10 things in tech you need to know today

Apple CEO Tim CookGetty Images NewsApple CEO Tim Cook.

Good morning! It’s a gloriously sunny day in London. Here’s the tech news you need to know this Tuesday.

1. Apple sold more Apple Watches on the first day of pre-orders than Google managed with Android Wear in an entire year. It’s bad news for Google’s smartwatch app ecosystem.

2. We might be about to see a major boom in technology mergers. That’s according to Scott Kupor, Managing Partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.

3. The US just had a record number of applications for tech visas. 233,000 people applied for H-1B visas for fiscal year 2016, with just 85,000 available.

4. The next version of the iPhone software will include a bunch of new music features. These include streaming music via AirPlay directly from the “now playing” screen, a revamped mini player, and recently added songs and albums at the top of your library.

5. Amazon and HarperCollins have agreed to a new “multi-year” publishing deal. Relations between publishers and the online retail giant have grown increasingly acrimonious, but the agreement will keep the publisher’s digital and print titles on the site for years to come.

6. The software used in the Sony hack is available for anyone to buy online. Sony Pictures was the victim of a debilitating hack attack late last year, and one expert says that the tools used can be bought from Russian hackers for around $US30,000.

7. Twitter is threatening to shut down the Periscope accounts of everyone who illegally streamed ‘Game of Thrones’ online. The rapidly-growing streaming app is being used by some to show off the newest episode of the acclaimed fantasy drama — but rights-holder HBO isn’t happy.

8. Google futurist Ray Kurzweil wants to live forever — but immortality doesn’t come cheap. His special diet costs “a few thousand dollars a day.”

9. Chinese Internet giant Tencent is now bigger than Amazon. Its market cap is now $US200 billion, larger than Oracle ($US190 billion), Amazon ($US178 billion), and IBM ($US161 billion).

10. The Apple Watch is already devastating the watch market even though barely anyone thinks its “cool.” An analyst note from Key Banc reveals how watch sales slumped ahead of the launch of Apple’s debut smartwatch, predicting it will be “highly disruptive to the traditional watch market.” But almost no respondents to a survey actually think its “cool.”

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