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

September 23

AAPL: 112.71

-1.91
Stock Chart

Apple used the word ‘courage’ recently to describe its decision to remove the headphone socket from the iPhone 7, and much fun was poked at the company by those who missed the reference. But what I personally found far more courageous was Apple effectively admitting that it got the original Apple Watch user-interface badly wrong, and completely revamping it in watchOS 3.

Glances never worked. They were supposed to be a fast way to see information from your favorite apps, and to go on to quickly open those apps when required. In reality, neither objective was achieved: data was slow to load, and so were the apps.

And the side-button for immediate access to contacts was simply the waste of a button. Using the Watch Dick Tracy-style for phone calls was never more than a novelty, and sending scribbles and the like to contacts was even more of a gimmick.

So Apple had the courage to abandon both. Glances are gone, replaced by the app Dock, and the side button has been repurposed to access it. These two changes have transformed my use of my Watch …

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Amazon Echo speaker with intelligent voice assistant
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We first heard suggestions that Apple was working on its own equivalent to Amazon’s Echo – an intelligent voice-controlled assistant in a speaker – in the run-up to WWDC back in May. A subsequent report suggested that the device would feature a camera capable of facial-recognition to identify household members and set preferences.

Little more has been heard since then, but a new Bloomberg report says that the product now exists in prototype form and has begun testing outside the lab …

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Reuters reports that Japanese regulators are considering taking action against Apple for possible antitrust violations. Three Japanese carriers are the main focus of the investigation, but it appears that Apple may also be implicated.

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that NTT Docomo, KDDI Corp and Softbank Group were refusing to sell older surplus iPhone models to third party retailers, thereby hobbling smaller competitors. Apple was not named in that report, but two senior government sources told Reuters that regulators were also focusing on Apple’s supply agreements with all three carriers.

It’s reported that it is Apple’s contract terms that ultimately prevents older model iPhones being made available for sale within Japan …

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9to5toys 

September 22

AAPL: 114.62

1.07
Stock Chart

While Apple makes rather modest water-resistance claims for the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, suggesting nothing more demanding than a cycle ride in the rain, that hasn’t stopped people putting them through some rather more extreme tests.

We’ve already seen the phone survive immersion in water, soda and coffee, and even dropped into 35 feet of water. This latest test has pro surfer Kai Lenny take the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus out into the waves …

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9to5google 

The rivalry between Apple and Samsung may be about to intensify: the WSJ reports that the iPhone maker is considering opening up an Apple Store very close to Samsung’s HQ in Seoul, South Korea. Perhaps very close indeed!

Apple looked at sites across the street from the Samsung ’s longtime headquarters in Seoul, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move could be a very smart one for Apple …

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When I tried the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, one of the things that put me off was the quality of the keyboards available at the time. The only one I could get hold of on day one was the Logitech Create, which I found ugly and not a great typing experience. The Apple Smart Keyboard, that I got to try later, was a bit prettier but still not fantastic to type on.

What I really wanted at the time was for Brydge to bring out a version of its iPad keyboard for the 12.9-inch model. It eventually did so, and I got the chance to try it this week …

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electrek 

September 21

AAPL: 113.55

-0.02
Stock Chart

We live in an age when we’re seeing smart everything. All those things that used to be dumb – watches, door locks, electrical sockets, lightbulbs and so on – are now smart, and controlled by an iPhone. As someone who loves home automation, I think it’s great. But I have to admit that even I can’t decide whether an iPhone-controlled smart candle is taking things just one step too far …

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Kantar reports that Apple has retained its dominance of the smartwatch sector, even as overall growth has started to slow. The data is based on sales as of July of this year, so pre-dating the launch of the Apple Watch Series 2.

Apple continues to dominate this segment with a 33.5% share, although that lead shrank slightly in the last three months as the market awaited the Apple Watch Series 2 announcement. The EU4 countries show a similar trend, with […] Apple leading at 31.8%.

The company says that the Apple Watch Series 2 seems ideally placed to appeal to those intending to purchase a wearable within the next 12 months, offering the two key features they are seeking …

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One of the new features of macOS Sierra is that it can automatically ‘manage storage’ on your Mac. What this means is, if you’re getting low on SSD space, macOS can automatically upload older and larger files to iCloud and then delete them from your Mac. When macOS deletes a file, it leaves an alias that will download the file from iCloud as required.

Effectively, you don’t have to worry about how much physical storage your Mac has – you can just treat it as an infinitely large drive and macOS takes care of shifting things back and forth from the cloud as required.

That’s great in theory, but there seem to be a few flaws in practice …

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9to5toys 

If you’re still waiting for your iPhone 7 or 7 Plus to arrive and want to get a sense of what the camera can do – or you have yours already and are looking for some inspiration – a Redditor has collated all of Apple’s sample photos and videos. You can view them on Imgur, or download them from Dropbox at maximum quality.

He used a simple but ingenious method to obtain them …

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September 20

AAPL: 113.57

-0.01
Stock Chart

While companies like Apple shoot most of their own photography and/or create their own renders, most companies rely a great deal on so-called ‘stock photography’ – photos shot on spec by photographers in the hope of licensing them to companies later.

Selling stock photography can be extremely hard work. You have to upload and keyword them, and the percentage of photos that sell is very low even for top-notch photographers. But if you want to give it a shot, Adobe has just made the process really painless …

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9to5google 

We’ve already seen teardowns of the iPhone 7 and Apple Watch Series 2, but a rather brutal teardown by Vietnamese site Tinhte has given us our first look at the rather astonishing amount of technology packed inside Apple’s deceptively simple-looking 3.5mm-to-Lightning adapter.

There had been some speculation about whether Apple had managed to squeeze a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) into it or whether the company would instead find a way to do simple pass-through audio. I was certain it had to have a DAC, and this has now been confirmed …

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It’s amazing how heavy a bag can become when you throw in a few gadgets. Backpacks are by far the most comfortable way to carry heavy loads, but they do have a few drawbacks.

First, they aren’t the most convenient of things to access. If you want to pull out your iPad or a camera, for example, you have to remove the backpack and either put it down somewhere or awkwardly hold it in one hand while wrestling with zips with the other.

Second, they can be a liability in crowded places, taking out innocent bystanders on public transit when you turn around. Third, those same very crowded places put your valuables at risk from theft as access is behind your back, out of sight. Finally, you have to remove the pack if you want to sit down.

There are existing solutions to these problems, but none work as well as the Wolffepack …

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Apple has hired a Canadian doctor from a Toronto teaching hospital for an unspecified role. Dr Mike Evans runs what he calls a ‘mini med school’ YouTube channel known as DocMikeEvans, which aims to better educate the public about health matters.

“I’m very excited for Dr. Mike that he will be able to use his multiple talents to impact an even bigger worldwide audience,” said Dr. Arthur S. Slutsky, vice-president of research at St. Michael’s Hospital. “I’m looking forward to seeing his new innovations and having St. Mike’s collaborate with him in his new role.”

“Dr. Mike” isn’t allowed to say much about his new role, other than that he will be working on health-care innovation worldwide.

One reason Apple would be interested in him is no secret, however …

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electrek 

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