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

July 23

An SEC filing by Apple shows that the company plans to increase this year’s spend on product development by $1.5B, reaching a total of $5.9B by the end of September, reports Business Insider. At the same time, Apple is cutting its forecast capital expenditure by $1B, which the company told the WSJ was due to efficiency savings.

A company spokeswoman said Apple lowered the forecast because it was able to spend more efficiently for tooling equipment and facilities. “There are no changes in our product plans,” she said.

Apple explores a great many potential new product ideas, and the increased spend on product development could conceivably indicate that the company is choosing to invest more heavily in one of these, BI speculating that it may be the long-rumored Apple car …  expand full story

July 22

If you were wondering why manufacturers seemed to be rather slow in launching HomeKit-compatible devices, it may all be down to Apple’s stringent security requirements. Forbes reports that manufacturers are finding it hard to incorporate the extremely secure encryption standards demanded by Apple in order to achieve MFi certification for their products.

Apple is requiring device makers using both WiFi and Bluetooth LE to use complicated encryption with 3072-bit keys, as well as the super secure Curve25519, which is an elliptic curve used for digital signatures and exchanging encrypted keys.

While mains-powered WiFi kit is coping, the processing workload in battery-powered Bluetooth LE devices is leading to extremely slow response times, say manufacturers …  expand full story

Microsoft has today launched Send, an experimental iPhone app that offers a kind of cross between email and instant messaging. Microsoft says that it is designed for “brief, snappy communications” where you want an instant response but also want to retain a record of what was said within Outlook. The app was previously leaked as Flow by Outlook.

While tools like text messaging and IM are great for short messages, you often don’t have your co-worker’s cell phone number or an IM app on your work phone. And we’ve heard loud and clear from people at work, they want all their communications available in Outlook—even if they send them from other apps. This is where Send comes in! Send gives you the simple, quick text message-like experience while allowing you to reach all co-workers and have all of your communications in Outlook for reference later.

Tellingly, Microsoft is launching first for iPhone – ahead of not just Android, but also its own Windows Phone platform …  expand full story

One of the most remarkable numbers revealed yesterday by Apple was that revenue in Greater China – the term used to describe mainland China plus Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan – more than doubled in the past year. Year-on-year revenue in the region more than doubled, compared to Apple’s already impressive worldwide growth of 33% …  expand full story

July 21

With Apple due to report its fiscal Q3 (calendar Q2) earnings later todayFortune notes that the company has beaten Wall Street expectations for eight straight quarters – and strong iPhone sales mean that today’s earnings report is likely to make it nine.

iPhone sales typically drop in June as consumers hear more rumors about the next model and many decide to wait. But with Q3 sales estimated at close to 50M phones, representing a massive 40% year-on-year increase, that would put Apple’s revenue well in excess of the company’s own guidance of $47B and above the Wall Street consensus estimate of $49.5B …  expand full story

In the latest news in the patent case that feels like it will never end, a number of tech giants have taken Samsung’s side in its appeal against the damages it was ordered to pay for infringing Apple’s patents.

It’s almost three years since Apple was awarded $1B in damages after a jury found that Samsung infringed five of its patents. $450M of that award was later vacated and a retrial ordered to determine a revised sum, with Apple awarded a lower sum of $290M – for a revised total of $930M. The US appeals court later ruled that while Samsung did indeed copy iOS features, it should not have been penalised for copying the general look of the iPhone. The court now needs to once again revise the amount awarded.

The amount awarded in part reflected the profits Samsung was deemed to have made by infringing the patents, and it is this aspect that Google, Facebook, Dell, HP, eBay and other tech companies say is unreasonable …  expand full story

July 13

A few days after Buzzfeed revealed that Purdue Pharma was investigating the use of Apple’s ResearchKit platform to assist in developing new drugs, the piece has been updated to reveal that GlaxoSmithKline has similar plans.

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest drug developers, told BuzzFeed News it is “currently working on integrating (ResearchKit) into clinical trials and planning to start in coming months.”

While some had assumed that ResearchKit would be used to assist only with not-for-profit research, Apple said that the company is willing to make the platform available to “anybody that is going to make an impact on people’s health” …  expand full story

Android may have the market share, but it’s an entirely different story when it comes to profit share: the latest estimates from Canaccord Genuity indicate that Apple takes 92% of the profits for the entire smartphone industry despite accounting for only 20% of sales.

Or, as the WSJ puts it:

Roughly 1,000 companies make smartphones. Just one reaps nearly all the profits.

Samsung took a further 15% of the profits – and if you were wondering how that rather odd math works, it’s because most of the other players make a loss, so the two companies make more profit between them than the smartphone industry as whole …  expand full story

July 10

A possible class action suit is in preparation over multiple reports of what appears to be anti-reflective coatings flaking off the screens of Retina MacBook Pros, resulting in a stained appearance. Most of the machines affected seem to be 2013 models.

A group calling itself Staingate says that it has a database of more than 2500 people affected by the issue. More than 1800 of them have joined a Facebook group, a petition has been created, and lawyers Whitfield Bryson & Mason are collecting details of owners for “potential legal action against Apple related to staingate” …  expand full story

Just yesterday I was speculating about the future of the iPod, and it appears we may not have long to wait until we learn a little more about it. French site iGen, which has a good track-record, says that the iPod line-up will see a refresh on or around 14th July.

It appears to have little hard information beyond internal model numbers, but based on those speculates that the Shuffle and Nano will see only the color changes spotted in iTunes 12.2, while the Touch may receive a more substantive update …  expand full story

July 9

The tech sector does love its hype. Every new product is revolutionary. All new apps are ground-breaking. Everything anyone ever launched is going to change the way we do X. Almost without exception, it isn’t, they aren’t and it doesn’t.

But the iPod in 2001 definitely qualified. That simple, clever marketing slogan – “a thousand songs in your pocket” – beautifully summarised something that really was revolutionary. For the first time ever, we could carry close to a hundred albums in a device that slipped into our pocket and could go everywhere with us. Most of us listened to a lot more music in a lot more places.

It also propelled Apple along a new path. It’s no exaggeration to say that without the iPod, there would likely never have been an iPhone. The iPod revolutionized music and also transformed Apple.

But there have been a couple of recent signs that Apple no longer views the iPod as an important product …  expand full story

One of the things we all love to hate about Facebook is the way that it thinks it knows better than we do which posts we want to see. Facebook uses unspecified algorithms to assign rankings to posts, boosting the visibility of those it thinks we want to see, and demoting those it thinks will interest us less.

A new iOS Facebook app rolling out later today will for the first time allow us to choose for ourselves whose posts get bumped to the top of our feeds. Three additional features also allow us to control what we do and don’t see further down those feeds …  expand full story

July 8

Windows Phone has not been the greatest success story in the world, and Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia to produce its own handsets looks to have been an even bigger flop. The company today announced that it is writing off $7.6B against the Nokia business – more than it paid for the company in the first place.

Microsoft has also revealed that it will be laying-off 7,800 staff – more than 6% of its workforce – over the next few months, mostly from the Phones business …  expand full story

A federal judge has overturned the $529.9M damages awarded against Apple for infringing on three SmartFlash patents in its iTunes software, reports Reuters. The judge said that while February’s verdict stood, the jury instructions may have “skewed” the jurors’ understanding of the appropriate level of damages.

SmartFlash, a patent troll which had originally sought $852M in damages for patents relating to methods of storing data and managing payment systems, subsequently went back to court to make the same claims against the iPhone 6/Plus and iPad Air 2 – products released after the award …  expand full story

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