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

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

Following Apple’s decision to make the Apple Watch available for sale in Best Buy in the U.S. and Canada, it has been making a similar move in other countries. It is already available through select branches of the Australian department store chain MYER, and iPhone Addict reports that it will go on sale through French electronics retailer FNAC as of tomorrow. More chains are likely to follow in other countries.

MYER has an extensive presence across Australia, though currently sells the Apple Watch at only four of the largest ones, in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth. FNAC has more than 100 stores throughout France, sales beginning tomorrow with the website and the company’s flagship store on Paris’s famous Champs Elysées, with other stores following at some point next week. The store already sells a range of accessories …  expand full story

gartner

New data from Gartner suggests that iPhone sales grew 36% year-on-year, while Samsung’s sales fell 5.3% in the same period. Apple’s market share climbed from 12.2% in Q2 2014 to 14.6% in the same quarter this year. Other winners were Chinese brands Huawei and Xiaomi.

Gartner said that while overall smartphone growth was sluggish, Apple continued to dominate the premium end of the market, with other vendors struggling to compete.

Apple’s double-digit growth in the high-end segment continued to negatively impact its rivals’ premium phone sales and profit margins. Many vendors had to realign their portfolios to remain competitive in the midrange and low-end smartphone segments. This realignment resulted in price wars and discounting to clear up inventory for new devices planned for the second half of 2015 … 

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ipadpro_bonus_1

Supply chain sources cited by Digitimes back a KGI report that the iPad Pro is expected to begin production in September, ramping up into mass production from October. While Digitimes has a spotty track record, this report is more specific than many, providing details of display suppliers for the new device.

The device will enter production by the end of the third quarter and go into mass production in the fourth. Sharp will provide Open Cell LCD displays while [Foxconn subsidiary] GIS will provide GF touch panels.

Samsung Display and TPK will be secondary suppliers, with TPK responsible for touch modules and Samsung for displays as well as LCD assembly … 

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August 19

AAPL: 115.01

-1.49
Stock Chart

Most large companies have employee directories on their intranet, and most of them have two things in common: the database entries are typically out of date, and the subpar search functionality  justsucks. Professional social network LinkedIn hopes its new Lookup app, launching today, will solve this problem – allowing you to search for people in your own company even if you’re not connected to them on LinkedIn.

Its primary selling-point is that it lets you search by skill or area of expertise, to help make contact with co-workers who might be able to help out with a project …  expand full story

August 18

AAPL: 116.50

-0.66
Stock Chart

It’s been many years since Steve Jobs famously told biographer Walter Isaacson that he’d “cracked TV” – an integrated television set with “the simplest user interface you could possibly imagine.” That idea seemingly went nowhere, with plans for a full TV set reportedly abandoned back in 2014.

So far, then, Apple’s offering in the TV space has been a rather modest one: the venerable ‘black puck’ that is the Apple TV box. The company keeps updating it, of course. Movie rentals were a big deal for some, Photostream for others. But for most, the last really dramatic change was the addition of AirPlay. Since then, improvements have been evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

All that looked set to change next month, with Apple initially expected to launch the next best thing to a full television set: significantly upgraded hardware coupled to a new streaming TV service. The complete package would undoubtedly have proven a winner. But with the streaming service now delayed until sometime next year, will a revamped box alone be enough to significantly boost sales, or will most be holding out until the Internet TV service is launched … ?  expand full story

pay

A new survey of Apple Watch owners by Wristly found that 80% of those in the US and UK have already used Apple Pay, and suggests that this number could eventually hit 95%. The survey was limited to the two countries where Apple Pay is currently available.

The firm found that only 19% of Watch owners hadn’t yet tried Apple Pay, and of those only a quarter of them either had concerns or saw no benefits, suggesting that the rest were likely to try it at some later point.

The data also found that owning an Apple Watch dramatically increased the chances of using Apple Pay …  expand full story

August 17

AAPL: 117.16

1.20
Stock Chart

iphone

Betting against Apple hasn’t been a successful endeavor of late but all of a sudden, declining holiday iPhone numbers seem to be in vogue.

Tech investment company Pacific Crest has echoed KGI’s prediction that year-on-year iPhone sales are likely to decline following the launch of the iPhone 6S, but says that investors shouldn’t be concerned.

We believe iPhone 6/+ models drove abnormally high share gains and upgrade rates that are likely to moderate somewhat in the 6s cycle, which is likely to drive total iPhone units down year-on-year in the first part of financial year 2016 (Q4 of calendar 2015) …

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August 14

AAPL: 115.96

0.81
Stock Chart

August 13

AAPL: 115.15

-0.09
Stock Chart

As regular readers will know, it took a little while for the Apple Watch to really grow on me. But even back when I wasn’t convinced I needed a smartwatch, I still had to admire the design. And the Digital Crown was a large part of how Apple got the smartwatch right when others hadn’t yet cracked it. A fundamental problem with a small touchscreen is that touching it covers up much of the content. The Digital Crown overcomes that, allowing us to scroll content without our thumb getting in the way.

But while today’s iPhone screens may be larger than they used to be, they are still pretty small in the scheme of things. Scrolling with a thumb still covers up a chunk of the content. Worse, it’s easy to accidentally tap on targets accidentally including ads. There have been numerous occasions since using Apple Watch when my thumb started absent-mindedly reaching for the non-existent Digital Crown on my iPhone …  expand full story

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