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 15

AAPL: 115.57

3.80
Stock Chart

In comparing the iPhone 7‘s Geekbench scores to a variety of flagship Android handsets, John Gruber noted that it tops the rankings in multi-core performance and leaves everything else for dust when it comes to single-core. The iPhone’s single-core score of 3,450 is almost twice as fast as the second-ranked phone, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 (see below).

He also made a couple of other interesting comparisons, comparing the iPhone 7 against MacBook Air models and the 2013 MacBook Pro …

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If you’re sold on the idea of a black iPhone 7 but are still wavering between Jet Black and matte black, an unboxing video that shows the two side-by-side may help you make up your mind.

The matte black model is the larger 7 Plus, but it still gives you a good sense of how the two finishes compare. Another interesting point to note is step during the setup process where you get to choose the degree of haptic feedback offered by the touch-sensitive Home button …

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9to5toys 

September 14

AAPL: 111.77

3.82
Stock Chart

After reviews of the iPhone 7 and AirPods, it’s now the turn of the Apple Watch Series 2. Similar to the iPhone 7, the latest-generation Watch doesn’t look particularly different on the outside, so the question is whether the under-the-hood changes make an upgrade worthwhile?

Answering this question is particularly tricky given that watchOS 3 transforms the performance of the existing first-gen Watch, so some of the things being commented on by reviewers are actually more of a function of the new operating system than the new hardware …

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9to5google 

One of our favorite designers, Martin Hajek, has been busy again, this time showing what Apple’s new AirPods would look like in the Jet Black finish used for the iPhone 7.

He poses the obvious question: why did this not happen? Given the huge popularity of the Jet Black finish, despite concerns about scratches, it would have seemed an obvious move to offer the color as an option. Especially for a product far less likely to be subject to scratches, living in your ears when in use and the case when not …

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Martin Hajek's concept image predates the dropped headphone socket ...
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There have been long-standing rumors that Apple is moving toward a Home button embedded in the display of future iPhones, enabling the screen to fill almost the entire front of the device. More recent reports from Bloomberg and the WSJ have specifically suggested that the company will make this move in 2017.

The New York Times is now corroborating these reports with a small paragraph tucked away near the end of its iPhone 7 review …

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September 13

AAPL: 107.95

2.51
Stock Chart

With mixed reviews of the iPhone 7, we took a look to see whether the same was true of Apple’s highest-tech headphones, the all-new wireless AirPods with their ultra-slick pairing system facilitated by the W1 chip.

Here, however, we found greater agreement. Everyone was impressed by the instant pairing and by the intelligence in the AirPods – like auto-pausing when you remove them from your ear. Most people seem to agree that the sound quality is distinctly average but acceptable to most. And there’s also widespread agreement that the look is definitely on the dorky side …

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electrek 

T-Mobile has reported that pre-orders for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have shattered sales records, with orders four times higher than the iPhone 6.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are a home run at T-Mobile. Pre-orders for Apple’s latest have already shattered sales records in the first four days – up more than 4x over the smash-hit iPhone 6. And Friday set a single day sales record for any smartphone ever in T-Mobile US history.

Sprint is also reporting almost four times as many orders for the iPhone 7 this year, though its comparison was against the 6s …

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Most iPhone reviews are fairly predictable, because what’s not to like about a new iPhone? There will always be features people wished Apple had added that it didn’t, of course, but the new iPhone is always significantly better than the model it replaced. For the first time, that isn’t exclusively true.

The main issue, of course, is the one everyone’s been talking about for months: the loss of the headphone socket. Apple may have planned to leak that change a long way in advance; it may have made a good case for the change; and it may have done its best to make the transition as painless as possible by tackling both the pairing and battery-life barriers to wireless headphones through the new W1 chip in AirPods and Beats headphones – but it does remain a downside of the new phones, and one which reviewers discuss.

But it’s not the only complaint reviewers have about the iPhone 7, with two other issues raised by many …

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September 12

AAPL: 105.44

2.31
Stock Chart

Update: I’d been under the impression that the W1 chip in AirPods required matching tech in the iPhone 7, but it turns out this isn’t the case, and the chip can perform its pairing and power-saving magic with older devices too. That only underlines my desire to see Apple license the chip.

Of all the things that Apple announced during the iPhone 7 launch, the W1 chip actually impressed me most. I’d guessed that Apple would be including something like this, suggesting beforehand that the tech might solve three problems with Bluetooth audio.

First, fast and rock-solid pairing. First-time pairing should be quick and painless, and once headphones have been paired to a particular iPhone, they should instantly re-pair next time they are used. No more of the ‘will they or won’t they?’ question familiar to current-generation Bluetooth products.

Second, the connection too should be ultra-reliable. No random cutouts that interrupt the audio stream. Even half a second’s stuttering quickly becomes really annoying when listening to music.

Third, the power efficiency should be better than current low-energy Bluetooth, so charging headphones becomes a weekly thing for the average user, not something we have to do every few days.

Apple still hasn’t revealed much detail about the W1 chip, but it definitely addresses at least two out of the issues, and probably all three …

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Apple hasn’t revealed the sizes of the camera sensors used in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, but a Reddit user has used EXIF data from the Sports Illustrated photos to calculate them. They seemingly reveal that the main sensor is exactly the same size as the one in the iPhone 6s, while the sensor for the 2x telephoto lens is somewhat smaller …

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9to5toys 

While Ireland may not want the €13B ($15B) the EU says Apple owes in underpaid tax, it seems other European countries do. Germany’s DW reports from a summit of European finance ministers that at least four countries have ‘expressed an interest’ in claiming their share.

Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem appeared to be first in line, warning Apple on Saturday to “get ready” to pay up. His comment came after a two-day meeting of his EU counterparts in the Slovak capital, Bratislava […]

Other EU countries, including Austria, Italy and France, are following the case closely, and expressing interest in a possible payout, according to Austria’s Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling, who spoke on the sidelines of the two-day summit.

There is already precedent for such claims …

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Apple is celebrating ten years of iTunes Movies by making bundles of ten available for just $10. The bundles encompass titles from five major studios across Comedy, Drama and Action Adventure genres.

At effectively $1/ea, a lot of these top tier moves from major US studios are no-brainer purchases, if only to have something to watch on airplanes or for the kids. Head below for a breakdown of all the deals:

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September 9

AAPL: 103.13

-2.39
Stock Chart

I gave my verdict on the iPhone 7 yesterday, and asked for yours. The majority of you – some 54% – said that the new iPhone was as expected. That’s not particularly surprising given than we’d previously reported almost everything we saw, but 28% of you were still impressed, while 17% were disappointed.

Impressed or not, though, the majority of those who took part in the poll are intending to buy the new iPhone. Interestingly, and perhaps influenced by the dual-camera, more than twice as many of you are opting for the larger iPhone 7 Plus than its smaller sibling …

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9to5google 

I’ve never been one to shy away from admitting when my first impression of a technology turns out to be wrong. I initially saw smartwatches as a solution in search of a problem, and didn’t think I would keep mine. It took just four days of use to make me think that maybe I’d hang onto it after all, one week in I was tentatively sold – and by the three-month point, I had to call myself a convert.

The only question this time around, then, was whether I was going to upgrade to the Series 2. The new fitness features sold it (and the Nike+ version) to Zac, but after almost 18 months of ownership, my usage patterns mean that I can’t see any benefit in upgrading myself …

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When Phil Schiller used the term ‘courage’ to describe Apple’s decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone socket from the iPhone 7, his choice of that particular word was probably not accidental.

It’s likely a reference to a comment by Steve Jobs when he was asked to explain another controversial omission of an established standard: the lack of support for Flash in the iPhone and iPad …

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electrek 

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