Ben Lovejoy


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

August 12

AAPL: 108.18

Stock Chart

iPhone assembler Foxconn has reported a 31% drop in its Q2 net profit, a hit being attributed to the recent decline in iPhone sales. The company reported net profits of NT$17.7B ($566) against analyst expectations of NT$23.9B, reports the WSJ.

There was some good news for the company, however, as its acquisition of Sharp got the government approval necessary to make the deal fully official.

The impact on suppliers of reduced iPhone demand was first seen back in May, when it was reported that Foxconn, Pegatron, Sharp, Japan Display and Sony had all seen their fortunes falling. The impact on one supplier in particular has worsened dramatically …  expand full story

August 11

AAPL: 107.93

Stock Chart

Update: A couple of iPhone 7 Plus photos (not hi-res) added below, along with what are claimed to be screen assemblies.

Another day, another set of iPhone 7 shots … The latest ones, posted by Czech site LetemSvètem, are higher-resolution than most that we’ve seen to date, and you can click the images below to view them in all their 3264×2448-pixel glory.

The site says that the source – an online store – also has a blue version, though these photos were not supplied …

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Patently Apple reports that Apple has applied for a patent related to a wearable electrocardiographic (ECG) device that could take the form of a watch, ring, brooch or similar.

A wearable device can be affixed to a limb of the human body such as a wrist or ankle, as an example. The wearable device can be worn on the left or right wrist, or even on the right or left ankle.

The reason the patent application emphasizes use on either left or right side of the body is that the patent focuses on an issue that can arise when taking readings from only one side of the body …

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August 10

AAPL: 108.00

Stock Chart

The latest data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that iOS returned to growth in Q2 in both the U.S. and the five biggest markets in Europe in Q2, Apple’s share of the smartphone market growing by 1.3% in the USA and 3.1% in the UK. This gave Apple a 31.8% share in the U.S. and 37.2% in the UK.

In the USA, the iPhone 6s/6s Plus outsold the Samsung Galaxy S7/S7 edge to make the iPhone the best-selling device in the quarter at 15.1% against Samsung’s 14.1%, with the iPhone SE taking third place at 5.1% …

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While security researchers may now be able to earn up to $200k by reporting vulnerabilities to Apple, some may find it hard to resist a counter-offer of $500k by blackhat company Exodus Intelligence.

While Exodus uses the innocuous-sounding label ‘Research Sponsorship Program,’ the firm makes its money by buying details of vulnerabilities and then making them available to those wishing to exploit them to hack devices …

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Zorro Macsk infra-red overlay adding touch to an iMac back in 2012
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Update: Patently Apple spotted an Apple patent published the day after this piece, in which the company shows a drawing of a touchscreen MacBook. No conclusions should be drawn from this, however: the patent is a generic touchscreen one, and it’s common for Apple to cover all the bases when it comes to protecting potential applications of its inventions.

With Apple touting the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with keyboard as a full replacement for a PC, the company seems to have moved on from Steve Jobs’ view that touchscreens are not meant to be vertical. We thought it would be interesting, then, to test interest in the idea of a touchscreen MacBook Pro.

Jobs was clearly right that a touchscreen as a primary interface to a laptop would be a horrible experience, so we were careful to stress that we were looking at a MacBook Pro that retained the trackpad as the primary means of control. What we found in both poll and comments was a very interesting split in views …

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With it now looking virtually certain that the iPhone 7 shares the form factor of the iPhone 6/6s, both Spigen and Olixar are taking pre-orders on cases for the new iPhone due to be launched next month. Both firms also seems to be anticipating the rumored Space Black color, offering this in addition to existing iPhone colors …

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MacBook Pro concept by Martin Hajek
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A new Bloomberg report says that the new range of MacBook Pro models will have a smaller footprint than existing models, and will be thinner but not adopt the wedge shape of the MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook. The trackpad is also slightly wider than current models. All of the info  lines up with previous reports and a set of leaked shells from earlier this year.

The machines are said to already be ‘in advanced testing’ but will not launch until after the iPhone event in September, confirming earlier reports that said that the laptops were scheduled for release in quarter four.

The report also confirms what we’d speculated about the OLED touch strip replacing the function keys …

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August 9

AAPL: 108.81

Stock Chart

A pair of KGI reports in March and April suggested that Apple would be switching back from aluminum to glass iPhone casings in 2017, and this is now backed by a Nikkei story today.

Foxconn Technology Group is developing a glass casing for smartphones as its key client Apple Inc. is said to be revamping the iPhone, people familiar with the developments say. Apple is expected to redesign the iPhone, including giving it a glass chassis, in 2017.

Nikkei source said that Foxconn had been working on developing a glass chassis since last year, though an earlier report made the unlikely-sounding claim that only one iPhone model would make the switch to an all-glass casing …

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A rather vague Chinese report claims that Apple is working on a new ‘killer device’ in the health field, due to be released next year. The somewhat hyperbolic piece in the Economic Daily News also claims that new health-sensing tech will be built into the 2017 iPhone …

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Galway Bay FM reports that the planning inspector responsible for advising on whether or not to approve Apple’s planned data center in Ireland has submitted his recommendation. However, we won’t get to see the report until the planning board has met and announced its decision, expected by the end of the month.

An Bord Pleanala has begun its final deliberations on the proposed 850 million euro Apple data centre in Athenry. The inspector Stephen Kay has now submitted his recommendations to the board for consideration.

Apple was originally granted planning permission for the $950M data center, which was first announced last year, before an appeal was lodged based on environmental objections, throwing the decision into doubt …

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August 8

AAPL: 108.37

Stock Chart

Asked why Apple had never made a touchscreen Mac, Steve Jobs said back in 2010 that it would be a usability fail.

We’ve done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn’t work. Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. It gives great demo, but after a short period of time you start to fatigue, and after an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off.

There’s no doubt that he was right – if you’re talking about a primary form of input. For computers, a trackpad or mouse is just a better solution.

But the distinction between a computer and a tablet today is much fuzzier, with even Apple touting the iPad Pro with keyboard a full PC replacement. And it appears we’ll be seeing a new touch interface on future MacBook Pros, in the form of a touch-sensitive OLED function-key panel and Touch ID power button.

So has the time come to look again at a touchscreen MacBook … ?

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