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

Today

AAPL: 119.78

-0.21
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Many were disappointed by Apple’s apparent decision to abandon the display market in favor of recommending LG models. While LG’s 5K UltraFine is an excellent display in many ways, neither the design nor the build quality live up to Apple standards.

As I said in an earlier piece, it may be shallow to care about the aesthetics of the monitor, but a display is something we stare at all day long. Given that part of the reason we buy Apple kit is the beautiful designs, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect an officially-recommended display to live up to the same standard.

Apple could satisfy many people by simply putting the 5K UltraFine innards into an Ive-designed casing. But I think a new Apple display could also help the company solve a second – less shallow – problem …

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A new supply chain source cited by Digitimes backs multiple reports that Apple is preparing to launch a new 10.5-inch iPad, with the 9.7-inch form factor being downgraded to an entry-level device. As with earlier reports, the 12.9-inch model is also said to be set for an update, with no mention of iPad mini models.

The report does differ from previous ones in one respect, however: it suggests that the new models may not be launched until the second half of the year …

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When the long-running antitrust case against Apple over ebook price-fixing was finally settled last year, one chapter ended and a new one began – this time in Europe. German regulators objected to Apple agreeing an exclusive deal with Amazon-owned Audible for the supply of audiobooks, stating that this reduced competition and thus harmed consumers …

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9to5toys 

Rumors that this year’s iPhone will support long-range wireless charging continue, with a Chinese report suggesting that a Taiwanese supplier has signed a component contract with Apple. The Chinese-language Commercial Times report was cited by Digitimes.

Lite-On Semi has reportedly obtained half of the orders for GPP bridge rectifiers that will be used in the wireless charger for the upcoming iPhones, the report cited industry sources as saying.

Lite-On Semi’s share price on the TSE rallied by its daily 10% limit.

There have been long-running suggestions that Apple was holding off on wireless charging until it could deliver a long-range solution that wouldn’t require a charging mat …

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January 18

AAPL: 119.99

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Life can be remarkably circular at times. Back in the day, people used Polaroid instant cameras to take a photo and then get an instant print. These days, we all have a camera in our pocket that allows us to instantly view our photos on a bright, hi-res screen – but people do sometimes still want instant prints, leading to the creation of Polaroid-style instant printers.

Polaroid make their mobile printer, the ZIP, at around $130. This is a thermal printer, meaning there’s no ink to worry about, printing instead onto special Zink paper. The Prynt uses the same technology and paper, but with an added twist: when using the app, people can view your prints as Live Photos …

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9to5google 

It appears that the Indian government may have found a creative way to agree to Apple’s request for financial incentives to manufacture iPhones within the country – without being seen to give special treatment to one particular company. Apple had asked for a number of concessions, including a 15-year import duty on iPhone components, manufacturing equipment and consumables.

Earlier reports had described conflicts between different government departments with differing objectives. The IT and industry ministries wanted to agree to Apple’s terms, as it would be a big win to sign up the world’s largest company to its Made In India program, while the finance ministry was reluctant to lose the import duty revenue.

Two reports today suggest that the government may have found a creative way out of the impasse …

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January 17

AAPL: 120.00

0.96
Stock Chart

The Vine video service officially closes today, so if you have any Vine videos online that aren’t safely stored in your camera roll, you only have a few hours to save them.

The Vine app allows you to download your stored videos (Profile page → Save Videos), which you can do either directly to your phone or get a download link which also preserves the Like and Re-vine data. Alternatively, Giphy has a free service that automatically converts each of your Vine videos into animated GIFs …

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Slice Intelligence made headlines when it suggested that Apple’s AirPods captured a 26% share of the wireless headphone market within a short time of going on sale. Together with a Beats share of around 15%, that put Apple at a combined total of 40%.

Today, however, NPD says those numbers paint a misleading picture, and the true market share captured by AirPods is more like 2% by volume and 3% by value. There is, it says, a simple explanation for the huge apparent discrepancy …

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electrek 

When Apple launched a free battery replacement program for iPhone 6s units experiencing unexpected shutdowns, some iPhone 6 owners reported that they had experienced the same symptoms. Now an unconfirmed report from Japanese site Macotakara suggests that Apple may be preparing a similar program for the iPhone 6 …

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There will be a lot of people complaining about price rises Apple just announced for apps and in-app purchases in the UK (along with India and Turkey). Once the price rises kick in over the next week, App Store prices will be literally pound for dollar.

But while some are complaining that Apple is price-gouging Brits, this isn’t actually the case …

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January 16

AAPL: 119.04

0.00
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Apple is commemorating Martin Luther King Jr Day by devoting its homepage to a full-page photo and quote.

Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.

Tim Cook also tweeted in honor of Dr King, who led the non-violent civil disobedience protests that played a crucial role in advancing civil rights in the USA …

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9to5toys 

Apple exec Jimmy Iovine has lent weight to a WSJ report that Apple plans to offer scripted TV shows to Apple Music subscribers by the end of the year. The Hollywood Reporter reports Iovine telling TV critics that the company’s streaming music service needed to go beyond songs in order to grow.

The hope for Apple is that it will be better able to compete with streaming music competitors like Spotify and Pandora, which are largely free for users: “We’re fighting ‘free.’ So a simple utility where, ‘here’s all the songs, here’s all the music, give me $10 and we’re cool,’ is not going to scale.”

Iovine specifically confirmed that video content offered by the service would not be exclusively focused on the music industry …

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January 13

AAPL: 119.04

-0.21
Stock Chart

Just when you thought there wasn’t much left that hasn’t already been gadgetized, along comes the Bluetooth pillow …

Dreampad is a modern take on a very old idea: a speaker designed to be heard through a pillow, so you can listen without disturbing your partner. But it’s not just a Bluetooth speaker embedded in a pillow – it uses a form of direct-transmission sound known as intrasound. This is the technology used by bone-conduction devices sometimes used to allow profoundly deaf people to hear.

The use of intrasound technology is at once Dreampad’s greatest strength and biggest weakness, as we’ll see …

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9to5google 

Update: Updated with a response from WhatsApp, below.

A security researcher has found a backdoor in the end-to-end encryption system used by the WhatsApp messaging service. The vulnerability would allow Facebook to read messages sent through the supposedly-secure system, as well as making it possible for the company to comply with court orders to make messages available to government bodies.

While end-to-end encryption would normally mean that not even the company operating the service can decrypt messages, only the intended recipient, the specific implementation used in WhatsApp includes a major security hole …

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[UPDATE: Chris Lattner has tweeted his reaction to the BI piece, calling it “fabricated or speculating”.]

The surprise decision of Swift creator and long-time Xcode lead Chris Lattner to leave Apple was in large part driven by his frustration with the culture of secrecy at the company, say developer friends.

Lattner, who was Apple’s head of developer tools and widely respected as the voice of developers within the company, left the company after more than a decade to lead Tesla’s Autopilot software efforts …

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electrek 

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