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 maxed-out 2016 MacBook Pro 15, a MacBook Air 11, 9.7-inch iPad Pro (LTE 128GB), iPhone SE (64GB), Apple Thunderbolt Display and an Apple Watch (series 1) – 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 Favorite Gear

Yesterday

AAPL: 140.88

0.24
Stock Chart

Wells Fargo has announced that you’ll be able to use Apple Pay to withdraw cash from many of its ATMs from later in the year. No card will be needed.

The company last week announced a first step in cardless ATM usage, but the clunkiness of the approach suggests something you’d use only in emergencies – if you’ve left home without your card.

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President Trump is forming a new team, known as The White House Office of American Innovation, which he says is intended to harvest ideas from the business world. Apple CEO Tim Cook is reported by the Washington Post to be one of the business leaders working with the team.

The innovation office has a particular focus on technology and data, and it is working with such titans as Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff and Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk. The group has already hosted sessions with more than 100 such leaders and government officials.

The latter comment appears to reference a December meeting (above) at Trump Tower attended by Cook, Musk and other tech leaders …

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9to5toys 

The back-and-forth patent lawsuits between Apple and Nokia could be about to get more interesting. Nokia is seeking access to documents from Samsung’s patent battles with Apple to assist its own case.

Apple sued Nokia last year, claiming that the company had deliberately excluded some patents from an agreement between the two companies, subsequently transferring five of them to a patent troll which unsuccessfully tried to extort $100M from the Cupertino company. Apple seemingly filed the lawsuit in an attempt to head off any further such attempts …

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The decision taken by the US and UK governments to ban laptops and tablets from hand baggage on some flights was in part prompted by a plot to use a fake iPad as a bomb, reports the Guardian.

The ban – affecting flights to and from a number of predominantly Middle Eastern and North African countries – came into effect over the weekend. The US Department of Homeland Security had previously said it was the result of terrorists seeking ‘innovative methods’ to attack planes, and it has now been revealed that the iPad plot was one of these …

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British Home Secretary Amber Rudd – in charge of police policy in the UK – has told the BBC that Apple ‘cannot get away with’ apps that offer unbreakable encryption following last week’s terrorist attack in London.

Rudd was speaking after it was revealed that Khalid Masood accessed WhatsApp two minutes before ploughing through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in a rented car, killing three of them, before fatally stabbing a police officer guarding the Houses of Parliament.

She described end-to-end encrypted messaging as used by WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages app as ‘completely unacceptable’ …

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9to5google 

March 24

AAPL: 140.64

-0.28
Stock Chart

Apple may be planning to increase its dividend by 15% and increase the funds allocated to its stock buyback program from $30B to $35B. This claim was made in an investment note by RBC analyst Amit Daryanani, seen by Business Insider … 

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The US Senate has voted to overturn Internet privacy rules introduced last year by the FCC – and to prevent the FCC from passing any further such rules in the  future.

Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunications Services” (81 Fed. Reg. 87274 (December 2, 2016)), and such rule shall have no force or effect.

The issue will now face a second vote by the House of Representatives, and will become law if it is approved there …

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While the available evidence suggests that hackers have not gained direct access to more than 600 million iCloud accounts, some of the sample login credentials supplied by the group have been found to be valid. ZDNet, for example, used Apple’s password reset function to test 54 logins supplied by the hackers, and found that all of them worked.

Apple has said that there have been no breaches of its own systems, and that the credentials likely came from ‘previously compromised third-party services.’ Most of the account owners contacted by ZDNet lent weight to this claim …

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electrek 

A four year old boy was able to call the emergency services after his mother lost consciousness, thanks to a combination of Touch ID and Siri.

Police report that the boy from just outside London first used his mother’s thumbprint to unlock her iPhone, then asked Siri to call 999 – the British equivalent of 911. Releasing a recording of the emergency call (below), they said that the boy’s actions enabled life-saving action to be taken …

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March 23

AAPL: 140.92

-0.50
Stock Chart
The reality won't be quite as bezel-free as this concept image ...
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A spring iPad event this year has so far been taken almost as established fact. Apple has held one annually in recent years, and we’ve heard multiple reports about what to expect this year – one of them even suggesting a specific date.

The flagship product expected to be announced at the event was a new 10.5-inch iPad with a micro-bezel design that would allow it to have the same external dimensions as the current 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

But recent events suggest to me that, while the 10.5-inch iPad is probably real, it’s unlikely it will be announced at a spring event. Instead, it’s more likely to be at WWDC – or even later …

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A new J.D. Power study shows that U.S. iPhone owners are more satisfied with their phone than owners of any other brand – though just one point above Samsung. Apple’s average score was 840/1000 while Samsung was just 0.1% behind at 839.

That’s no great surprise, and the consumer intelligence company also noted a further factor that also should come as no surprise …

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9to5toys 

As perhaps further evidence of Apple exploring ways to make its entry-level products more affordable, a patent published today describes using an iPhone as the brains of a MacBook-style dumb terminal. As usual with patents, the language is dense, but the illustrations make clear the concept.

An electronic accessory device, comprising: an operational component that provides an output to a user; a housing carrying the operational component, the housing having a recess; and a control interface coupled to the operational component and configured to receive a control signal from an electronic host device when the electronic host device is positioned within the recess and coupled to the control interface, wherein the electronic accessory device is inoperable without the electronic host device being coupled to the control interface.

The idea itself is not a new one, and is similar in essence to a currently-available HP product …

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The WSJ reports that while the Indian government has rejected most of Apple’s demands for concessions, the company will go ahead with iPhone manufacturing in the country – and that production will begin within 4-6 weeks …

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9to5google 

March 22

AAPL: 141.42

1.58
Stock Chart

If anyone had asked you to describe Apple’s pricing strategy in a sentence, this would – until recently – have been extremely easy to do. Apple aims to sell premium products at high margins to upmarket demographics. The company had shown almost no interest in more affordable products pitched to those on tighter budgets.

But Apple has long recognized that you need a way of building your long-term customer base, and one good way to do that is to get them when they’re young. Apple has made considerable efforts over the years to get its computers into schools and colleges, and to make them more affordable to students through its education discount.

The MacBook Air line too has been priced at a level where it is just about affordable for those who would otherwise buy cheaper Windows laptops – again, in no small part because Apple wants to attract younger buyers whose lifetime value to the company will be substantial.

But as one analyst recently observed, there is now evidence that Apple is aiming to offer lower pricing across a broader range of products. Yesterday’s announcement of a low-cost 9.7-inch iPad was a good example of that new approach …

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The battle between intelligent voice assistants is moving into hotel rooms, as Marriott International is testing both Siri and Alexa to decide which will control devices in at least some of its hotel rooms.

Bloomberg reports that the chain is putting the two platforms in a head-to-head test in its one of its Aloft-branded properties …

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electrek 

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