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 Recommended Gear

February 24

AAPL: 136.66

0.13
Stock Chart

A video of an iPhone 7 Plus catching fire has gone viral, with some drawing comparisons with early Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fires.

This is not the first time that an iPhone has caught fire, and it won’t be the last. But as we’ve noted before, it’s important to view such incidents in perspective …

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Update 1: See list of sites below.

Update 2: We received a brief statement from Uber

Very little Uber traffic goes through Cloudflare. Only a handful of tokens were involved and have since been changed. Passwords were not exposed.

Update 3: OKCupid has made a similar statement

Cloudflare alerted us last night of their bug and we’ve been looking into its impact on OkCupid members. Our initial investigation has revealed minimal, if any, exposure. If we determine that any of our users has been impacted we will promptly notify them and take action to protect them.

User data from 3,400 websites has been leaked and cached by search engines as a result of a bug in Cloudflare, a content delivery network. Sites affected over the course of several months include major ones like Uber, Fitbit and dating site OKCupid. 1Password also uses Cloudflare, but says that end-to-end encryption means that no customer data was exposed.

ArsTechnica reports that the leaks were spotted by Google security researcher Tavis Ormandy.

We observed encryption keys, cookies, passwords, chunks of POST data and even HTTPS requests for other major cloudflare-hosted sites from other users. Once we understood what we were seeing and the implications, we immediately stopped and contacted cloudflare security.

Cloudflare has admitted that the breach occurred, but Ormandy and other security researchers believe the company is underplaying the severity of the incident …

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9to5toys 

February 23

AAPL: 136.53

-0.58
Stock Chart

While we’ve all been able to follow the construction progress of Apple Park thanks to drone footage, the company kept us waiting a long time before finally revealing two things: what the campus would be called, and when employees would move in.

The name attracted quite a bit of attention, with some feeling that it was perhaps a little tame to describe such a dramatic building – but I think Eli Schiff hit the nail on the head.

Xerox Parc was where the Macintosh story really began, and I think Apple did indeed intend to reference that when it chose the name for its new campus …

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I’ve been keeping a watching brief on drones for some time. They had immediate and obvious gadget appeal. I mean, proper drones are both radio-controlled flying vehicles and high-end cameras – what’s not to love?

But decent ones are expensive, and I feared that they might be one of those things I’d find fun for a short time before the novelty wore off. I didn’t want to spend a four-figure sum on something that would soon be relegated to a cupboard.

Then a few family members got together to buy my father a DJI Phantom for his birthday, which gave me some hands-on experience. I was starting to get the itch, but still resisting. After all, what would I actually do with it?

Travel was the only situation I could think of where I might make use of one, but small ones were poor quality and high quality ones weren’t exactly compatible with my handbaggage-only approach to travel. Then along came the DJI Mavic Pro – a folding drone whose spec was virtually identical to the Phantom 4 but with a folded size so small it was almost pocketable …

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9to5google 

Last year’s Futurama game Game of Drones may have been little more than a Candy Crush clone, but it sounds like the next game in the franchise will offer rather more. In an interview with USA Today, show creater Matt Groening says that the game features ‘the original writers, cast, and animators.’

Not only that, but he says that it will effectively offer some completely new Futurama episodes in game form …

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More areas of the country are likely to see gigabit LTE, say carriers, as the FCC has approved the use of the 5GHz spectrum for mobile data.

The 5GHz band is currently used for WiFi, and there had been concerns that there would be conflicts between the two, but the FCC accepted that equipment manufacturers had demonstrated that LTE and WiFi could co-exist in the same spectrum …

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February 22

AAPL: 137.11

0.41
Stock Chart

Apple has today announced the official name of its spaceship campus: Apple Park. The new headquarters complex had previously been referred to as Apple Campus 2. The 1,000-seat auditorium will be named the Steve Jobs Theater.

The company also revealed the timeline for employees to move into the campus, as well as sharing a few high-resolution images (below) …

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electrek 

Studies cited by the WSJ show that sexist attitudes are alive and well when it comes to preferences for gender in the voices of intelligent assistants.

An Indiana university study found that both men and women prefer a female voice, finding it welcoming, warm and nurturing. Microsoft and Amazon found the same thing in their own research. Even more tellingly, a Stanford University study reveals that preferences for male or female voices depend on the subject matter …

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The average U.S. iPhone user spent $40 on apps & in-app purchases last year, according to research by Sensor Tower. This was up from $35 the previous year.

Unsurprisingly, games account for by far the biggest chunk of this – some $27 of the $40 total – but it was another category that saw the largest percentage increase …

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February 21

AAPL: 136.70

0.98
Stock Chart

Today’s KGI report is just the latest piece of evidence that Apple has serious plans to somehow work with 3D space. Acquisitions, supply chain reports, patents and even comments by Tim Cook all add up to a definite interest in something in the 3D space. The question is: what?

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding terminology, so we thought it would be a good idea to start by distinguishing between the various terms being thrown around in this space – Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) – before discussing Apple’s interest in 3D …

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9to5toys 

The San Bernardino iPhone hack story rumbles on, with three news organizations insisting that there is no good reason for the FBI to withhold the cost of accessing the phone. Associated Press, Vice Media and USA Today have asked a US judge to force the FBI to reveal the information, reports the BBC …

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The European Courts of Justice has now published Apple’s appeal against a European Commission ruling that it must pay Ireland €13B ($13.7B) in underpaid tax. Apple accuses the EC of ‘fundamental errors’ in its interpretation of the facts and lays out no fewer than 14 different objections.

Apple’s appeal document is best described as an aggressive defence …

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9to5google 

February 20

AAPL: 135.72

0.38
Stock Chart

I wrote last time that despite having 16 HomeKit devices, I was already wanting more. No-one who knows me will be the slightest bit surprised that the interval between ‘wanting more’ and ‘getting more’ was rather short. Every light in my home is now HomeKit-enabled, and I’ve also added some switches and motion-sensors.

The lightbulb additions were the kitchen and bathroom, and the justification of adding these two rooms seemed somewhat flimsy. Were we really ever going to want mood lighting in the bathroom or kitchen? But having added these rooms into the mix, along with some rather old-fashioned HomeKit technology, I’m glad I did it.

That doesn’t mean that HomeKit is perfect, however – but let’s start with what I’ve added and why before I list my complaints …

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There was a supply-chain rumor toward the end of last year that Apple was working on a new red color option for the iPhone 7, and Japanese blog Macotakara cites a Barclays analyst supporting this.

It’s possible that Barclays has heard from the same supply-chain source as earlier reported direct by Macotakara, so this may not be independent corroboration of the idea, but the fact that it is still being suggested a couple of months later does at least lend a tiny bit of weight …

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Popular password manager 1Password for Mac has been failing to launch over the weekend due to its developer certificate expiring, as the company notes in a blog post.

Customers were getting an error message when trying to start 1Password […] We knew our developer certificate was going to expire on Saturday, but thought nothing of it because we believed those were only necessary when publishing a new version. Apparently that’s not the case. In reality it had the unexpected side effect of causing macOS to refuse to launch 1Password properly … 

The same issue has hit a number of other Mac apps …

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electrek 

February 17

AAPL: 135.72

0.38
Stock Chart

It seems pretty clear by this stage that Apple is working on a near-bezel-free design for the iPhone 8. Not only have we heard consistent reports supporting this idea – and Jony Ive’s ambitions of a ‘single slab of glass’ design – but it’s also a pretty obvious next step in the evolution of smartphones.

Apple has been headed in this direction since day one. One of the major points of differentiation of the very first iPhone over existing smartphones of the time was that it dispensed with a physical keyboard in order to maximize the screen space. In the latest iPhones, Apple has ditched a mechanical Home button in favor of a touch-sensitive one, and it holds patents for multiple approaches to embedding a fingerprint reader into a screen.

But the latest KGI report echoes an earlier one in suggesting that Apple may be planning to drop Touch ID and switch instead to ‘new biometric technologies’ …

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