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 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, 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, 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 a long time ago.
TIDAL Relaunches With Artist Owners
A couple of weeks after officially acquiring the music streaming service, 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
I’m developing an app specifically for the Apple Watch that will actually let it tell time. I’m gonna be rich!!!!!
— Justin Stangel (@Justin_Stangel) March 23, 2015
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 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
— De La Soul (@WeAreDeLaSoul) March 30, 2015
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, 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