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    Nintendo says Fire Emblem mobile game 'coming soon' to iOS

    By Caiden,

    After the initial blockbuster success of Nintendo's "Super Mario Run," the Japanese gaming giant on Wednesday announced its second mobile title will be a take on the long-running "Fire Emblem" series. 
    Dubbed Fire Emblem: Heroes, the new franchise installment is Nintendo's second attempt at an original mobile game and will launch on Android on Feb. 2. An iOS version of the same game is also in the works, but a release date has not yet been announced. 

    Boasting Fire Emblem's classic anime art style, Heroes is billed as a tactical role-playing collectible character game that puts players in the shoes of a powerful summoner. An original storyline tells the tale of two warring factions as they fight for control over a mythical kingdom. 

    Like past Fire Emblem titles, the upcoming mobile title focuses on turn-based gameplay, but fought over an 8-by-6 battle grid designed for smartphone screens. Commands are issued by swiping or tapping directly on the grid, making for easy one-handed control. 

    Players summon heroes from past Fire Emblem games, as well as new characters, using orbs acquired during regular gameplay. Those who wish to grow their army with haste can buy additional orbs through in-app purchases. New characters can also be gained in hero battles. 

    Other features from previous Fire Emblem games make an appearance in Heroes, including the signature sword/axe/lance attribute, or triangle weapon, system that adds another layer of strategy to combat. 

    With Fire Emblem: Heroes announced, Nintendo is slowly making good on a promise to bring new and legacy IP to smartphones. In 2015, the company said it would release five mobile games by March 2017, though the plan appears impossible to fulfill at this stage. 
    Nintendo's first mobile effort, Super Mario Run, was in many ways a success. Announced onstage at Apple's iPhone 7 event in September by creator Shigeru Miyamoto, the game was hyped for months leading up to a December debut. 

    Topping both Apple's free and paid App Store charts just hours after launch, Nintendo appeared to have a runaway hit on its hands. The game lacked staying power, however, as users began to complain about a misleading sales structure that allowed users to download the title for free, but required a $9.99 in-app purchase to unlock the full game.

    ‘Apple Pencil 2’ Said to Feature Magnets to Attach to iPad

    By Caiden,

    The Apple Pencil launched alongside the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and rumor has it that the company may have a Pencil 2 on the way.
    Letem svetem Applem is reporting that Apple plans on launching an “Apple Pencil 2” this Spring, and that it will include a few key changes that should make it easier to keep tabs on throughout the day. The report cites information gathered from the Chinese social site Weibo, which says that the Pencil 2 will feature a new magnetic system that will allow owners to attach the stylus to the side of an iPad.
    Apple has indeed filed patents that point to future versions being able to attach to the side or bezel of an iPad, so it’s possible the rumor could be based on that.
    Still, the report goes further to say that Apple could also include an actual clip on the Apple Pencil 2, which would allow owners to attach it to a pocket, instead of directly on the iPad itself. The clip could also keep the second-generation Apple Pencil from rolling off a desk, too.
    The report also claims that Apple will unveil the new Apple Pencil alongside the new iPad variants rumored to launch in the first half of 2017. If the rumor pans out, that could mean the new Apple Pencil 2, and the new iPads, could be launched in March of this year.

    Apple Raises the Prices of Apps by 25%

    By Oirad20,

    Apple is raising the price of both iOS and Mac apps in several territories by 25 percent or more. These price hikes are as a result of Apple reacting to a number of different factors. However, the result is the same as always… consumers are getting shafted yet again.
    As reported by BBC News, in the UK, Apple is raising the price of apps and in-app purchases by 25 percent across the board. This means a £0.79p app will now cost £0.99, and a £1.49 app will now cost £1.99 etc. The price of Super Mario Run, which was already an expensive option, is rising from £7.99 to £9.99.
    Other countries set to see the price of apps increase include India and Turkey. In India, the price of a $0.99 app will rise from 60 rupees to 80 rupees, which represents a 33 percent increase. In Turkey, the price of a $0.99 app will rise from 2.69 lira to 3.49 lira, which represents a 33 percent increase.
    Is This Really All Because of Brexit?
    Several publications are reporting that this is all down to Brexit, and the fluctuations in currency that have occurred since. However, that would only potentially explain what’s happening in the UK, and not in the other countries where prices have also been hiked up.
    Apple issued a statement addressing the increase in app prices, saying:
    It’s fair to say various currencies have been affected by world events in 2016. However, most of these price hikes are as a result of changes to the rates of tax and VAT being charged on app purchases. Which means Apple can simply pin the blame on the governments in those countries.
    Ditching the Apple Ecosystem in Protest!
    This isn’t the first time Apple has increased the price of apps, and it certainly won’t be the last time either. However, 25 percent is a sizable increase overnight, and one which consumers will certainly notice. Whether anyone is annoyed enough to ditch the Apple ecosystem in protest remains to be seen.
    Via [Make Use Of]

    Former Apple Engineer Says Apple Has Become a ‘Boring Operations Company’ Under Tim Cook

    By Caiden,

    A former Apple engineer Bob Burrough speaking to CNBC says that Tim Cook has made Apple a “boring operations company.” Burrough says that it was the chaos while working under Steve Jobs that led to the creation of the original iPhone.
    When Burrough joined Apple in 2007, he says it was a “wild west,” and despite being hired under a specific manager, he was working on projects that had nothing to do with his job profile. This is because under Jobs Apple prioritised projects, while under Cook, the organisation is given the priority.
    Burrough told to CNBC
    Burrough says that under Cook the “dynamic has clearly and distinctly changed,” with highly organisational teams having clear responsibilities. Every employee now has their own responsibilities to care about, and they don’t deviate from their job to help solve other problems that are out of their job profile.
    Tony Fadell, who worked on the original iPod and founded Nest down the line, disagrees with Burrough, though. He says that there was never a competition inside Apple even while working under Steve Jobs, with all teams working together to find the best solution.
    While Apple has become the richest company in the world under Cook’s leadership, many believe that the company has lost its innovative edge under its new leadership. While iPhone sales reached new heights since Cook became the CEO, many people widely believe that Apple has not released one revolutionary product under his leadership.

    Roku for iPhone gets 'one-tap' streaming, Evernote app overhauls iOS interface

    By Caiden,

    Roku and Evernote each released major revamps of their iOS apps on Tuesday, the former making it easier to find and launch video streams, the latter simplifying navigation and other features.
    Roku users can now launch channels on their stick, TV, or set-top by tapping on icons in gallery-style view. Previously, the app only let people navigate channels on their TV, using the simulated remote.

    The new app also includes a "What's On" feature, organizing movies and shows available to watch under different categories. Some initial headers include "Superhero Hits," "Free Movies," and "New to Streaming: Recent Hits."

    The app as a whole has been given a cleaner interface based around a bar at the bottom with five tabs: "Channels," "What's On," "Remote," "Photos," and "Settings."

    The Roku app is a free download for iPhones and iPods running iOS 8 or later.

    Evernote's new interface is also tab-based, but includes further changes such as a new note list with filters and small, medium, or large previews. It's now possible to switch between notebooks by tapping the active one's name, or switch between personal and business views by either going into the Account tab or simply holding a finger down on it. Work Chat has been relegated to that tab as well.

    Shortcuts can be launched from the new tab bar, and search is now available in both the tab bar and at the top of note lists, the latter narrowing results to a single notebook.

    A final change includes improved formatting and styling options, with different colors and small, medium, or large text.

    Evernote is a free download for devices with iOS 9.3 or later, but can only be run on two devices without an upgrade to a paid subscription.

    Morgan Stanley lowers 2017 iPhone 7 sales estimates ahead of next-gen 'supercycle'

    By Caiden,

    Investment bank Morgan Stanley expects Apple to see decreased iPhone 7 demand in the coming months as buyers anticipate this year's "iPhone 8" revamp, one model of which is expected to feature a drastic redesign and exotic technologies like an OLED display. 
    Analyst Katy Huberty in a note to investors obtained by Business Insider is lowering fiscal 2017 iPhone revenue estimates by 3 percent due to "weak demand ahead of the 'supercycle.'" 

    An iPhone "supercycle," as it is referenced by Wall Street analysts, is the theoretical upwelling of demand after a year of revenue declines. Some blame the lack of interest on three years of minor improvements to what has become a staid smartphone lineup. While iPhone 7 is expected to stabilize the downturn in iPhone growth, the effects of last year's slump are ongoing. 

    Apple last January guided for, and subsequently realized, its first ever year-over-year iPhone sales contraction in the second fiscal quarter of 2016. Shipments were equally dismal in the following two quarters, culminating in three straight quarters of revenue declines for the company. 

    As for the coming "supercycle," Huberty and other analysts expect suppressed iPhone demand to explode as buyers who passed on iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 join regular upgraders in picking up this year's handset. Morgan Stanley predicts iPhone to post sales growth of 20 percent in 2018, a huge comeback from the preceding nine months. 

    Helping drive demand this year is Apple's rumored "iPhone 8," a handset featuring next-generation technology like an OLED display, wireless charging, full-face screen with invisible Touch ID home button and more. Recent rumblings out of Apple's East Asian supply chain suggest the device will ditch aluminum for forged stainless steel as part of a "glass sandwich" design reminiscent to the iPhone 4 series.

    Due to technological hurdles and supply limitations, OLED panels being one of the most constrained, Apple is said to launch limited numbers of a completely redesigned iPhone model alongside the usual "s" cycle upgrades. Whether the high-end variant can be produced in quantities large enough to push the iPhone shipments needle is unknown. 

    Investors should get a better view of Apple's upcoming year when the company reports fiscal earnings for the first quarter of 2017 on Jan. 31. 

    Apple Rumored to Expand iPhone 6s Battery Replacement Program to iPhone 6 [Updated]

    By Caiden,

    A new rumor originating from Mac Otakara suggests that Apple could potentially expand the free battery replacement program from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone 6. The company had announced a free battery replacement program for the iPhone 6s in November last year after numerous complaints from users about their handset shutting down randomly. This led Apple to discover that it had shipped a small unit of iPhone 6s with faulty batteries.
    The issue cropped up because some batteries supplied to Apple were exposed to ambient air longer than their usual time. This leads to them degrading faster than usual and cause random shutdowns of the device.
    The replacement program was only for a small set of iPhone 6s units that were manufactured between October to November 2015.
    Apple is already running a repair program for the iPhone 6 Plus for the ‘Touch Disease’ in which it is replacing display units with non-functional touch or screen flickering issue for $149. iPhone 6 owners have also complained about their device randomly shutting down irrespective of the charge left, but it is unclear if the issue is as widespread as it is for the iPhone 6s owners or is simply being caused due to the age of the device. As of now, it is unclear as to why Apple would be considering extending the free battery replacement program from the iPhone 6s to the iPhone 6.
    Are you noticing any battery issues on your iPhone 6 that could lead Apple to potentially launch a free battery replacement program for it? If yes, drop a comment and let us know about it.
    Update: Apple has reached out to AppleInsider and provided the following statement, effectively saying that it does not have plans to include the iPhone 6 in its battery replacement program:

    Report Says Apple AirPods Market Share Greatly Exaggerated

    By Caiden,

    The Apple AirPods was welcomed with mixed criticism by fans and experts alike. According to a new report, the estimated market share figures of these wireless headphones were greatly exaggerated.
    Previous reports mentioned that the AirPods enjoyed a market share of 26% among wireless headphones. However, new findings by market research firm NPD, has suggested that the AirPods only enjoyed a presence of about 2% by volume and 3% by value. Beats Electronics, on the other hand, has managed to remain competitive despite the overall growth of the wireless headphones market.
    NPD mentions that despite the market share being relatively low, Apple enjoyed a pretty good debut of its first wireless headphones. It is said that the company was already on par with brands like Plantronics and Jaybird after being in the market for just about a month or so. We also have to consider the fact that the headphones were in short supply following the release. This may have affected the sales of the AirPods to some extent.
    Getting into the specifics, Apple had a 2% share in terms of unit sales and 3% in terms of dollar sales. Beats, on the other hand, had a 25% share in terms of unit sales and 46% dollar sales. Established companies like Plantronics and Jaybird only saw 2% unit sales each.
    Apple is heavily pushing the sales of the AirPods and has recently uploaded three new commercials to spread the word. A separate report mentioned that the company was boosting the production of the headphones to keep up with the rising demand.

    How to Get VirtualHome Functionality in iOS 10 Using Activator

    By Caiden,

    Now that the iOS 10.1.1 jailbreak is readily available, there are still a number of popular tweaks that haven’t been updated for iOS 10.
    One example is VirtualHome which allows you to make use of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor as the Home button.
    What the tweak does is that it lets you tap once on Touch ID to mimic a Home button press rather than actually pressing that button. Unfortunately, the tweak supports iOS 9 and hasn’t been updated for iOS 10.
    Although there is an alternative tweak called Touchr that works very similar to VirtualHome, it will cost you $1.99. If you’re looking for a free alternative, then you’ve come to the right place.
    In this guide, we will show you how to mimic VirtualHome’s Touch ID functionality on iOS 10 using Activator.
    How to Setup VirtualHome Tweak on iOS 10
    Step 1: Download and install Activator from Cydia.
    Step 2: Go to Settings and open Activator.
    Step 3: Choose Anywhere.
    Step 4: Scroll down to the section labelled Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor and choose Single Press.
    Step 5: Under System Actions, choose Home Button.
    Now when you’re within an app and tap on Touch ID once, it will take you to the Home screen. You no longer have to press the Home button and that means you don’t need to worry anymore about the wear and tear of your iPhone’s Home button.
    Although this workaround will not be as perfect as the actual tweak, it is a pretty good alternative that won’t cost you anything.

    AT&T pulls plug on 2G network, ending cellular data for Apple's 2007 iPhone

    By Caiden,

    U.S carrier AT&T has announced the shutdown of its 2G network, in the process killing off support for some older phones —including Apple's original iPhone, which didn't offer any faster cellular options.
    The change actually took effect on Jan. 1, AT&T said. Plans were first revealed four years ago, and the carrier has been since been migrating people to 3G and 4G devices, sometimes offering them at a discount or for free. 

    AT&T said that its goal is to open up more cellular spectrum "for future network technologies, including 5G," though in the short term, it will allocate bandwidth towards 4G LTE. 

    In the U.S. 2G has largely become a fallback data technology for phones in rural areas, as most towns and cities are thoroughly covered by 4G or at least 3G. 

    When it launched in 2007, the first iPhone took some criticism for operating only on 2G cellular, as 3G was already in service and offered far faster speeds, potentially very useful for the mobile version of Safari. Apple didn't offer 3G until the following year's model, and iPhones remained an AT&T exclusive in the U.S. until a Verizon version of the iPhone 4 shipped in Feb. 2011.

    With the end of AT&T's 2G network, owners of original U.S. iPhones will have to use Wi-Fi to do anything on the internet. Apple itself, however, has officially declared the device obsolete, and the latest OS release it supports is iOS 3, which virtually all developers have abandoned. 

    Apple celebrated 10 years since the unveiling of the first-generation iPhone last week. The iconic device was shown off onstage at the 2007 Macworld expo by late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs.

    Apple fixes El Capitan kernel issue in supplemental security update

    By Caiden,

    Available from the Mac App Store , as well as through Apple's support pages, the supplemental update is a free download weighing in at 623.9 megabytes, and can be used by any Mac running OS X 10.11.6 El Capitan with Security Update 2016-003 installed. Security Update 2016-003, originally released in December, has been reissued at the same time and measures 717 megabytes in size. 

    Aside from the kernel panic issue, little else is known about the contents of the update. Apple is expected to provide more details after it updates the official security updates page. 

    Users of macOS Sierra are still waiting for Apple to release the next update for the operating system, with the fourth and latest beta released last week.

    Verizon to redirect calls in last-ditch effort to deter Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users

    By Caiden,

    Verizon will soon take extreme steps to deal with the "thousands" of people on its network still using Samsung's fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 in spite of a recall and subsequent attempts to cripple the device, a report said on Tuesday.
    Owners of the fiery device who are using Verizon's network will soon find calls automatically redirected to customer service unless they are attempting to dial 911, Verizon explained to Fortune. On top of this, the company is considering billing holdouts for the full cost of the phone, reversing previous reimbursements.

    Samsung put a stop to Note 7 production in October after the device's design was found defective. Since then, Samsung and carriers alike have tried to get people to return or exchange the phone, using financial incentives as well as crippling software updates. The Note 7 is also effectively banned from air travel.

    The most recent software update —issued through all U.S. carriers —prevents the phone from charging. It is not clear how people have been circumventing the code while maintaining a usable device. 

    Samsung is said to have recently concluded an internal report finding that battery problems were indeed to blame for a rash of fires after the Note 7 launched in August. The company may have left too little space for the battery in its design, creating dangerous pressure.

    This, in turn, has allegedly been linked to Samsung rushing the phone to market, hoping to grab more customers away from Apple, which was on the verge of releasing the iPhone 7. Instead the company is preparing to take a $5.2 billion hit.