Happy iPad-launch eve! What you need to know before lining up

On Friday, stores around the world will be opening their doors to crowds of Apple fans, eager to be the first to swipe their frozen, grimy fingers across the glorious new iPad Retina display. The lines aren’t necessary, you can buy the devices online, but they’re an admirable feat of branding and marketing, and a display of just how hungry Apple fans are to have the latest gadget before anyone else.

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Get in line early: New iPad goes on sale at 8 a.m. Friday

Attention Apple fans: Better wake up early on Friday if you want a chance at grabbing a new iPad. Apple retail stores will open at 8 a.m. to accommodate the rush of people looking to get their hands on Apple’s newest device, the company announced today.

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Why Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is suddenly warming up to cable & satellite TV providers

Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings is typically associated as one of the leading faces for the “cord cutting” movement, which is made up of people who canceled their expensive cable or satellite television subscriptions in favor of relying on streaming video services and web content. But earlier this week, that same face spoke of a happy coexistence between the two.

An animated explanation of how your personal data gets tracked and sold

Keeping up with our theme from yesterday’s post about how frictionless it has become for users to give unfamiliar apps broad and permanent access to their data, we stumbled on this interesting video about the personal information people unwittingly share with their mobile phone carriers.

AT&T unveils wireless data plans for PlayStation Vita

When Sony’s new portable gaming device, the PlayStation Vita, launches in the U.S. next month, it will have two data plans for its 3G-enabled model, AT&T today announced. One plan will cost $14.99 a month for 250MB; the other will cost $25 a month for 2G. Neither plan will require a long-term contract.

The top 5 CES trends that will matter in 2012

If you couldn’t tell by the avalanche of product news hitting VentureBeat over the past few weeks, the next Consumer Electronics Show is almost upon us. The annual trade show, which has been held in Las Vegas for more than a decade, is where many of the world’s biggest electronics companies debut their new products, announce major news, and desperately try to remind us that they exist.

T-Mobile has “no Plan B” after AT&T deal falls apart

T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom apparently put all of its eggs in AT&T’s basket. Now that AT&T’s $39 billion T-Mobile purchase has been squashed, thanks to pushback from the US government, DT is scrambling once again to find additional funds for its US carrier.

Nature is overrated, NYC park goers choose screens over trees

Fresh air, green grass and the sound of birds chirping: These are the joys of the outdoors — or, they used to be. Now it’s more likely that you’ll hear the tap-tapping of laptop keyboards and the “ping” of iPhone notifications, as New York City residents and visitors alike have traded in Mother Nature for free Wi-Fi at parks across the five boroughs.