About the Author

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 technothriller novels , a romcom novel and an SF novella series. He is currently co-writing a screenplay.

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, 10.5-inch iPad Pro (LTE 256GB), iPhone X (256GB), Apple Thunderbolt Display and an Apple Watch (Series 3 WiFi) – 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.

If you enjoy his work and would like to express your thanks, you can save this link as your Amazon bookmark. It will take you to the usual U.S. homepage, and you’ll shop as usual at the same rates, but Amazon will pay a small commission (typically 2-4%).

Ben Lovejoy's Favorite Gear

Today

Just today we heard the latest episode in Apple’s troubled relationship with the Chinese government: it has been required to remove Skype from the local App Store following a request from the Ministry of Public Security.

The stated reason was that the app ‘doesn’t comply with local law’ – which appears to be code for offering end-to-end encryption plus allowing users to open accounts without using their real name.

This is just the latest clampdown by the Chinese government on its own citizens, and is far from the first time that Apple has been placed in the position of doing something which directly contravenes the company’s own values …

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A new report claims that the HomePod project had an extremely messy history. It’s said to have had changing objectives, and been cancelled and revived ‘several times’ over a five-year period.

The team was also said to have been ‘blindsided’ by the launch of the Amazon Echo …

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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Apple removes Skype from Chinese app store after request from Ministry of Public Security

Apple has removed Skype from the App Store in China following a request from the Ministry of Public Security …

Apple has confirmed a Financial Times report that high school students interning at Foxconn exceeded their legal hours while working on the iPhone X production line. The company has, however, denied claims that the students were forced to carry out the work as a condition of graduation from school.

The report relates to 3,000 high school students who take part in a three-month long work experience program …

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Pokémon Go players catch over 500M Pokémon in first two days of week-long challenge

Niantic has announced that over 500 million Pokémon have been caught during the first two days of a week-long Global Catch Challenge. The achievement unlocked the first set of rewards to everyone participating …

November 20

Uber makes it easier to connect with drivers with live location sharing & expanded beacon rollout

If you’ve ever experienced problems meeting up with your Uber driver, the company has today announced a couple of initiatives designed to make it easier …

Apple may have only just launched its first iPhone with an OLED screen, but technology never stands still. The company is reportedly pressing ahead with work on the microLED display technology which is expected to supersede OLED within the next few years.

microLED screens take some of the key benefits of OLED over LCD yet further, offering even greater brightness, color saturation and power efficiency …

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We’ve already seen one designer’s take on an all-screen iPhone SE, presented not long after the launch of this year’s new flagship phone, and Concept Creator has now given us an alternative vision of Apple’s most compact iPhone.

The overall deal is the same. Take the classic design of the SE, and add a near-bezel-free display with the famous iPhone X notch …

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I took a week off last week to get unpacked and settled into our new home. This was a time-consuming process, so I didn’t get much time to get out and about, but with a fabulous view from our new apartment, that didn’t stop me putting the iPhone X camera through its paces. You’ll just have to excuse the fact that the photos are rather lacking in variety!

For each of the photos, I’m showing the original, straight-from-camera version as well as the edited version. And to make it true to the real-life behavior of most people, I’ve used only the stock Camera and Photos apps for both photography and edits.

To be honest, any recent iPhone is a fantastic camera in bright sunlight, so I’m concentrating here on the real test of a camera: low-light performance …

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Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, first expected in March, coming to iOS this week

Nintendo’s second iOS title, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, will be released on Wednesday, the company has announced. It was first expected back in March

Google wants option of building Danish data center next to Apple ‘for same three reasons’

Google has purchased land in Denmark, adjacent to the site of Apple’s second data center in the country. The company said that it wanted to have the option of building its own data center right next door …

November 9

The executive summary of this iPhone X Diary piece – almost a week in – is that I still love it, and I have found very little more to complain about.

Let’s start with the look and feel. I still love it. It still feels like a single slab of glass, and it has a really great tactile feel in the hand.

To me, the large size is a compromise. I do still really like the iPhone SE size, but it’s a compromise that pays off. The screen is large enough for content to feel immersive – I’ve even watched some Netflix on it – while still remaining reasonably pocketable. I can also comfortably hold it in my hand …

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We first saw a trailer for the first proper iOS South Park game back in June. The freemium game South Park: Phone Destroyer is now available for free download – though with some expensive in-app purchase options.

Ubisoft describes it as a strategic real-time battle game.

From South Park Digital Studios comes a real-time battle game like nothing you’ve ever experienced before! Take on Cartman, Kenny, Stan and Kyle in all out mobile mayhem!

South Park: Phone Destroyer brings you iconic South Park characters, action packed real-time strategy, exploding PvP battles, trademark South Park humor and collectible cards in a perfect mix that’s spicier than Cartman’s chili con carne …

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A carrier store survey last month suggested that the iPhone 7 was outselling the iPhone 8, and this idea is supported by new shipment data from market analysts Canalys.

The firm says that the iPhone 7 was the world’s best-shipping smartphone in Q3, while the iPhone 8 didn’t even make the top 5 …

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Skype seems to be having a little difficulty at present figuring out whether it wants to be a business service or a consumer one. After recently adding Slack-like notifications, mentions and more, it is now adding Snapchat-style photo filters.

As seems obligatory for app updates these days, the filters claim to be AI-powered …

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November 8

The editor in chief of Germany’s biggest newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, has written an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in which he claims that Apple pays ‘between 1 and 7 percent’ tax on its overseas income.

Wolfgang Krach says the numbers were reached by its analysis of the so-called paradise papers, a massive leak of financial records relating to offshore holdings in countries commonly used as tax havens. He attacks Apple for ‘shirking’ its tax obligations and for failing to answer questions put by the paper …

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Back in the summer, when rumors of Apple working on augmented reality glasses gained momentum, I wrote an opinion piece addressing the question of whether the Cupertino company could succeed where Google failed.

I ran through the six reasons why I believe Google Glass failed as a consumer product, and looked at the lessons Apple would need to learn.

We heard earlier today that Apple is working toward a target date of no earlier than 2020 for its rumored augmented reality headset, or glasses. And that date gives me more faith in the idea that Apple could indeed pull it off …

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Facebook is trialling an interesting new approach to combatting revenge porn, when someone uploads intimate photos of a former partner to the Internet.

The system it is trying would prevent specific photos ever being uploaded to Facebook, Instagram or Messenger – but you do have to privately share them with Facebook first …

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Majority of iPhones & iPads now running iOS 11, but adoption lagging due to iPhone X

Apple has updated its App Store developer page showing that the majority of iPhones and iPads are now running iOS 11

November 7

Apple has announced that the iPhone X will go on sale in 13 more countries on November 24. It is currently available in 57 countries …

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