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The 10 biggest technology stories this week: Apple Watch, 'Game of Thrones' spoilers, iOS 8.3 emojis

The 10 biggest technology stories this week: Apple Watch, 'Game of Thrones' spoilers, iOS 8.3 emojis

That iThingy You're Wearing
April 12, 2015

It was a huge week in technology as the Apple Watch finally debuted in stores. Here are the biggest stories during the week that was.

Apple Watch sellout

Cupertino’s Apple Watch finally went on sale this week, seven months after it was first introduced. Within hours, the wearable device sold out, although we don’t yet know whether that was because of strong demand or weak supply.

Those first preorders will begin arriving on Friday, April 24.

See also: Retail Apple Watches still feature ‘hidden’ diagnostic port, could lead to ‘Smart Band’ accessoriesForget the spin, we don’t yet know whether the Apple Watch is a success, and It looks like Apple Watch Sport Bands actually come in 3 pieces, so there’ll be no swapping after all.

Android Wear moving to iOS


Have an iPhone, but rather not own an Apple Watch? Google is quickly moving ahead with its plans to make Android Wear smartwatches compatible with the iPhone. Google is “close to finishing the final technical details” on the project, according to a new report.

First six Star Wars films are now available in digital format

Zoom Stars Hyperspace

A brand new, HD collection of George Lucas’s six-movie “Star Wars” series, marketed as “Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection,” is now available to download on the iTunes Store. The collection features all six films from the Star Wars series, plus plenty of extras.

The collection is priced at $89.99 on iTunes for a limited time. Each film is $19.99.

Apple’s iOS 8.3 update brings more emojis

Dave Smith/Business Insider

Dave Smith/Business Insider

The recently released iOS 8.3 update brought more diverse characters to the emoji keyboard.

As Joe White noted:

You’ll notice in iOS 8.3, for instance, emoji which reflect a bigger range of family types; both opposite-sex and same-sex parent families, each with different selections of children, are available in the revamped emoji keyboard. You can also hold down on certain emoji in order to access different skin tones.

But what about the secret Vulcan salute emoji?

HBO Now is live


The HBO Now video streaming service is now available across multiple Apple devices. The standalone premium streaming service was first introduced at Apple’s special event on March 9.

HBO Now offers instant access to the pay TV service’s lengthy list of original programming, as well as hit movies, documentaries, sports, and comedy specials. The service represents the first time HBO is being offered to users without a cable or satellite subscription.

Like with HBO Go, HBO Now serves as a video on demand (VOD) service and not near-real-time streams of HBO’s linear channels. HBO Now also does not include programming streams or content from sister premium service Cinemax.

Apple wants exclusive tracks too

Grunge style photo of silhouette of people hands raised up on musical concert, enjoying music, dance

Apple is hoping that exclusive content will help draw subscribers to its upcoming revamped Beats Music service. That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Apple Inc. has asked Florence and the Machine and more than a dozen other artists for exclusive deals to promote a revamped Beats Music, and persuade people to ante up for what they’re accustomed to getting pretty much for free.

The company’s in talks with the British group, which is set to release an album in June, about giving Apple limited streaming rights to a track, and has approached Taylor Swift and others about partnerships, according to people familiar with the matter. The idea is that exclusives will be bait for music lovers loathe to pay for subscriptions.

As Brent Dirks suggested, exclusive content is not a new tactic in the competitive streaming music marketplace. Tidal, which launched back in late March, has exclusive tracks from Beyonce and Rhianna.

Speaking of Beats


The Solo2 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones from Apple-owned Beats are getting even more colorful. The company has announced three new very familiar colors – space gray, silver, and gold.

As you probably already guessed, those three options are designed to match the color schemes found on the new MacBook and latest iPhone and iPad models.

The new MacBook is now available


The next-generation MacBook has launched. The new notebook weighs just 2.03 pounds and can go an entire day without needing a charge. It also features the new USB-C port, which supports charging, USB 3.1 Gen 1, native DisplayPort 1.2 video output, VGA output, and HDMI video output.

Sprint-Radio Shack stores open


Wireless carrier Sprint Corp. more than doubled its retail footprint with the opening of 1,435 Sprint-RadioShack co-branded stores. Not all the RadioShack locations will sport the new co-branding look from the start, but Sprint expects to have the switch completed in the second half of this year.

Finally, “Game of Thrones” returns


The fifth season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” kicks off later today, April 12, on HBO. Watch it, enjoy it, and don’t read the spoilers.

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