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 14

AAPL: 135.02

1.73
Stock Chart

There’s no shortage of options for virtual meetings these days, from Apple’s own FaceTime through Skype, WebEx, Facebook, WhatsApp and many others. But Amazon believes that there’s room for one more, aiming Chime specifically at businesses looking for an easier and more manageable way to host video meetings.

Meetings start on time because they’re easy to join – meetings call you and you can join with a single tap. Lengthy pins are a thing of the past. A visual roster shows who has joined the meeting and who is running late, and allows anyone to mute background noise. Amazon Chime offers rich apps for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac, and your chats are always synchronized across your devices. You can switch seamlessly between devices anytime, even in the middle of a meeting … 

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With everyone expecting the iPhone 8 to feature minimal bezels, a key requirement to realize that vision would be to remove the chin housing the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. While an iris scanner has been rumored as a replacement for fingerprints, Apple is also not short on options for embedding a fingerprint reader into the display.

We’ve previously seen Apple patents for two different methods of doing this, and a patent granted today describes a third …

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February 13

AAPL: 133.29

1.17
Stock Chart

Update: AAPL also saw a record closing price of $133.29. Following the Goldman Sachs price target increase, UBS released a report yesterday expressing the view that Apple’s services business is undervalued.

AAPL has opened at an all-time record high of $133.00 after Goldman Sachs raised its target price for the stock. Pre-market trading saw the price climb as high as $133.09 before it dipped a fraction before the market opened. At the time of writing, the stock is trading at $133.68, up 1.2%.

While the price is a record for market opening, it’s not quite the highest level the stock has ever reached …

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9to5toys 

Apple is rarely the first to adopt a new technology. From smartphones themselves to fingerprint readers, Apple’s usual approach is to sit back and watch what other companies do, then aim to produce a better version some way down the line.

With smartphones, Apple watched other companies launch devices which required a stylus, and then created one that could be used with your finger. With fingerprint readers, Apple looked at ones what required you to roll your finger across an optical reader and then created a far more reliable one-touch capacitive sensor. And so on.

For a long time, it looked like it was doing the same thing with wireless charging – but that now seems in some doubt …

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[UPDATE: Apple statement below the fold.]

Long-running rumors that Apple will add wireless charging to the iPhone 8 have been lent additional weight with the news that the company has joined an industry group devoted to wireless power.

Apple is now listed as one of the 213 members of the Wireless Power Consortium. It was not present in a cached version of the page from a week ago …

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9to5google 

As someone who prefers to travel handbaggage-only, gadgets can often prove a challenge. As I like to keep up with photo editing as I go, I generally travel with my MacBook Pro as well as iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch and a compact camera. Not only do I need space for the gadgets themselves, but also the associated cables and chargers.

But for a trip to Havana last week – a destination I finally managed to check off from my bucket list – I decided that I could get by with two camera batteries and use my MacBook Pro to charge everything else …

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The latest Sonos ad – shown during last night’s Grammys, alongside one for Apple’s Carpool Karaoke – echoes Apple’s famous ‘1984’ commercial, the hammer thrown through a screen replaced by a speaker thrown through a window. The Verge isn’t a fan.

This is no critique of capitalism, or the American way, or even the dehumanizing effect of technology — she’s only complaining because the people she’s observing haven’t dropped hundreds of dollars on Sonos speakers.

You can judge for yourself below. But if the ad does inspire you to invest in some Sonos tech, Brits might want to buy sooner rather than later as the company has announced that it will shortly be raising its UK prices by up to 25% …

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February 3

AAPL: 129.08

0.55
Stock Chart

I said last time that I was waiting for a grown-up to install my new light fittings for the Philips Hue lights, and this has now been done. This added a total of ten color & white spotlights across three rooms (living-room, office, and bedroom) and two white bulbs for the landing and hall.

The result is that all the lights bar the kitchen, bathroom and spare room are now HomeKit controlled.

Zac talked earlier about his HomeKit setup. In this piece, I’ll share my thoughts on the Philips Hue bulbs, from setup to use; describe how my revised setup works; show the kind of fun you can have with Hue lights; and explain why I now want even more …

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electrek 

February 2

AAPL: 128.53

-0.22
Stock Chart

The latest iPhone ownership data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners shows the size of the challenge facing Apple in making the iPhone 8 a success.

Its research indicates that well over half of all iPhone owners have the iPhone 6 or later.

Within the installed base, the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus comprise 25 million units, or 19% of the total. The two year-old iPhone 6 and 6 Plus comprise 51 million units, or 38% of the total installed base.

While that’s an impressive past achievement for Apple, with its record holiday season sales a major contributor, it does mean the company is facing a tougher challenge this year …

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Apple is looking in pretty good shape this week. After posting a record quarter, IDC reported that the iPhone overtook Samsung during the holiday quarter and Strategy Analytics estimated that the Apple Watch – which also saw record (if unspecified) sales – also took 63% of the smartwatch market.

It wasn’t all good news, however. Alongside a continued slump in iPad sales, the company also reported a 12% fall in sales in China. This contrasted with 14% growth a year earlier. Apple explained one of the reasons for this during the earnings call, but it wasn’t the only one, as the WSJ noted …

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With multi-day battery life on the wish-list of many Apple Watch owners, it’s not surprising that Apple is at least considering making a battery band available which could potentially allow the wearable to go many days between charges. This would be of particular value to those who want to use the Watch for sleep-tracking in addition to its usual duties during the day.

The company was recently granted a patent for a multi-function band that could include power, and AI has spotted a new patent application – filed back in 2015 but only published today – which deals specifically with power …

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9to5toys 

February 1

AAPL: 128.75

7.40
Stock Chart

While Apple yesterday announced record sales of three major products – iPhone, Mac, Watch – there was one notable omission from the celebrations: the iPad. Far from setting any records, the iPad continued its year-on-year decline, with a 19% fall in sales and 22% drop in revenue.

Marco Arment suggested that the prevailing wisdom that tablets are the future while computer sales dwindle might be wrong, and that iPads remain a largely additional device rather than a replacement for a Mac.

But either way, one factor more than any other is likely to be at play …

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9to5google 
electrek 

Tim Cook has told the WSJ that hundreds of the company’s employees have been affected by Trump’s executive order on immigration, and says that Apple is considering taking legal action. He also said that the company would be supporting employee fundraising efforts for organizations providing relief to refugees.

Cook said that he hopes that the White House can be persuaded to rescind the order, but that the company may resort to the courts if not …

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