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: 107.72

-5.04
Stock Chart

Luke Wood, left, pictured with Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre (photo: Kevin Mazur/Wire)

Beats President Luke Wood, who runs the audio products side of the business, told Mashable that the acquisition was a great fit because the company shared DNA with Apple.

We’re looking at our little audio slice of the world and trying to focus on creating a stellar product experience. I think that’s also the fundamental DNA of everything Steve wanted to accomplish at Apple. By product experience, that includes ID, design, technology, innovation, simplicity. Those are always things that have been fundamental to our DNA, too.

He said that the early days of low-quality digital music resulted in a ‘lost generation’ for premium audio, but that we now live in a very different world …  expand full story

Apple could be considering not just a return to glass-backed iPhones, but even replacing the aluminum backs of iMacs and monitors with glass at some stage, reveals a newly-granted patent published today. One of the illustrations appears to show an iMac-style device, while others show something looking like an iPhone (below) …  expand full story

August 31

AAPL: 112.76

-0.53
Stock Chart

One of the downsides of being early adopters of new technology is that we tend to buy the best system available at the time, only for a better one to come along later. I’m sure we’ve all been there.

That was the case for me with wireless audio. I wanted, many years ago, to be able to stream music to two other rooms in the house. I invested in a couple of Logitech Streambox Booms, which did the job. My Mac acted as a music server, and I could stream both my music library and Internet radio to the Logitech boxes.

But it was a clunky setup, a scrollwheel used to select artist, album and track in much the same way as the original scrollwheel iPod – though viewing only one line at a time. AirPlay, when it came along in 2010, was a markedly better solution, but also came with a far higher price-tag.

However, the upside of Apple neglecting AirPlay is that there are a lot of heavily-discounted discontinued products around. It was only when writing that opinion piece that I noticed just how low prices on these had fallen. That means that you can now put together a multi-room AirPlay setup for way less than it would have cost when the system was launched …  expand full story

While some were waiting eagerly for the Apple Watch, and others got assimilated, there are still those who prefer traditional watches. That’s the market Sony hopes to appeal to with a new hybrid watch called Wena (which apparently stands for ‘wear electronics naturally’), which it’s pitching on its Japanese crowdfunding site First Flight.

It’s mostly a traditional analogue watch, but a link to an iOS app gives it limited smartwatch functionality. On the smartwatch side, you get fitness band functionality, and notifications are echoed to the watch in the form of an LED and vibration …  expand full story

August 28

AAPL: 113.29

0.37
Stock Chart

code

One of the backend improvements in iOS 9 is a strengthening of app security when accessing data from webservers. The new App Transport Security (ATS) feature ensures that only connections encrypted using HTTPS are permitted. There’s just one problem with that: not all advertisers use HTTPS, so ATS will stop some ads appearing in apps.

Google has responded by providing developers with five lines of code that allow them to disable ATS …  expand full story

August 27

AAPL: 112.92

3.23
Stock Chart

A lot of Apple Watch owners who splashed out on a nice charging stand must have been swearing at Apple when watchOS 2 was announced. Most existing charging stands out there position the watch vertically, which was the obvious thing to do at the time – but then along came watchOS 2, with Nightstand mode one of its headline features.

Nightstand mode allows the watch to serve as a bedside clock while charging – but only when on its side, with the buttons on top. Bad news for anyone who already laid out the cash for a vertical stand, and worse news for manufacturers whose stock was effectively rendered obsolete overnight.

For those who haven’t yet bought a stand, the good news is that manufacturers have been quick to respond. Zac Hall reviewed Spigen’s low-cost Apple Watch Night Stand, and now FŪZ Designs has launched a similarly-priced alternative in the form of the FŪZ Dock for Apple Watch …  expand full story

August 26

AAPL: 109.69

5.95
Stock Chart

I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved B&O Ouverture hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) – which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck – needed only a low-cost WiFi audio receiver to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.

With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes – whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music – plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.

I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi. No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.

But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems …  expand full story

August 25

AAPL: 103.74

0.62
Stock Chart

The email Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to CNBC analyst Jim Cramer, and which was read on the air, may have violated Securities and Exchange Commission regulations, according to lawyers speaking to MarketWatch. The regulations are designed to ensure that information that may impact a company’s share price is made available to the public in a fair and open way, rather than privately disclosed to particular individuals or entities.

Cook’s email revealed that the growth in iPhone activations “has actually accelerated over the past few weeks, and we have had the best performance of the year for the App Store in China during the last 2 weeks” – information that Apple had not previously disclosed …  expand full story

A week after Parallels was updated to support Windows 10, VMware has followed suit with an update to its Fusion software – but with a bug when used in Unity mode. Unity mode is where Windows apps are run alongside Mac ones.

Fusion was today updated to version 8, with performance improvements as well as Windows 10 compatibility, but the company has confirmed a bug identified by ArsTechnica in which the Windows Start screen is sometimes unavailable (above left) and at other times has the search bar covered by the Mac’s dock (above right). When unavailable, the Toggle Start Screen option is greyed-out …  expand full story

While the iPhone app is a great way to control your Philips Hue lighting, there are times when a good old-fashioned button is more convenient – especially for the less techy members of your household. Philips already offers the Hue Tap, but that’s a little clunky and designed for wall-mounting only. Its new Philips Hue Wireless Dimming Kit is much sleeker, and is designed so that you can wall-mount it or use it as a handheld remote.

The dimmer can control up to 10 Hue bulbs at once, with Philips promising that the dimming will be smooth, flicker-free and buzz-free. The company also says the firmware can be upgraded for HomeKit compatibility when Philips adds its hub device in the fall …  expand full story

August 20

AAPL: 112.65

-2.36
Stock Chart

If you want a Wi-Fi-based multi-room audio system, you so far haven’t had many alternatives to the market leader, Sonos. Other manufacturers offer their own solutions, but generally only in a handful of products. That looks set to change as Yamaha today announced that its MusicCast system will be supported by more than 20 products, with pricing starting from $250. That includes all but one of its 2015 receivers, reports CNET.

Unlike Sonos, MusicCast supports five different lossless audio formats, including Apple Lossless, FLAC and WAV. It’s controlled by an iOS app, which can stream both your own music library and services like Spotify, Pandora and Rhapsody. Support for Apple Music seems likely further down the road …  expand full story

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