendFeed, the social network it acquired in 2009. FriendFeed enabled users to share content in a personalized feed, in a similar way to Facebook and others. The site will remain online until April 9, at which point it will permanently close its doors.
Unsurprisingly, the reason cited for this shuttering is a lack of users. While there is still a small community of people present on FriendFeed, there is little reason for Facebook to keep it open when it has 1.3 billion users of its own to deal with.
Gigaom Is No More
This hurts more than I can say: I was just told Gigaom is shutting down — it has run out of money. We tried our best, but it wasn’t enough.
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) March 10, 2015
Gigaom, the technology news site started by Om Malik in 2006, is shutting down. Gigaom was one of the earliest mainstream tech blogs, with former Forbes journalist Malik leading the way by focusing on Silicon Valley startups.
Unfortunately, the company appears to have run out of money, with the last post on the site suggesting “Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time.” Gigaom had raised a total of $22.3 million in venture capital, $8 million of which was raised in February 2014.
From one technology blog to another, we bid Gigaom a fond farewell, and wish the writers all the best in finding a new home.
Samsung Creates a Dream Doghouse
And finally, if you think some dogs are already living a life of luxury, then Samsung’s Dream Doghouse will blow your mind. The Samsung Dream Doghouse is a luxury abode for pampered pooches, with bespoke wallpaper, a grass-covered treadmill, and a self-operated feeder included.
This canine monstrosity took 12 people six weeks to design and build at a cost of $39,000. Unsurprisingly, this means it’s not going on sale, as it was constructed for the 2015 Crufts dog show in England. Still, it sits comfortably alongside the $10,000 gold Apple Watch as an example of style over substance. [H/T Gizmag]
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
Now that you know all of the details, will you be buying an Apple Watch? Will you be subscribing to HBO Now, whether on iDevices or not? Are you sorry to see Gigaom shutting down?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.