Nintendo’s strategy RPG Fire Emblem: Heroes has finally made it to iOS, and it looks like Nintendo has managed to get it just right as far as their mobile games are concerned. Despite being part of a beloved Nintendo franchise that already has millions of fans around the world, Polygon writes that Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that the game is designed to appeal not just to hardcore fans but to everyone, including novice players.

“We developed Fire Emblem Heroes to be a quality title that fans of the series will appreciate and play thoroughly,” he said in Nintendo’s latest financial results briefing. “At the same time, we hope to provide a chance for consumers who have never played Fire Emblem before to experience the appeal of the series.”

Polygon notes that Nintendo has been smart in throwing both old favourite characters as well as some pretty obscure ones into the mix, not to mention brand new characters designed by Yusuke Kozaki, who previously worked on Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. You also get to customize the heroes that you find in the game and teach them skills to use in battle. Aside from the Story mode, there’s also an Arena mode where you can battle other players, plus Hero Battles where you can earn new heroes to add to your team, and also a Training Tower where you can earn experience as well as get rewarded. The replay value is certainly high with all these different modes.

As far as the free-to-play monetization is concerned, there’s no hint of a Super-Mario-Run-style system whereby you only get to play a few levels of the game before having to pay to access any more. Rest assured, Fire Emblem Heroes really is free to play, although there are optional in-app purchases so that you can buy new characters. The early reviews are great from both fans and critics alike, so it could well be that third time’s a charm for Nintendo.

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According to new reports from research firms IDC and Strategy Analytics, via 9to5 Mac, Apple
is still dominating tablet sales by a long way, even though the overall category has declined.

Apple reported 13.1 million iPad units sold in its fiscal Q1 report this week, which, while down 19% from the 16.1 million units sold in 2016, still leaves Apple way out in front of its rivals during the vital holiday season in particular.

That said, Apple did have a much sharper decline in shipments than did its nearest rival Samsung, with a fall of just 10% to 8.1 million units shipped in the fourth quarter from 9 million last year.

Strategy Analytics figures also showed that Apple’s iPad Pro results in particular showed a reverse of a 5-year trend in sales for the higher-end tablet, “as consumers flocked to lower-priced slate models and away from higher priced iPad Pro models.”

And MacRumors reports elsewhere that Apple CEO Tim Cook said of the latest figures, “We’ve got some exciting things coming on iPad and I’m optimistic about where things are headed. Customer satisfaction is through the roof. iPad Pro at 99%. So I see a lot of good things and hope for better results.”

Sources: Apple remains on top of tablet market in Q4 despite declines, iPad Pro model penetration just 10%

Tim Cook Says 'Exciting Things' Coming to iPad as Tablet Sales Continue to Drop

MacRumors reports that Apple has announced that Siri can be a big part of your Super Bowl Sunday experience if you want her to. First off there’s Live Tune-In support, where Apple TV users can ask Siri to play Super Bowl live by asking “Watch the Super Bowl.” This is the first time that Live Tune-In, which was launched last year, has been used for such a major sporting event.

Apple’s also been talking up other ways that Siri can be used on the big day, including asking her about team and player stats, half-time show details and even getting her to remind you to buy your snacks, as if you needed reminding of that!

Apple even suggests things that you can ask Siri, including “What is the Patriots record?” or “Who has more rushing yards this season, Tom Brady or Matt Ryan?”

This year’s Super Bowl is on Sunday, February 5 at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time, and sees the New England Patriots facing the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Source: Apple Highlights Ways Siri Can Get Involved in Super Bowl Sunday

Following a lengthy testing process that began last October, Twitter has today announced the official launch of its revamped “Explore” tab on the iOS version of its app. The new tab is designed to provide one-stop access to trends, search, Moments, and live video.

MacRumors writes that Twitter found that the new system worked very well in testing, with users saying that it made finding news, what’s trending, and popular topics much easier.

And don’t panic if you like your Twitter exactly how it was, as Twitter says that “nothing is going away,” it’s just that certain features have been moved to become part of the Explore tab.

When you tap Explore, you’ll see breaking news with a live video header and trending topics underneath, and then more news stories underneath a “Today’s Moments” section.

Meanwhile, Twitter users are still awaiting the introduction of the much-requested ability to edit Tweets, which Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently said is “definitely needed.”

Source: Twitter Officially Launches Enhanced 'Explore' Tab on iOS to All Users

AppleInsider reports that according to new data from consumer spending analytics company TXN, Apple Pay transactions grew by 50% in December 2016 compared with the same month a year ago. TXN’s graph shows a steady rise during the year, aside from a small dip in the middle of the year.

TXN’s figures actually differ considerably from the official figures released by Apple during Tim Cook’s Q4 conference call last October when he said that Apple Pay transaction volumes had increased by nearly 500% year over year, and that September 2016 had been busier than any time during 2015.

However, the discrepancy between the two sets of figures is most likely due to the way in which TXN collects its data, using a “panel of transactions from over 3 million payment cards,” and not being able to determine as to whether or not “some of the card issuing banks” were used for Apple Pay transactions or not.

Source: Analysts see 'strong growth' of Apple Pay annually, more room to grow

MacRumors reports that Apple has today seeded the first iOS 10.3 beta to developers. We’ll learn more about the various features included in the update when developers start reporting them, but it looks like the biggest feature is the new “Find My AirPods” mode, which is pretty self-explanatory!

The new feature works by letting you add your AirPods to the “Find My iPhone” app along with your other Apple products. Should you then lose your AirPods, you can tap on them in the Find My iPhone app to make them play a chirping tone, which will get increasingly louder until you can locate it.

Once activated, you can choose whether to play the alarm through the left or right AirPod, or both. You’ll also be able to view the AirPods’ location on your iPhone screen, using the iPhone’s GPS to track the AirPods to the last known place that they were connected.

Sources: Apple Seeds First Beta of iOS 10.3 With 'Find My AirPods' to Developers

iOS 10.3 Beta Includes New 'Find My AirPods' Mode for Locating Lost AirPods


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