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 10

AAPL: 115.52

0.39
Stock Chart

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Claimed 3D CAD images of the iPad mini 4 supports earlier reports that the upcoming device will adopt a very similar form factor to the iPad Air 2, getting the thickness down from 7.5mm to 6.1mm. A video (below) of the CAD images was posted by @onleaks, a source with a good track-record …  expand full story

August 7

AAPL: 115.52

0.39
Stock Chart

Jimmy Iovine seems to be doing the rounds of UK media at present. Following yesterday’s Evening Standard interview, he’s done another with Wired editor Michael Rundle.

Much of it is, of course, the usual sales spiel: curation is cool, nobody else will catch us or do it better, lots of great people involved – the kind of things you’d expect him to say. But the interview does contain one unexpected snippet: that Apple Music‘s curated approach could be applied to TV …  expand full story

Chrisann Brennan, the mother of Steve Jobs’ first daughter Lisa, tried to blackmail him into giving her $25M in return for shelving her plans for a memoir of the relationship. Brennan first requested the payment in a letter written in 2005, reports Fortune, before turning it into an ultimatum in an email sent in 2009.

I just do not have a choice anymore… No one is going to be impressed with either of us in this book and it will hurt Lisa who never deserved any of this. The choice is yours […] I am moving as fast as I can to have the money I need to live, it is either you or the book.

Jobs, who had not responded to the letter sent four years earlier, replied briefly, refusing her demand.

“I don’t react well to blackmail,” Jobs wrote back that day, copying Lisa, then 31. “I will have no part in any of this.”

Brennan subsequently went ahead with the memoir. Neither Brennan nor Jobs come out of the lengthy Fortune piece looking good.

One of the numbers disclosed in Apple’s Schedule 14A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission was the amount Apple spends annually on protecting CEO Tim Cook. Patently Apple spotted the entry listing “security expenses in the amount of $699,133.”

Tim Cook rarely has much visible security when seen at public events, but bodyguards are doubtless there in the background. It’s likely that a sizeable chunk of the expenditure protects his surprisingly modest four-bedroom home …  expand full story

August 6

AAPL: 115.13

0.25
Stock Chart

It appears it’s not just governments who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near technology – it’s also courts. The UK’s High Court recently overturned legislation permitting citizens to duplicate copyrighted material for their own private use, and TorrentFreak confirmed with the UK Intellectual Property Office that the ruling really is as dumb as it sounds.

“It is now unlawful to make private copies of copyright works you own, without permission from the copyright holder – this includes format shifting from one medium to another,” a spokesperson informed us.

The IPO specifically notes that copying a CD to an MP3 player is not permitted. This means that iTunes’ popular ripping feature, which Apple actively promotes during the software’s installation, is illegal.

The ruling would also effectively outlaw Time Machine (as it copies music files), and the current behaviour of both iTunes Match and Apple Music, each of which copies music to a cloud server. And it’s not just citizens who fall foul of this law – Apple does too …  expand full story

Retail data analytics firm InfoScout has told payment industry conference PYMNTS R2 that the percentage of U.S. iPhone 6 owners who have tried Apple Pay fell from 15% in March to 13.1% in June. Usage has also fallen sharply among those who have tried the service. Surveying iPhone 6 owners who have previously used Apple Pay and were shopping in a store that accepts the payment method, the percentage using Apple Pay fell from 39.3% in March to just 23% in June.

Payment industry site Pymnts suggests that while the fall is in some ways unsurprising, Apple must also accept part of the responsibility …  expand full story

August 5

AAPL: 115.40

0.76
Stock Chart

The stock market can often seem an irrational place, and never more so than where AAPL is concerned. The company keeps reporting record sales, has typically out-performed analyst expectations, takes home almost the entire smartphone industry’s profits and has so much cash it scarcely knows what to do with it – yet its share price is falling.

AAPL stock has fallen more than 14% since April, wiping $113B from the company’s market valuation. It dropped 7% in the past month alone. That’s the equivalent of McDonalds vanishing into thin air. What gives?  expand full story

Kantar data suggests that the iPhone increased its market share during Q2 in all of the countries it surveyed bar the USA. Apple’s share of the smartphone market grew in China, Australia and all five of Europe’s largest markets, defying the usual lull in sales seen during the run-up to a new model in September.

Apple iOS returned to growth across all of Europe’s ‘big five’ markets [of] Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain,” reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Kantar surveyed buyers to determine the reasons they selected the iPhone over Android rivals, with owners listing four main factors …  expand full story

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Congressional Black Caucus member and California Congresswoman Barbara Lee has called on Apple to release federal data on the diversity of its workforce, following a meeting with Tim Cook to discuss the issue, reports USA Today.

Apple is one of a number of tech companies that issues its own reports on employee diversity, but refuses to release data from its federally-mandated filing. Companies are required by law to file the information, but are not obligated to make it public …  expand full story

August 4

AAPL: 114.64

-3.80
Stock Chart

August 3

AAPL: 118.44

-2.86
Stock Chart

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Apple has lost its top position in smartphone shipments in China, reports Canalys, falling from the #1 slot it achieved in Q4 of 2014 to #3 in Q2 of this year.

Canalys did not reveal Apple’s market share (a number it would like its clients to pay for), stating only that Xiaomi took the top slot with a 15.9% share, with Huawei close behind at 15.7%. A separate market size estimate from Counterpoint, with similar numbers, suggests that Apple’s market share in the country may have fallen to around 12.2% …  expand full story

siri

Apple is reportedly conducting internal testing on a service that allows Siri to transcribe your voicemail messages into text, so that you can read them rather than having to listen to them. Business Insider reports that the service is expected to be launched next year.

When someone using iCloud Voicemail is unable to take a call, Siri will answer instead of letting the call go to a standard digital audio recorder. 

iCloud Voicemail can relay information about where you are and why you can’t pick up the phone to certain people. But the coolest feature of the service is that Siri will transcribe any incoming voicemails, just like it does with anything else you say to it.

The piece says that a number of Apple employees are currently trialling the service to determine its reliability …  expand full story

July 31

AAPL: 121.30

-1.07
Stock Chart

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A few days ago, I argued that iTunes was now so clunky it should be nuked from orbit, and suggested standalone apps as a possible way forward. A little over 70% of you agreed with me, including UX designer Andrew Ambrosino, who created some concept images showing how a standalone OS X Music app might look.

I like what I see. Check out the images below, and let us know your thoughts …  expand full story

After my first impressions, lengthy update, decision point and one month update, this week is when I have to officially lose the ‘skeptic’ prefix to my Apple Watch diary series and relabel myself as a fully-fledged convert.

The trigger for this realization was a fairly small one, but one which clearly demonstrated to me that – little by little – the Apple Watch is transforming itself into a gadget I eventually won’t want to be without …  expand full story

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