9to5 Mac reports that 2 years on from the first iPad Pro launch, the Smart Connector has not taken off in the way that Apple would probably have hoped it would. Fast Company this week took a look at how accessory makers view the Smart Connector and why they haven't yet warmed to it.

According to Fast Company, many of the accessory makers that they spoke to blamed the long wait times and high prices of Smart Connector components for their reluctance to adopt the Smart Connector. Other manufacturers mentioned that Bluetooth is a better option than the Smart Connector, with Incipio saying that as Logitech already has its Smart Connector keyboard, it is looking for something different.

“With an iPad Pro keyboard on the market already, we are evaluating the market’s appetite for another iPad Pro keyboard and identifying if there are any gaps that we can fill,” said Incipio spokeswoman Kelly McElroy. “So we are developing with having a point of difference in mind rather than developing to be quick to market.”

An anonymous case-maker said that long wait times for Smart Connector components can be problematic, stating, “When you’ve got a long lead time component that’s close to six months, that’s just not tenable.”

The CEO of Brydge, a company that makes popular Bluetooth keyboards, was even less enthusiastic about the Smart Connector, saying that the technology is “incredibly limiting” and that Brydge has “ no reason” to work with the connector as it currently stands, although that could change. “Looking ahead, there is no reason why the Smart Connector wouldn’t be considered for future Brydge products if the application is right.”

Apple simply states that it is working with “multiple companies” to develop Smart Connector accessories.

Source: Apple working with ‘multiple companies’ on new Smart Connector accessories

Blizzard’s latest Hearthstone expansion, Knights of the Frozen Throne, is out now on iOS and PC. The new adventure sees players travelling to Northrend and storming Icecrown Citadel, the frozen fortress lair of the Lich King, in search of the forbidden runic magic. Your ultimate mission is to claim the Frozen Throne of the title and collect 135 new cards along the way.

Legend has it that the Lich King is looking for champions to imbue with the essence of undeath, meaning nine new legendary Hero Cards that transform Hearthstone’s heroes into Death Knights when played, complete with frost-rimmed armor and modified powers. The Lich King can also bestow another power, Lifesteal, which heals players for damage dealt.

The expansion also includes a number of free missions where players can challenge the Lich King directly. The prologue mission begins in the Icecrown Citadel, before you get to explore the citadel’s two wings, fighting iconic bosses such as Professor Putricide and Sindragosa as you progress to the final showdown with The Lich King himself. When you complete the prologue mission, you’ll receive a random legendary Death Knight Hero Card.

Sources: Blizzard, The Best Cards In Knights Of The Frozen Throne, Picked By A 'Hearthstone' Pro

Nexon, Respawn Entertainment, and Particle City have today released Titanfall: Assault on iOS, a new mobile RTS game set in the extended universe of the best-selling Titanfall franchise.

Gameplay sees players building and using a deck of virtual cards to deploy Pilots, Titans, and tactical Burn Cards in synchronous multiplayer battles.
In the free-to-play game the player takes on the roll of Commander, creating the ultimate squad of Pilots, Titans, and Burn Cards to fit their own playing style. In order to win the battle on the Frontier, you must adapt your strategy to suit the variety of maps, which include familiar locations and unique environmental elements.

The Hardpoint Domination mode sees competitors battling to control the map or to defeat the enemy base. Players can also visit the Hangar to view their cards, edit their squad, and upgrade their Titans, Pilots, and Burn Cards. By visiting the Guild, players can work together to achieve weekly Guild objectives, share replays, and challenge their Guild friends to friendly matches in order to perfect their squads.

Niantic is currently hosting a Pikachu Outbreak event that runs through until Tuesday, August 15, in Japan. For the duration of the event, Pokémon Go Trainers in Japan will be able to visit Pokémon Go Park events in Minato Mirai, Yokohama, Japan.

The special events feature two Kanto- and Johto-themed parks. Visitors to Red Brick Park will see more frequent encounters with Pokémon found in the Kanto region in Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue; visitors to Cup Noodle Museum Park will see more Pokémon of the type found in the Johto region in Pokémon Silver and Pokémon Gold.

During the event, Trainers will also get the chance to capture some of the region-exclusive Pokémon not normally available in Japan, such as Mr. Mime. Spinning the Photo Disc at PokéStops also gives Trainers the chance to collect special 2 km Eggs that might hatch more varied Pokémon than usual.

And that’s not all the goodies on offer at the event, as The Silph Road, via Eurogamer, reports that a Shiny Pikachu has also been spotted in the region, only the second Shiny creature to appear in Pokémon Go, following on from Shiny Magikarp. He’s actually got a very subtle golden shading, barely discernible from the regular Pikachu. No word as yet about when Shiny Pikachu might be appearing in the rest of the world.

Sources: Niantic, Ultra-rare shiny Pikachu released in Pokémon Go

9to5 Mac reports that the Unicode Consortium has published 67 new emoji that it is currently considering for inclusion in Unicode 11, which will be released next year. The new emoji are currently still at draft stage, so they could still be altered or cut prior to the public release.

Apple has yet to implement Unicode 10, which will happen with the release of iOS 11, so is quite some way behind the cavalcade of current emojis, with the Unicode Consortium now focusing its efforts on Unicode 11.

Among the many new emoji that are under consideration for Unicode 11 are a fire extinguisher, kangaroo, hippopotamus, firecracker, skateboard, brick wall, sliced bagel, toilet roll, and the notorious poo emoji with different facial expressions, such as the delightfully descriptive “Frowning Pile of Poo.”

Last month Apple heralded “World Emoji Day,” announcing some of the new emoji from Unicode 10 that would be arriving with iOS 11 later in the year, and proclaiming, “the new emoji make it easier for users to express themselves with greater diversity.”

Source: Here are 67 new emoji that could come to iOS next year [Gallery]

Apple is currently trying out “several different kinds” of wearable augmented reality (AR) prototypes trying to work out the “most compelling application” for an AR headset, reports the Financial Times, via MacRumors.

The Financial Times says that according to its sources, at least one of the groups within Apple wants the company to develop a pair of glasses with a 3D camera but no screen, whereby the iPhone would be the main display for the device, as with Snap’s Spectacles, but the future direction for the project has not yet been decided upon.

Talk of Apple working on AR smart glasses first emerged back in 2016, with previous stories on the subject predicting that the glasses will be connected wirelessly to the iPhone, and will show the wearer “images and other information.”

Robert Scoble also said earlier in the year that Apple was partnering with Carl Zeiss to release the smart glasses as soon as this year, but judging by the Financial Times story this is not looking very likely now as the glasses are still in the prototype stage.

Source: Apple Experimenting With Several Augmented Reality Glasses Prototypes

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