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Apple trades iPhones, Microsoft previews Spartan, Jay Z launches TIDAL, jumping the Apple Store line, De La Soul kick-starts new album, and herding sheep with a drone.

Apple Expands Trade-In Program

Apple has expanded its trade-in program to include hardware from other manufacturers. This means you could take your Android or Windows Phone device Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] Why You Should Consider Switching To Windows Phone [Opinion] I want Windows Phone to succeed. The problem is persuading you Apple fanboys and Google droids to give Windows Phone a chance. Read More in and exchange it for an iPhone, although Apple is likely to want some cold-hard cash as well as the inferior device.

This may seem an odd decision by Apple, but its trade-in program is run by third-party partners who will be able to shift all kinds of refurbished stock onto other people. This could also prompt some consumers to switch from a rival operating system to iOS Moving From Android To iOS? Here’s What You Need To Know Moving From Android To iOS? Here’s What You Need To Know From all the doom and gloom surrounding Apple as of late you’d never know that people are still buying iPhones and iPads in droves. A few weeks ago, after two years of Android ownership, I... Read More , which would benefit Apple for years to come.

Trading in your existing device gets you a gift card to use at an Apple Store, and the extended trade-in program has gone live in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Germany, France, and Italy.

Microsoft Releases Spartan Preview

Anyone can now try Microsoft’s new Web browser Microsoft Develops New Web Browser, Hackers Target Your Fingerprints [Tech News Digest] Microsoft Develops New Web Browser, Hackers Target Your Fingerprints [Tech News Digest] Also, new Twitter ads upset William Shatner, 10 million people try Amazon Prime, Apple offers extended refunds, and old people play QWOP. Read More , as the tech giant has included an early version of Project Spartan in the latest Windows 10 build. Spartan, which is set to replace Internet Explorer as the default Windows browser, is available in Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10049.

This early version of Spartan is far from the finished product, and there are plenty of bugs still present. However, it reveals the minimalist, or spartan, user interface, the focus on speed and responsiveness, and interesting features such as Reading View and Web Note.

This may be just an early version of Spartan, and we have yet to see how it will cope when an abundance of extensions are added, but it suggests Microsoft are on the right path to winning back a significant proportion of users who abandoned Internet Explorer Is Internet Explorer Making A Big Return In 2015? Is Internet Explorer Making A Big Return In 2015? Microsoft no longer has to offer EU Windows users a choice of browsers. Moreover, Microsoft is working on a new browser. Nevertheless, we'll show you how to install your favorite browser without touching IE. Read More a long time ago.

TIDAL Relaunches With Artist Owners

A couple of weeks after officially acquiring the music streaming service Launching the Google Hardware Store, Play Cards Against Humanity Online [Tech News Digest] Launching the Google Hardware Store, Play Cards Against Humanity Online [Tech News Digest] The new Google Store, Cards Against Humanity, extended iTunes downtime, an updated Chromebook Pixel, Jay Z starts streaming, and the notion of a troll-free Internet. Read More , rapper Jay Z has relaunched TIDAL. To help drum up publicity for the relaunch, Jay Z persuaded other big-name artists to get involved, with the likes of Madonna, Rihanna, Daft Punk, and Calvin Harris pledging support.

TIDAL is being sold as the artists’ response to the likes of Spotify and iTunes, which are owned and operated by people focused on technology rather than music. The problem is none of these artists are hurting for money, which quashes any claims that this is some kind of revolution for music and musicians.

TIDAL has two tiers for subscribers: $19.99-per-month for high-fidelity audio, and $9.99-per-month for standard audio. There is no free option, making the hashtag #TIDALforALL look rather disingenuous.

Apple Lets Richie Rich Jump the Queue

Apple obviously likes anyone willing to buy its products, but that like turns to love if you’re rich. We know this thanks to the plans leaked by 9to5Mac for how customers buying the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition will be treated.

While the proles stuck buying the regular Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport will have to queue for an appointment and then get just 15 minutes to decide whether or not to buy one, potential Apple Watch Edition buyers will jump the queues Why You Should Never Queue For New Gadgets [Opinion] Why You Should Never Queue For New Gadgets [Opinion] I personally cannot fathom the mindset of people who queue for the latest gadget on launch day. I've tried, I really have, but I think it's a bizarre choice to queue up for hours or... Read More and then be given one full hour of dedicated attention.

This isn’t really surprising, given that these people could spend more money in that hour than everyone else in the store, but still, it could cause resentment among regular (and comparatively poorer) customers.

De La Soul Take to Kickstarter

Legendary hip-hop group De La Soul are back, and they’re asking the Internet to fund their next record. Or, to be more specific, Kickstarter. De La Soul haven’t released a studio album for over a decade, so rather than beg for a label to take them on they’re appealing directly to their fans.

De La Soul have already achieved their modest goal of $110,000, ensuring the album will get made. Having recorded 200 hours of music, they’re planning to sample themselves, ensuring they can’t get sued for sampling someone else. They’re also promising collaborations with Damon Albarn and David Byrne.

If everything goes well, the new De La Soul album will be released in September 2015.

The World’s First Drone Shepherd

And finally, sheepdogs may be the first casualties in the drone wars of 2015, at least if this video is anything to go on. It shows Irish farmer Declan Brennan moving his flock from one field to the next using nothing more than a commercially available drone.

Sheepdogs are an important part of country life and unlikely to forced into early retirement just yet. But this does represent a glimpse at a future in which drones will revolutionize various industries 7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize 7 Industries Drones Are Set to Revolutionize Seven industries that are ready and braced to be (mostly positively) impacted – if not revolutionized – by drones. Read More , farming included. Drones: Man’s new best friend. [H/T CNET]

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Will you be trading in your Android, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry for an iPhone? Will you be downloading the latest Windows 10 build specifically to try Spartan? Will you be signing up to try TIDAL because a bunch of overpaid musicians told you to do so?

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.

Image Credit: Karlis Dambrans via Flickr

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  1. dragonmouth
    March 31, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    "Anyone can now try Microsoft’s new Web browser"
    Not anyone. Only those running Windows. The users of other O/Ss need not worry.

    "This may seem an odd decision by Apple
    Why? Each of competitor's devices turned into Apple means another wallet in thrall to Fruitco.

    "The World’s First Drone Shepherd"
    Is that a video of Apple sheep, I mean users, being herded to an Apple Store to be shorn of their hard earned money?

  2. Occasional Wanker
    March 31, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    I switched from Apple to Android several months ago when my service contract allowed for phone upgrade. I regret the decision more than the time I bought a Zune! If I had realized how badly developers abuse permissions on the Android platform I would be using an iPhone 6 right not instead of a Note 4. The Note 4 is a great device, but hardly worth all the permissions I have to capitulate to in order to use the apps I need. There is absolutely no permission control on the device. It's strictly up or down... use the app and allow access to whatever information the developer wants, or don't use the app at all. I should be able to block microphone access from YouTube if I have no need for that functionality.