According to a new report from Nikkei, via MacRumors, the rumoured supplier for Apple’s forthcoming HomePod smart speaker, Inventec Appliances, has hinted during an earnings press conference that the HomePod might be in short supply at launch.

While Inventec Appliances president David Ho did not mention the HomePod by name during his address at the press conference, the clues are all there, from the timeframe of late in 2017 to the description of the “smart home device.”

In his speech, Ho said that the device’s contribution to Inventec’s revenue would be “fairly limited,” but “hopefully that will improve next year,” he added.

Arthur Liao, an analyst at Taipei’s Fubon Securities, said that Inventec will only ship around 500,000 HomePod units this year, making its contribution to Inventec’s revenue less than 1%.

Further to that, Nikkei was told by one of its sources that Apple will be adding Foxconn to its HomePod supply chain next year, with HomePod orders then being split between Foxconn and Inventec.

Source: HomePod Supplies Limited at Launch, but Foxconn Coming on Board in 2018 to Increase Production

MacRumors reports that a new “song,” created by Samir Mezrahi, has taken the iTunes singles chart by storm. No surprise in that, you might say, but what is surprising is that the song is one big load of nothing, and that’s not just me being rude, it actually is just 10 minutes of total silence!

Entitled “A a a a a Very Good Song,” the track is actually a very clever way of getting over the problem that people have when they connect their iOS device to their car’s USB port, whereby playback always starts automatically, and always in alphabetical order at the top of your iTunes library, so you always have to hear the same song, usually one that starts with an “A,” over and over and over.

Mezrahi’s track gets around this by providing a blissful 9 minutes and 58 seconds of total quiet after you connect your iOS device to your car USB, when you can find the song that you actually want to hear, not just the one that happens to be at the top of the alphabet. The track is free to Apple Music subscribers, and $0.99 to download otherwise.

Source: A Ten-Minute Silent Song Is Soaring Up the iTunes Charts

AppleInsider writes that heart-monitoring Apple Watch app Cardiogram has found a novel way of publicising what the app can do by creating a user challenge designed to monitor the heart rates of Game of Thrones fans when they are watching the show.

A total of 300 people enrolled in the Cardiogram Habits “What Game of Thrones Does to Your Heart Rate” test. The app then prompted users to turn on continuous heart rate recording on their Apple Watch at 8:45 p.m. on Sundays, which is when the show airs in the US.

Around 2.3 million measurements were recorded during the first four episodes of the seventh season, which gave the app developers plenty of data to work with in terms of noting heart rate trends.

According to Cardiogram’s figures, the scene that recorded the highest pulse rate was Jamie Lannister’s charge against Daenerys Targaryen and Drogon, with an average heart rate of 91 beats per minute recorded. This was higher by 8 beats per minute than the scene that came in second, which was the opening scene of the seventh season, where Arya Stark impersonates Walder Frey. This scene recorded an average heart rate of 83.2 beats per minute, which was the highest average rate of any scene that did not feature major action.

Cardiogram’s co-founders, Brandon Ballinger and Johnson Hsieh, said that the app is designed to provide details about your heart rate throughout the day. In May, Cardiogram and the University of California’s research found that the Apple Watch heart rate sensor could detect atrial fibrillation with 97% accuracy.

Source: Apple Watch Cardiogram Measures Game of Thrones Viewers Heart Rate

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.

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