Ben Lovejoy


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

November 20

AAPL: 119.30

Stock Chart

Developers of pro apps have long complained that Apple’s App Store policies are a barrier to them creating iOS versions of popular Mac apps. The launch of the iPad Pro has brought the issue front and center, with a number of developers sharing their thoughts with The Verge.

There are two key issues, they say. First, pro apps are expensive, and users want to satisfy themselves that they are worth the money before they pay. Free trials are the usual way to achieve this with desktop apps, but the App Store doesn’t allow them to offer the same option for iOS apps …  expand full story

Apple has officially acknowledged an issue reported by multiple iPad Pro owners on Reddit and Apple’s own support forum, in which some units become unresponsive after charging. We’ve even happened upon a few dead iPad Pros at the Apple Store for which an Apple employee shyly asked us to avert our eyes while he did a hard restart.

Some users report that the device won’t wake after charging, while others who left it switched on say that the Pro fails to respond to either the touchscreen or the home button. The problem can be resolved by a force restart, and this is the action Apple recommends while it investigates …  expand full story


November 19

AAPL: 118.78

Stock Chart

Tim Cook has consistently spoken out against the possibility of converging iOS and OS X devices, most famously saying that “you can converge a toaster and refrigerator, but these things are probably not going to be pleasing to the user.”

He repeated this line earlier this week, stating that Apple wants to make “the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world – and putting those two together would not achieve either.”

However, some of your comments suggest that not all of you agree, so we’ve adopted the suggestion of one commentator and posed the question …  expand full story

No new Apple tech survives long without being taken apart by iFixit, and the Apple Pencil is no exception. Apple didn’t make it easy, however, with iFixit having to resort to a small circular saw to open up the device and needing to break a flex cable along the way.

Inside, it found that the plastic outer casing reveals a metal inner one. The tip contains two separate emitters, used to determine both the angle and orientation of the Pencil in order to adjust the width of the pen stroke. With such little space to play with, Apple had to get creative with the logic board …  expand full story

The variously-reliable Digitimes reports supply-chain sources as saying that Apple is likely to ship more than 10M Apple Watches by the end of the year, noting that the company is currently seeking a second supplier.

Apple has placed orders for four million Apple Watches for the fourth quarter, targeting mainly demand from the year-end holidays. Sales of Apple Watch are expected to surpass 10 million units in 2015 […]

Apple is to seek another manufacturer aside from Quanta Computer, according to a Chinese-language Apple Daily report … 

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Jony Ive’s year-ago prediction that the Swiss watch industry would be in trouble once the Apple Watch launched appears to have been correct (his actual language was said to have been stronger). Bloomberg reports that Swiss watch exports suffered their biggest slump in six years.

Shipments declined 12 percent to 2 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion), the Swiss customs office said in a statement Thursday. Adjusted for fewer working days, the drop was 7.6 percent. Exports to the U.S. dropped 12 percent.

“2015 has been one to forget for the watchmakers,” said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich.

The figures show that both higher- and lower-end brands are being hit hard, especially in the world’s biggest market for Swiss watches, Hong Kong …  expand full story

If you use Uber for both business and work pleasure, it can be a pain handling the accounting, having to remember to claim the business rides back on expenses. But the service now allows you to register a second credit card for business use, and then simply tap your Personal or Business profile in the app to charge the appropriate card. expand full story


November 18

AAPL: 117.29

Stock Chart

Having started out with my first impressions a week ago, highlighted my core questions and decided on Monday that the iPad Pro couldn’t replace my iPad Air 2 (only be an additional device), it’s time to make my decision.

I think between us at 9to5Mac we’ve been putting the tablet through its paces in a pretty comprehensive fashion! We don’t always reach the same conclusions about devices, but in this case I found myself agreeing with the bottom-line of each of my colleagues who’ve been trying it.

Dom described it as a giant Netflix machine, and it certainly is. With that huge screen and extremely loud speakers, movies and TV shows are very compelling, and – unlike a MacBook with the same size screen – you don’t feel like you’re looking at a work device.

Zac saw it as the best entertainment iPad, and I agree with that – with the single proviso that it’s just too big for comfortable ebook reading in bed. But reading ebooks on your lap is a delightful experience. Magazines are just wow. Casual web-browsing – sat on the sofa, just passively consuming content rather than planning to act on it – is a joy. In portrait mode, you can see a decent chunk of a page at a time, everything is big enough to read comfortably and it just feels like a much more relaxing experience than using a MacBook or a smaller iPad where you have to do more scrolling.

Jeremy found that it sat awkwardly between two devices – not feeling like a better alternative than either his iPad Air 2 or his MacBook Pro when it comes to either work or play. I agree 100% on the work side of the equation. I’m more sold on the play side of things, but given that I like to read in bed every night, ultimately I’d have to agree that my iPad Air 2 is a complete solution where the iPad Pro isn’t.

But it’s not just my colleagues’ views I’ve been reading, it’s yours too – in the comments on my earlier diary pieces. So let me address a couple of those before delivering my own final verdict …

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A Goldman Sachs investment note argues that Apple has huge potential for generating more recurring revenue, suggesting an opportunity to generate an additional $7.6B a month, reports Business Insider. The company points to the rumored Apple TV subscription service as one future source of monthly revenue.

In a recurring revenue framework, we have constructed an average revenue per user (ARPU) metric that captures the installment plan pricing of the iPhone ($32/month), assumed installment plans for the other hardware products, and services (e.g. Music at $10/mo, TV at $40/mo) … 

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Planning documents obtained by the Chicago Tribune reveal Apple’s spectacular plans for a new flagship store on the north bank of the Chicago River. Fittingly for the city which was home to Frank Lloyd Wright, the design echoes the Midwestern Prairie Style buildings created by the famous architect.

Apple confirmed the plans to the Tribune, which reports that they have already been granted approval, with a formal presentation set to ‘rubber-stamp’ the decision on Thursday …  expand full story


November 17

AAPL: 113.69

Stock Chart

Nobody who watched the news coverage of the terrorist attacks in Paris could fail to be moved by the scenes and the stories emerging from it. It was undeniably a horrific series of events, and it’s only human nature to want action to be taken to reduce the likelihood of future such atrocities.

But there is always a danger at such times that emotion, rather than rational thought, will drive government policy-making. I won’t get into the broader theme there, as there are more appropriate forums for that, but there is one aspect that is very much on-topic for us: the battle between Apple and governments over encryption.

There have already been unattributed reports that the terrorists in Paris used encrypted communication. I have no idea whether there is any specific evidence for that, but it would hardly be damning were such evidence to emerge: it would be frankly astonishing if they hadn’t.

There are three reasons why Apple is right to maintain that it will continue to offer end-to-end encrypted communication no matter how much governments in the USA, UK and elsewhere may protest …  expand full story

T-Mobile is extending its popular Music Freedom service, which allows unlimited use of Apple Music and other streaming music services without eating into your data allowance, to MetroPCS prepaid customers – albeit under a slightly different name. T-Mobile said that its Music Unlimited service would be available on a range of plans, starting from just $40/month.

Music Unlimited includes more than 30 music streaming services, including Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Slacker, iHeart Radio, and Google Play Music. Music Unlimited is available to new and existing MetroPCS customers on Metro’s new $40, $50, and $60 unlimited plans.

The company is also offering a Binge On equivalent, known as Data Maximizer. This compresses streaming video streams down to DVD quality to allow customers to stream three times as much video content for the same data usage …  expand full story


November 16

AAPL: 114.18

Stock Chart

Things have moved on rather a lot since I gave my first impressions and highlighted my core questions in choosing between my existing iPad Air 2 and the iPad Pro. Further usage of it has made it abundantly clear that the iPad Pro cannot replace a standard iPad. It’s ridiculously over-sized for reading or watching Netflix in bed, and there are other times when the smaller version was simply more convenient.

But I do still love that screen! It’s great for casual web-browsing – better than either my MacBooks or iPad Air 2. It’s fantastic for viewing photos. It’s great for ebooks so long as you’re not trying to read them in bed. Magazines are amazing. Netflix is great with the huge screen and really loud speakers. Split View makes it a genuine multi-tasking device.

So, the question now is: send the iPad Pro back, or keep both devices? I said last time that I really couldn’t see a justification for having that much cash invested in iOS devices. One commentator responded to this with “Ah, just do it” – which I have to confess is a well-argued position.

I’d certainly find that easier to justify if it could earn its keep as a mobile writing device, so that was my next experiment …  expand full story


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