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16
Feb

Pokémon Duel: An unoptimized but amusing addition to the franchise (review)


You can probably put the name “Pokémon” on a rock and you would be able to sell it. After the massively successful Pokémon Go, The Pokémon Company wants to keep the momentum and build its mobile portfolio for the franchise. The result is Pokémon Duel, a very polished board game with an incredible amount of depth, modes and replay value.

Developer: The Pokemon Company
Price: Free

Setup

As is the case with more and more games these days, when starting up Pokémon Duel, it starts to download assets by itself. These are rather large, so expect to be stuck on the initial loading screen for quite some time. After this, a short introduction will appear and you will your duel set, get to choose your name and customize your character.

Pokémon Duel Setup

1 of 5


The character customization is fairly acceptable, with several skin colors, hairstyles and hair colors to choose from. If you see a character named RedBlue dressed like Maximillion Pegasus (I know, wrong franchise), and you manage somehow to win, then take a screenshot and I’ll publicly acknowledge your superiority.

Overview

pokemon_duel-11-169x300.pngThe Pokémon Wheel Pieces in action.

There’s a lot to analyze on this game, because it has a lot of different stuff. Let’s start with the basics of the game. You control six Pokémon tokens. The board has two entry points for each player, and one goal point. Your mission is to get any of your tokens on your opponent’s goal point.

Your Pokémon can move a maximum of four spots per turn. In your turn you can summon a new monster, move a token or attack your opponent. If you decide to attack, then you will get two roulettes on the screen, one for the attacking Pokémon and one for the defending one.

Each specific Pokémon has a roulette associated with it, called Wheel Piece, and this can include attacks, dodge, miss, and attacks with a special effect, such as Confuse Ray or Thunder Wave. These attacks will vary depending on the Pokémon and its rarity. The rarer the Pokémon, the better their attacks.

Attacks have a power value associated with it. For example, Tackle in a Rattata has a power value of 10, but Thunder in a Pikachu has 100. There’s a huge theory behind attacks, so I won’t go into details, but the easy, short way of explaining it is that if the attack you draw is more powerful than your opponent’s, then you knock out that opponent. If you draw something else, then you should see its color. Most of the time, gold is the strongest one, followed by purple and blue. Still with me? Good.

There’s also something called Plates, which are the equivalent of items in the normal Pokémon games. These can be used for increasing your attack, having a chance of spinning again, cure status ailments and so on.

There’s a lot of strategy involved because of the amount of combinations you can have and the style of gameplay you want to apply. Want to be very direct and get to the goal as fast as you can? Then use Pokémon that can move three spots, but at the expense of having weaker attacks at your disposal. Want to kill all of your opponents? Use stronger Pokémon that move less spots. Some Pokémon have special abilities, such as being able to move across an opponent or not being able to become paralyzed. Plates also add a layer of strategy.

Offline or online? That is the question

Online battles are very entertaining.

You can either complete solo quests against the CPU or duel with people online based on the rank you have. The solo quests are very similar to gym leaders in the regular Pokémon games. There are several hotels you have to conquer in order to have the chance of conquering the final grand tower.

You play against different opponents and then fight against a leader. Each opponent, called concierge, will give you a prize at the end, either coins or a new Pokémon token. The hotel owner will give you an emblem, and with that, a new gym… Err, hotel will unlock.

The online part is more interesting. Winning duels increases your rank, and also gives you keys, which can be collected in order to get new figures. At the end of duels you will also receive Time Boosters, which are boxes that you will be able to open after several hours.

Because these are duels against humans, they are much more competitive and fun to do. You will find all sorts of strategies and tokens here, and the most entertaining moments I had while playing this game were there. There’s no way of explaining the happiness of winning against a Lugia and a Giratina with a Charmander.

Oh, the glory, the grandeur, the triumph…

Fusions, Training Center and Shop

Sometimes you will also get some rare metal blocks as part of your boosters. These are experience blocks, which you can use to increase the experience of your tokens. With enough experience, your Pokémon will level up, and you will be able to shift the proportions of your Wheel Piece. With this, you can decrease the area of your Miss blocks, and increase the chances of getting a more powerful attack when spinning the wheel.

Since you only have 50 slots available for Pokémon and blocks, then you can also fuse Pokémon in order to increase experience. Be wary, though, if you fuse a Raichu into your Skarmory, the Skarmory will increase its experience points, but the Raichu will be lost forever.

Gems are kind of expensive but they’re easily obtainable through other means.

In the Training Center, you are able to hone your skills and fight with predefined decks in order to learn tips and tricks about the game’s different strategies. This is also a good way of getting Plates and new figures. If you fulfill some challenges, you will also get some gems in the process.

As in many, many, many games in the Play Store, you have coins and gems at your disposition. Coins are used to fuse Pokémon, while gems are used for different stuff, but primarily to buy new boosters and to open the time boosters you get when playing online. It is not complicated to get them from playing the game, thanks to quests, daily missions and the training center.

However, the easiest way of getting them (well, if you have a credit card and a job or overly-generous parents) is by paying real money from them. Obviously, getting more will yield a higher dollar-per-gem ratio. But let’s put it in perspective. Buying a booster costs 50 coins, while buying 57 coins costs $3.98. This means that each Pokémon commands a $3.49 price.

In the shop you can buy four boosters for 200 gems, with the guarantee that at least one Pokémon will be of rarity EX or R (the highest ones). As expected, there is no way of buying 200 coins in the shop, only 120 for $7.94 or 360 por a whopping $19.88. In-app purchases can get as high as $81.05 for 1960 gems, and you can only buy 50000 gems monthly, in a very vague attempt of balancing the game.

General Impressions

As previously said, there is a great amount of strategy required to build your deck, and then playing the game itself gives you a million possibilities. I found myself constantly saying “one more round,” and ended up playing until 3AM, which is a good sign. With The Pokémon Company behind it, there’s probably much more planned for the game, like special events, online tournaments and similar.

Easy as pie.

Even though luck is a big part of your success and failure, you still need to think your movements through, use Plates at the right time and use the game’s mechanics to your advantage.

However, things go wrong when you evaluate the performance of the game. It’s not like Pokémon Duel stutters or skips frames, but navigating through it is very slow. “Glacial,” to quote Leonard Hofstadter. Each press of an element will show you a “Connecting…” progress at the bottom. This makes going from one screen to another an almost painful experience.

There are more than 200 Pokémon tokens to collect.

Also, I found a lot of problems in which my game lost connection for no reason. Once I was utterly dominating a match, was one or two steps away from winning, and got a “Connecting…” overlay that never went away, which made me lose the game because I ran out of time. After the duel, the overlay never went away, forcing me to stop the game and start it again.

Once I even had game crashing on me when I accessed the stuff. The one place that makes money on the game, crashed on me.

There’s several reviews that talk about corrupted saved data, but I haven’t experienced any. However, plenty of people are complaining about the various connection issues I’ve also seen. Some reviewers point out a very worrisome fact: there’s no Google Play Games integration or any other form of account retrieval. If your phone gets misplaced or damaged, say goodbye to your progress.

Another annoying aspect of the game is that every time I open it, there are new files being downloaded. It seems like the game doesn’t update its files through the Play Store but through its own means, slowing the launch process.

If you are able to cope with the slow navigation and connection issues, though, there’s a very enjoyable game behind, one that could entertain you for months to come and that could turn even better after The Pokémon Company starts adding stuff to it.

Graphics

The game features interfaces very similar to what you would expect from a Pokémon game. Interfaces are colorful, locations are very flashy and futuristic and graphics and Pokémon tokens are very detailed.

Graphics are exactly what you would expect from a Pokémon game.

There are some very cool effects, such as when you open a booster and the Pokémon shows up. Also, although other characters are static, their models sometime change their face expression depending on the situation, which adds a nice touch of reality to them. If you’ve played a recent Pokémon game, then you’ll feel right at home with the design.

The attacks that the monster perform are very basic, though. You will see some electricity rays on Pikachu’s electric attacks, some water on Blastoise’s Surf, and a cool-looking ray when something uses Solarbeam, but don’t expect them to be as good as the latest iterations of Pokémon games have been.

Also, I’ve had some instances of Pokémon tokens not loading and very small visual glitches that interrupt the game’s otherwise impressive graphic performance.

Sound

The sound effects and music on this game are very good. Background music changes on various circumstances, so you won’t hear the same song all over again. Also, when someone is close to capturing their opponent’s base, the music changes to a faster tempo one, which creates a sense of urgency when you are on the verge of losing, and makes you anxious when you’re about to win. It is really effective and adds a lot to the game itself.

Sound effects for every action are spot on. Each button has its own distinctive sound, but it isn’t overwhelming or anything. From the roulette spinning to a Pokémon being destroyed to opening a booster pack, everything has a very nice sound effect accompanying it. Pokémon games are normally praised for their sound and music production, and this one remains true to its roots and reputation.

Conclusion

Pokémon Duel provides endless hours of fun and a lot of replay value thanks to a well-thought gameplay and several game modes using the now ubiquitous Pokémon franchise. Unfortunately, it suffers a lot from performance issues, such as never-ending loading screens, crashes, visual glitches and reported instances of game data loss. It is a shame, since the game itself has a lot going for it. However, I encourage you to give it a try and hope that The Pokémon Company will address problems in subsequent updates.

Download and install Pokémon Duel from the Google Play Store.

16
Feb

Watch out, Alexa: You can now make purchases on Google Home


Why it matters to you

The battle of the voice assistants continues — Google has caught up with Amazon’s Alexa in making purchases touch-free and simple.

While Google Assistant may have the leg up on contextual search capabilities, Amazon’s Alexa has enjoyed a strong lead on the ability to make purchases. Google is catching up fast, though, as you can now make purchases with Assistant on Google Home.

The new functionality uses Google Express, the search giant’s shopping and delivery service, but you can only place orders with “participating Google Express retailers” — these include the likes of Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, and more than 50 other national and local retailers.

More: Celebrate President’s Day in virtual reality with Google’s latest VR tours

The service doesn’t seem to automatically add account information you already may have set up with other Google services like Android Pay or Google Wallet. Rather, you have to head into the Google Home app, pull out the navigation drawer, and tap More settings. Scroll all the way down until you see Payments. You’ll see any cards you have previously used to make purchases on your Google account, and you can select the one. You also have to add in your delivery address.

Google said you’ll be able to shop for everyday essentials “from paper towels to vitamins.” You can specify purchases by mentioning a retailer, or you can see what options you have buy just asking for home essentials like toilet paper.

You can say “OK Google, how do I shop,” for a quick tutorial, or once you have set up your payment method you can start ordering right away. The company says it will continue to add new features and enable purchases for other apps and services in the coming months. You also don’t need to worry about membership fees to retailers such as Costco, or to Google Express, until April 30.

More: The Google Assistant can now call up personal info via Allo

Unfortunately, it does not look like you can make payments with Assistant on the Pixel. The Google Pixel recently received an update that added Home Control, though, so it’s a feature that’s likely on the way.

Adding payment functionality certainly helps make Google Assistant more competitive with Amazon’s Alexa, which has focused on online shopping and mobile payments since it first launched.

Article originally published in February. Updated on 02-16-2017 by Julian Chokkattu: Added official details about purchases on Google Home.

16
Feb

Splash Magikarp Pokémon mobile game teased for Japan release


Why it matters to you

If you like to “play em’ all” when it comes to Pokémon games, Select Button’s upcoming Magikarp themed title will be one to watch.

Following the monumental success of Pokémon Go in every market where it’s been introduced, it’s no surprise that more Pokémon mobile games are coming down the pipeline. The next one however, may be a Japan exclusive. But what the game is about, beyond involving one particular Pokémon, is anyone’s guess.

Announced via a Japanese teaser site, we’re told that the game is called Hanero! Koiking, which translates to Splash! Magikarp (thanks Kotaku). There’s also an image from the game which shows a pair of curiously Magikarp shaped holes in the floor of a field.

Purportedly they were discovered by a 27-year-old fisherman in the middle of a town. What bearing his age has on the story is anyone’s guess, but it’s interesting to note that players won’t necessarily be taking on the role of a surprisingly self-sufficient ten-year-old, who’s just decided to take on the world.

More: At last, ‘Pokemon Go’ adds creatures from ‘Gold’ and Silver’

The game is being developed by Japanese studio, Select Button, which previously released the popular free mobile title, Survive! Mola Mola!. While there is a fishy theme to the two games, we don’t know right now whether that will have any bearing on the gameplay.

The game is being made for both Android and iOS and is slated for a spring 2017 launch. There’s no word yet on whether this game will see an international release, either. So far it’s only been detailed on the Japanese site, though Survive! Mola Mola! was released internationally, despite a Japanese focus. Pokémon is an international franchise as well, of course, so it seems likely that Splash! Magikarp will eventually debut all over the world.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first game to reference Magikarp and its typically useless splash ability. In the original Pokémon Stadium on the N64, there was a minigame with a very similar name. Here’s hoping the gameplay in whatever Select Button is making is a little more exciting than that though.

16
Feb

14 tips for a thriving Fallout Shelter


Fallout Shelter came as a pleasant surprise when Bethesda announced it alongside Fallout 4 at E3 2015. Although a simple resource management sim is a major departure for a studio best known for sprawling RPGs such as The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 3, Bethesda has put its own spin on the genre, making what feels an equally sprawling management game. In the years since launch, the game has come to PC and Xbox One, and the team has added new enemies, rooms, and even a novel questing system.

More: Master Fallout 4‘s wasteland with these essential starting tips

Whether you’re new to the game, a veteran returning from the wasteland, or a longtime overseer looking to get the most out of your vault dwellers, we’ve put together a few pointers to help you get off to a good start and build a thriving vault that will be the envy of scavengers and super mutants around your post-apocalyptic neighborhood.

Build for the future

In the beginning it’s easy to build new rooms haphazardly as they become available. Scroll down and see how deep your vault can run, however, to see how much room there is to expand as your population booms. Larger, connected rooms are more efficient than an equal total of smaller rooms of the same type. Because rooms max out at three across, always leave space for them to expand. Extending the initial elevator directly down leaves you room for three-wide rooms on either side. It may be a little more expensive to build elevators down instead of using more of the horizontal space, but the long-term efficiency of this simple, two-column structure can’t be beat.

Speck CandyShell Inked CasesRooms require more power to operate the further they are from a power plant, so be sure to space your reactors out evenly to maximize their efficiency. Don’t build too fast, though! Diners and water treatment facilities use power even if no one is operating them, so building facilities you can’t utilize yet is a waste of precious power. Even if you do have the personnel, sometimes it is better to focus on training them to work more efficiently in the rooms you do have instead of building new ones. Power generating rooms are the exception, though. If you are producing  surplus of electricity, you can safely build more facilities to increase your storage capacity without putting a strain on your resources.

16
Feb

Xiaomi Mi Mix 2: News and rumors


Why it matters to you

Xiaomi was ahead of the curve in terms of smartphone design with the Mi Mix. The Mi Mix 2 could follow suit and set the standard.

Xiaomi’s Mi Mix smartphone is just a taste of what’s to come in smartphone design — a large, gorgeous display with next to no bezels. Even though the Mi Mix only came out last fall, Xiaomi may already be working on a successor.

There isn’t a lot of information to go on just yet, but here’s everything we think we know about the Mi Mix 2.

More: Xiaomi Mi Mix review

Design

What made the Mi Mix unique — apart from nearly non-existent bezels — was the use of Elliptic Labs’ ultrasound technology to replace the proximity sensor on the front of the screen. This allowed for the phone’s screen to go black during a call when the device was lifted up to the ear — an action usually performed by the proximity sensor.

Using ultrasound technology allowed Xiaomi to eliminate the bezel on the top of the device. It’s highly likely we’ll see this again, but perhaps the company will take it a step further and attempt to remove the bottom bezel as well.

Xiaomi founder Lei Jun said in a Weibo update that he is working again with Philippe Starck, the French designer that helped design the Mi Mix. From rough translations, there seem to be no specific mention of the Mi Mix 2, but Jun said the two are looking to see how they can make “these exciting innovations [a] reality.” Jun posted a picture of the two standing in front of a Mi Mix advertisement.

More: Look out, Apple! Xiaomi wants to open 1,000 retails stores in next three years

It seems likely that Jun is referring to the second-generation Mi Mix, though we cannot confirm this.

There are no other rumors or leaks available for the device yet, but we expect to begin hearing more as we approach the fall.

16
Feb

Intel’s Optane web page gives us more detail on the upcoming storage standard


Why it matters to you

If you haven’t upgraded to an SSD, or are looking for a best-of-both-world’s new system, Intel’s Optane Memory could be a perfect middle-ground solution when it’s released.

Intel launched an official landing page for its Optane storage system, giving us a hard look at some of the supporting platforms and its real benefits. Although a commercial launch date is still up in the air, this would suggest that we are edging closer to a release.

Intel Optane memory is something that has been talked about for a couple of years at this point, but apart from talks of samples and leaked specifications, not much hard information has been released. Along with all of the marketing lingo that surrounds the technology, thanks to Intel’s site we now know exactly what platforms it will support and what sizes we can expect this mini-caching drives to come in.

Designed to have a small form-factor and be affordable, the Intel Optane Memory will come in 16GB and 32GB sizes. Because of that small footprint, the Optane memory sticks will likely act as a form of high-speed caching drive. Although not as fast as high-end M.2 NVMe solid-state drives, they will be far faster than traditional NAND SSDs. When combined with a traditional hard drive or slower SSD, it could offer a nice performance boost.

More: Intel serves up affordable new SSDs with stacked 3D NAND storage

As PCPer has it, performance increases with larger capacities, so if the price difference doesn’t end up being too much between the two, the 32GB version would be the way to go.

Chances are this means we will see initial releases show up in OEM systems, twinned with low-end SSDs or larger capacity hard drives to offer NVMe-like performance for those unwilling or unable to splash out for the more expensive drives.

Intel tells us on its new site that we can expect these Optane drives to improve system wake-up times and responsiveness while being affordable enough that it won’t be restricted to high-end systems.

However, this will not be something people will find it easy to add to older PCs or laptops, as Intel’s Optane technology is only supported by its seventh-generation Intel processors. While i3 through i7 are all supported, you should expect Optane technology to only be supported on Intel’s 200 series chipsets.

16
Feb

Newly discovered Android for Work flaw could let attackers steal data


Why it matters to you

Flaws in Android for Work’s core security protocol could make devices vulnerable to attack.

One of the pillars of Google’s enterprise-focused “work features in Android platform,” previously called Android for Work, is security. But a newly discovered exploit demonstrated at the RSA conference in San Francisco on February 16 showed how an attacker could view, steal, and even manipulate content on a corporate Android smartphone without tipping off IT administrators.

The flaw, discovered by Yair Amit, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm Skycure, has to do with the way Android for Work handles “sandboxes,” or protects user profiles. The service operates on the idea of a “work” profile with business-level controls, enterprise applications, corporate email, and secure documents on a smartphone or tablet. This secure profile effectively acts as a separate user, though it shares icon badges and notifications with the personal profile.

More: Top 5 Android security apps: Do they protect you?

This concept of sandboxing — creating a secure container where apps outside the work profile can’t access data inside it — is key to Android for Work’s conceit. But it isn’t bulletproof.

One potential line of attack involves Android’s notifications framework. Incoming Android for Work messages are designated with a red briefcase icon in Android’s notifications window, giving the impression that they remain segregated from those in the personal profile.

But notifications on Android are a device-level permission, meaning apps in the personal profile can potentially manipulate the content of notifications from the work profile. Malicious software could view sensitive incoming work emails, calendar appointments, file attachments, and other messages, for example, and could transmit that information to a remote server.

The second line of attack exploits a flaw in Android’s Accessibility Service, the Android component that provides usability enhancements for impaired users. It necessarily has access to virtually all of Android’s content and controls, making apps that acquire permission to use it particularly dangerous — and difficult to detect. For instance, an app could use Android’s Draw Over Apps feature, which allows apps to lay text and graphics on top of other apps, to trick a user into activity Accessibility Service or Notifications without their knowledge.

More: Security experts find 43 Android phone brands affected by Chinese spyware

That’s not to suggest the attacks can’t be mitigated. Android 6.0 Marshmallow requires users to manually allow apps to create system overlays by changing permissions in the settings menu. And the Notifications attack requires a user to grant extraordinary permissions to an installed app. Still, Amit notes the relative ease of circumventing Android for Work’s sandboxing method by exploiting the “illusion” of security.

“The interesting thing about both of these […] methods of defeating the Android for Work profile separation is that the device and the Android operating system remain operating exactly as designed and intended,” Amit said.

“It is the user who must be tricked into placing the software on the device and activating the appropriate services that allow the malware access to sensitive information. [The] illusion of a secure container […] tends to allow people to let their guard down in the belief that the environment itself is a sufficient security mechanism to protect data.”

16
Feb

The HP Pavilion 21.5-inch LED monitor is a budget-friendly full HD display ($100)


If you regularly use a desktop computer for extended periods then you know that a quality monitor makes a world of difference. A poor display can create a fuzzy washed-out picture and make viewing difficult when not facing the screen at just the right angle, causing frustration along with eye strain. Thankfully, a good monitor doesn’t have to cost a fortune: the HP Pavilion 21.5-inch LED monitor is currently available for $100 on Amazon and is a budget-friendly option for anyone setting up or upgrading a desktop PC.

The HP Pavilion 22cwa is an LED monitor with a glare-free IPS screen. IPS technology delivers crisp, colorful output at a wide range of viewing angles so you’re not constantly having to adjust the screen to get the best picture. The 1,920 x 1,080 resolution gives you full HD with a dynamic contrast ratio of 8,000,000:1 for vibrant dark and light colors that won’t wash out. A quick response time of 7ms reduces input lag, making the monitor a suitable choice for a gaming rig.

More: Now on sale for $300, the Intel NUC Core i5 is a mini PC with plenty of power

HP Pavilion 21.5-inch LED monitorFor video output, the HP Pavilion’s 21.5-inch LED monitor utilizes a standard VGA port as well as HDMI for a high-definition signal. The black housing features a slim modern look with thin bezels and comes in at just under 20 inches wide. The Wedge stand offers a stable platform to reduce wobble while giving easy access to the ports on the back of the unit, and the screen itself can be tilted upward to a 25-degree angle.

The HP Pavilion 21.5-inch LED monitor is a popular and well-reviewed budget display for both work and play, and its low cost and thin bezels also make it a great option for ultra-wide multi-monitor setups. Now $100 on Amazon, the HP Pavilion 22cwa is a bestseller and has a solid 4.5-star user rating with over 1,700 customer reviews.

$100 on Amazon

16
Feb

Apple heads back to a familiar venue for WWDC 2017, sets date for event


Why it matters to you

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference has traditionally been the company’s platform to announce big changes and updates to the likes of iOS and MacOS.

Apple has announced the dates and venue for the 28th annual edition of its Worldwide Developers Conference. The event is set to take place from June 5 to June 9, and will welcome developers working on projects related to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac platforms.

This year’s edition of WWDC will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. This marks the first time that the conference will occupy the venue since 2002, having been held at the Moscone West exhibition hall and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in recent years.

The McEnery Convention Center will play host to the conference’s keynote address, as well as mixers, sessions, and labs for developers. However, Apple is apparently working with the city of San Jose and local businesses to organize a series of “very special experiences” that will play out across the local area throughout the week.

More: Apple may oppose a law that would let iPhone buyers repair their own phones

Given the conference’s focus on developers, expect to see software rather than hardware take center stage at WWDC 2017. Last year, the company announced iOS 10, WatchOS 3, and the change from OS X to MacOS at the event, so it will be interesting to see what’s on the agenda this time around.

Apple notes that WWDC 2017 is being held just moments away from its new headquarters in Cupertino, California. It’s known that the company expects to complete work on the “spaceship” campus this year, although it remains to be seen whether construction will be finished by early June.

Developers will be given the opportunity to apply for tickets to WWDC 2017 sometime during the spring. Anyone not able to attend in person will be able to stream footage from the conference via Apple’s developer website, or the dedicated WWDC app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

16
Feb

Apple heads back to a familiar venue for WWDC 2017, sets date for event


Why it matters to you

Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference has traditionally been the company’s platform to announce big changes and updates to the likes of iOS and MacOS.

Apple has announced the dates and venue for the 28th annual edition of its Worldwide Developers Conference. The event is set to take place from June 5 to June 9, and will welcome developers working on projects related to the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac platforms.

This year’s edition of WWDC will be held at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California. This marks the first time that the conference will occupy the venue since 2002, having been held at the Moscone West exhibition hall and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in recent years.

The McEnery Convention Center will play host to the conference’s keynote address, as well as mixers, sessions, and labs for developers. However, Apple is apparently working with the city of San Jose and local businesses to organize a series of “very special experiences” that will play out across the local area throughout the week.

More: Apple may oppose a law that would let iPhone buyers repair their own phones

Given the conference’s focus on developers, expect to see software rather than hardware take center stage at WWDC 2017. Last year, the company announced iOS 10, WatchOS 3, and the change from OS X to MacOS at the event, so it will be interesting to see what’s on the agenda this time around.

Apple notes that WWDC 2017 is being held just moments away from its new headquarters in Cupertino, California. It’s known that the company expects to complete work on the “spaceship” campus this year, although it remains to be seen whether construction will be finished by early June.

Developers will be given the opportunity to apply for tickets to WWDC 2017 sometime during the spring. Anyone not able to attend in person will be able to stream footage from the conference via Apple’s developer website, or the dedicated WWDC app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

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