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: 99.62

1.72
Stock Chart

The South China Morning Post reports that iPhone maker Foxconn has replaced more than half of its workforce with robots since the launch of the iPhone 6. The figures were provided by the local government in Kunshan, where the company is based.

“The Foxconn factory has reduced its employee strength from 110,000 to 50,000, thanks to the introduction of robots. It has tasted success in reduction of labour costs,” said the department’s head Xu Yulian … 

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After an initial Amex-only launch last month, Apple Pay is seeing a full roll-out today in Singapore, with Visa, MasterCard and five major banks on board. This makes Singapore the sixth country to get Apple Pay, after the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and China.

Apple Pay vice-president Jennifer Bailey told The Straits Times: “Now, almost everyone can leave their wallets at home. Apple Pay will be a natural extension of what users have been doing at payment counters” […]

Citibank, HSBC, ANZ and Maybank still do not work with Apple Pay [but] Ms Bailey said Apple is working to bring more banks on board.

Singapore was a good target for Apple, as contactless payment is already extremely well-established in the country …

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Ten months after Microsoft wrote-off its Nokia acquisition, the company has now announced that it is effectively out of the consumer phone business. It is cutting 1,850 jobs, and setting aside almost a billion dollars to cover the costs of exiting the business.

Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline the company’s smartphone hardware business, which will impact up to 1,850 jobs. As a result, the company will record an impairment and restructuring charge of approximately $950 million […]

“We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

The company recently saw its market share fall below 1%. While Microsoft is – for now – insistent that it has a future in the corporate smartphone business, the reality seems doubtful …

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9to5toys 

May 24

AAPL: 97.90

1.47
Stock Chart
The 2016 MacBook Pro is likely to take design cues from the 12-inch MacBook
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Apple has kept us waiting a long time for a new MacBook Pro. It’s been more than a year since the last update, and that was a minor one. It added Force Touch to the trackpad, provided faster flash storage, an extra hour of battery-life and faster graphics. All fine as a refresh, but nothing to get too excited about.

The latest report suggests that we’re now going to have to wait until Q4 this year before a new model is released. Unsurprisingly, that report points to a next-generation MacBook Pro with a thinner and lighter design, with cues taken from the 12-inch MacBook. More power-efficient processors should allow a thinner casing without sacrificing battery-life.

But it also suggests a couple of new features: Touch ID, and a touch-sensitive replacement for the function keys on the top row of the keyboard. At first glance, Touch ID might sound welcome but no big deal, and the touchscreen a bit gimmicky, but – executed properly – I think they could make a huge difference to the usability of the machine …

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9to5google 

Apple famously sits on a huge stockpile of cash – $215B at the latest count – but a new report from corporate credit rating agency Moody’s puts the number into perspective. It shows that if you exclude banking & finance, a sector that sits on a lot of cash by definition, just three companies hold 23% of all the corporate cash in the USA: Apple, Microsoft and Google.

GeekWire notes that this is the first time that all five of the top spots have been held by tech companies, with Apple holding twice as much as Microsoft and three times as much as Google …

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May 23

AAPL: 96.43

1.21
Stock Chart

Spotify is clearly feeling the competition from Apple Music, and is now matching the Cupertino company’s family deal of $14.99 per month for up to six family members. This literally halves the cost of Spotify’s previous family membership, as well as extending it from five to six people …

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electrek 

Apple and the Maine Department of Education are swapping out iPads for MacBooks after a survey found that students and teachers alike favored laptops for older students. The deal means that there will be no additional cost to schools for exchanging the devices, reports the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.

Auburn School Department Technology Director Peter Robinson said that the success of iPads in primary grades had make them look like the right choice at the time, but they have turned out to be less than ideal for older students …

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May 20

AAPL: 95.22

1.02
Stock Chart
9to5toys 

The fallout from the standoff between Apple and the FBI in the San Bernardino case continues. Following the introduction of one bipartisan bill in the House of Representives in February, seeking to protect encryption against any state-level legislation that might compromise it, a new bill has now been introduced in the Senate ,,,

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9to5google 

May 19

AAPL: 94.20

-0.36
Stock Chart

Apple’s falling sales coupled to strong growth from emerging Chinese brands saw the iPhone’s worldwide market share drop just over three points from 17.9% in the first quarter of 2015 to 14.8% in the same quarter this year, according to Gartner.

Although a saturated smartphone market is part of the challenge faced by Apple, global smartphone sales did continue to grow, by 3.9% to 349M units.

Market leader Samsung also saw its share fall in the same period …

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A wristband that zaps you with a 255-volt electric shock if you over-spend is the latest idea from Intelligent Environments, a company that first announced the Pavlock wearable 18 months ago as a way to dissuade owners from visiting time-wasting websites.

The band would be triggered, explains the BBC, if your bank balance drops too quickly.

If the funds in the account go below an agreed limit, the band kicks in. It can also work with smart meter Nest to turn down the heating and save energy bills if funds are low.

Unsurprisingly, no bank has yet signed up for the service. But while the idea may be silly, it seems to me that the underlying concept here is exactly where the Internet of Things should be headed …

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electrek 

A patent published today suggests that Apple may have plans to allow the Apple Pencil to be used with Mac trackpads as well as the two iPad Pro models.

The patent was originally filed in 2014, when Apple referred to the Apple Pencil as ‘the stylus.’ Much of the text focuses on use of the stylus with a ‘touch screen display’ (aka an iPad), but several of the drawings show what appear to be a trackpad and iMac …

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