HBO Now Set to Launch in April, Apple Delays iPad Pro Until September [Tech News Digest]

HBO Now is coming soon, Apple delays the iPad Pro, EA closes Maxis, Chromebook battery killers, The Smithsonian bans selfie sticks, and Chappie explores artificial intelligence.

HBO Now to Stream Game of Thrones

HBO is set to launch its own streaming service in April, with HBO Now arriving just in time for the new season of Game of Thrones (April 12). HBO Now, as the service is tentatively titled, is expected to cost $15-per-month, which is about the same as cable TV subscribers pay for HBO. It is, however, significantly higher than the asking price of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

This information all comes from an International Business Times report, which cites the usual “sources familiar with their plans.” The report also claims HBO Now will be available on a whole range of different devices, including the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Roku, with Apple the company most keen to secure HBO Go, suggesting it will launch first on Apple TV.

This all has to be treated as rumor for the time being, but launching its standalone streaming service in time for the start of Season 5 of Game of Thrones makes absolute sense for HBO. If this is indeed the plan then we would expect an official announcement within weeks.

Apple’s iPad Pro Delayed for Six Months

Apple is all set to launch its smartwatch on Monday (March 9), but the new, larger iPad Pro is unlikely to make its debut alongside the Apple Watch. This is, according to Bloomberg, because Apple has had to delay production of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro until later in the year. The iPad Pro would be the third tablet in Apple’s product line, sitting alongside the 9.7-inch iPad Air 2, and the 7.9-inch iPad mini 3.

The report suggests Apple was planning to launch the iPad Pro during this quarter, but “delays involving the supply of display panels” mean production has been pushed back until September. The iPad Pro is being designed with the enterprise market in mind, as Apple tries to boost flagging sales of its tablets. MacRumors suggests the iPad Pro will feature an ultra high-res display, stereo speakers top and bottom, and a stylus option.

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EA Closes Legendary Developer Maxis

Electronics Arts (EA) is closing down Maxis, the legendary games developer responsible for games such as SimCity and Spore. Maxis Emeryville, the developer’s main studio, will be no more, although the Maxis brand will carry on with other studios around the world.

The Sims, by far the most popular Maxis IP, will carry on as normal as development of The Sims 4 and its mass of expansion packs is handled by a separate division imaginatively titled The Sims Studio. EA revealed this news during the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.

What’s Killing Your Chromebook Battery?

While Chromebooks are much less likely to be rendered unusable by having multiple apps running or too many tabs open at once than other devices, such activity can run down your battery more quickly than you’d hope. Thankfully, Google has built a solution into the latest version of Chrome OS.

Those in the Dev channel can now see how much juice each app or website is devouring. And then know which to avoid using or (at the very least) keep open for longer than absolutely necessary. As revealed by François Beaufort, you simply select ‘Settings’ and then ‘Battery’ to see a breakdown of current battery usage.

The Smithsonian Bans Selfie Sticks

The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. has banned the use of selfie sticks. Tripods and monopods were already banned from the museums and their grounds, but selfie sticks are now also included on the list of prohibited items.

In a press release announcing the decision, The Smithsonian stated, “This is a preventive measure to protect visitors and objects, especially during crowded conditions. We encourage museum visitors to take selfies and share their experiences — and leave the selfie sticks in their bags.” So, less Smithsonian, and more Draconian.

Chappie Explores Artificial Intelligence

And finally, this is the trailer for Chappie, the new movie from director Neil Blomkamp, previously responsible for District 9 and Elysium. It deals with the idea of artificial intelligence, with the titular character being an android with the ability to think for itself.

This is a timely film, as AI has been in the news of late. Scientists such as Stephen Hawking have warned of the dangers intelligent robots of the future pose to mankind. And we’re not helping ourselves by kicking the robot dogs our current brainiacs are developing.

Your Views on Today’s Tech News

Would you pay $15-per-month for HBO Now? Are you interested in buying a larger iPad? Is The Smithsonian right to ban selfie sticks?

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: John Joh via Flickr

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