Ben Lovejoy

@benlovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer who started his career on PC World and has written for dozens of computer and technology magazines, as well as numerous national newspapers, business and in-flight magazines. He has also written two novels.

He is old enough to have owned the original Mac, and still has his Mac Portable in a cupboard as he can’t quite bear to part with it, despite the fact that he has no idea where the power supply is. He is occasionally tempted to turn up to a Genius Bar with it.

He currently owns a rather upgraded MacBook Pro 17, a MacBook Air 11, iPad Air 2, iPhone 6 and Thunderbolt Display 27 – and suspects it might be cheaper to have a cocaine habit than his addiction to all things anodised aluminum.

He thinks wires are evil and had a custom desk made to hide them, known as the OC Desk for obvious reasons.

He considers 1000 miles a good distance for a cycle ride, and Chernobyl a suitable tourist destination. What can we say, he’s that kind of chap.

He speaks fluent English but only broken American, so please forgive any Anglicised spelling in his posts.

If @benlovejoy-ing him on twitter, please follow him first so that he can DM you if appropriate. If you have information you can pass on, you can also email him. If you would like to comment on one of his pieces, please do so in the comments – he does read them all.

Ben Lovejoy's Recommended Gear

Yesterday

AAPL: 121.30

-1.07%
Stock Chart

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A few days ago, I argued that iTunes was now so clunky it should be nuked from orbit, and suggested standalone apps as a possible way forward. A little over 70% of you agreed with me, including UX designer Andrew Ambrosino, who created some concept images showing how a standalone OS X Music app might look.

I like what I see. Check out the images below, and let us know your thoughts …  expand full story

After my first impressions, lengthy update, decision point and one month update, this week is when I have to officially lose the ‘skeptic’ prefix to my Apple Watch diary series and relabel myself as a fully-fledged convert.

The trigger for this realization was a fairly small one, but one which clearly demonstrated to me that – little by little – the Apple Watch is transforming itself into a gadget I eventually won’t want to be without …  expand full story

July 30

AAPL: 122.37

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Stock Chart

Tim Cook tweeted his thanks today to the “thousands of Hong Kong customers” who attended the opening of the company’s fourth Apple Store in Hong Kong.

Plans for the store were first announced in 2013, with construction photos first seen in February. Apple announced the opening date on its website a couple of weeks ago. The additional store is part of Apple’s ambitious expansion program in China, having so far opened six of the 25 new stores it plans to open within two years.

Photos of the new store can be seen below …  expand full story

I love music, so most of the time when I’m out and about I have headphones round my neck or in my bag. But there are times when I’m music’d out, and leave them at home – and I can then pretty much guarantee I’ll end up wishing I’d taken them with me.

Whether it’s to have a lengthy phone conversation while walking down the street, or watching the funny video a friend just posted on Facebook on the train (without subjecting everyone else to the audio), headphones aren’t just about music. For that reason, I’ve taken to chucking a few pairs of cheap-ish in-ear headphones in various bags and jacket pockets so that I always have some with me. In-ear ones can be squished into a small space so they take up almost no room.

The problem with that squishing, of course, is that whenever I do dig them out, I spend several minutes untangling them. This is the problem Zipbuds Slide sets out to solve …  expand full story

sa-market-share

Strategy Analytics has issued its latest estimates of global mobile phone shipments, and reports that Apple’s market share climbed from 8.2% in Q2 2014 to 10.9% in the same quarter this year. Apple revealed in its latest quarterly earnings that it saw iPhone sales climb 35% year-on-year to 47M units.

The research firm said that Apple’s dramatic growth in iPhone shipments contrasted strongly with an overall industry growth rate of just 2% …  expand full story

2015 Volkswagon eGolf electric car

Volkswagen has announced that almost every 2016 VW model “in virtually every trim” will get support for CarPlay, with the first models arriving in showrooms this week.

As the people’s car brand, we knew that it was important to democratize these technologies across the Volkswagen line-up, with features like App-Connect ensuring that more consumers can integrate their smart devices in a wide range of trims on virtually every model the company sells […] 

App-Connect provides seamless smartphone integration through three interfaces: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

“Democratization” only goes so far – the company will offer four different head units of varying sophistication, depending on price level …  expand full story

July 29

I asked back in May whether you thought the Apple Watch Activity app would lead to a leaner, fitter you. At that point, more than 80% of you said that it either would or already had.

A Wristly survey yesterday suggested that the reality perhaps hadn’t quite lived up to this promise, but still contained some pretty impressive numbers. More than 50% of Watch owners said that they were exercising more and were making better health choices, with around 40% reporting weight loss.

For those of us who were lucky enough to take delivery of our Apple Watches on day one, we’re now three months in. Plenty of time for the novelty to wear off – and to see whether the anticipated benefits really have shown up on the bathroom scale, in our waistlines or in the gym …  expand full story

July 28

I’ve complained before about the massive missed opportunity of Apple failing to properly integrate both owned and streamed music within iTunes. I got over that enough to use and enjoy Apple Music, and I’m confident I’ll be continuing my subscription once Apple starts charging my card, despite the raw deal we get on pricing in the UK.

But I also agreed with Variety that Apple needed to adopt the same approach for OS X as it does for iOS, splitting out the various iTunes functions into separate apps. Having now been using version 12.2 of iTunes for a month, I’m escalating this from a moderate whinge to a full-scale rant. The time has come for Apple to finally rid us of this creaking, bloated disaster of an app, and start afresh …  expand full story

Music site Hits Daily Double cites “inside sources at some of the major labels” as stating that Apple Music signed up more than 10M subscribers in the first four weeks, saying the number was shared with them by Apple.

The site says both Apple and the labels were surprised by the speed of adoption, noting that streaming figures for some tracks – which include “a couple of cutting-edge hip-hop titles” – are on a par with Spotify, which has around 75M subscribers …  expand full story

July 27

While Activation Lock has dramatically reduced iPhone thefts in some cities, with reductions as high as 50%, police data collated by the WSJ shows that the effect isn’t as great as expected in others. iPhone thefts fell by only 11% in Oakland, by 17% in Austin and actually increased by 32% in Seattle …  expand full story

Beijing police have raided and closed down a factory which employed hundreds of workers on six production lines to make more than 41,000 counterfeit iPhones – some of which made it to the United States, reports Reuters. The total value of the fake phones was estimated at 120M Yuan ($19M). While the raid took place in May, Chinese authorities only shared details yesterday.

Police arrested nine people, including a married couple who led the operation, after a raid in May on the factory, run under the guise of a gadget maintenance shop on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital.

The investigation was prompted by a tip-off from U.S. authorities after some of the fake phones made it to the USA …  expand full story

July 24

As Apple’s Shot on iPhone ad campaign illustrates, the iPhone is a capable camera in the right hands. Many people find that it’s the only camera they ever need.

But if you’ve ever wished it could do just a little more without carrying around too much extra bulk, the Manfrotto KLYP+ kit may be worth a look. It’s an iPhone case (available for a range of models) that comes with two screw-on lenses and a combination light and tripod mount. The whole kit comes in at $125 …  expand full story

There aren’t too many cool apps that launch first on Android, but Google Spotlight Stories is one. It plays sweet, animated stories using a mix of 2D and 3D imagery – the cool part being that you can ‘look around’ the scene simply by rotating your phone.

Immerse yourself in a world of storytelling made just for mobile. Engineers and critically-acclaimed filmmakers are bringing stories to life using the latest advances in mobile technology. Using 3D and 2D animation, 360° spherical cinema-quality video, sound sphere audio and sensor fusion techniques, the screen is now a window into a story that unfolds all around you. Look anywhere, follow individual characters, watch it over again and again. It’s a little different each time. Google Spotlight Stories is your mobile movie theatre.

There’s some heavy-duty talent behind the creation of the stories, the debut story Windy Days being created by former Pixar animators, and Help by Justin Lin, director of The Fast and the Furious … 

expand full story

July 23

I’m an on-ear/over-ear headphone guy. To me, the size and weight has always been a price worth paying for the far higher quality and sound isolation they deliver when compared to consumer-grade in-ear headphones.

I’ve tried numerous in-ear headphones, and none have ever felt remotely comparable to me – until now. Trinity is a brand new British company founded by former lead designer at Rockjaw, specifically to create high-quality in-ear monitors (IEMs) at an affordable price. The Delta is the high-end model, at $135/£90, and it takes rather an unusual approach …  expand full story

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