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

January 30

AAPL: 121.63

-0.32
Stock Chart

We noted earlier this month that Apple’s Campus 2 was starting to look less like a construction site, and the latest 4K drone footage from Matthew Roberts shows trees being planted and the finishing touches being added in some places as much of the heavier work has been completed.

Work continues on the canopies designed to shield the windows from the sun, with cosmetic work being done to those already in place as others are still being added. Some of the last remaining cranes on site are also still at work on the rooftop solar installation, which is now around 70% complete …

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Just two days after Tim Cook expressed his opposition to executive orders signed by President Trump to limit immigration, Bloomberg suggests that Trump’s next move could be to target foreign workers employed by Apple and other tech companies.

His administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year. 

If implemented, the reforms could force wholesale changes at India companies such as Infosys  and Wipro, and shift the way American companies like Microsoft , Amazon and Apple recruit talent …

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9to5toys 

Apple’s decision to limit the dual-camera setup in the iPhone 7 Plus to the larger model may have been driven by space constraints, but the move has apparently also been good for Apple’s bottom-line.

Cowen & Co sales estimates cited by the WSJ suggest that iPhone 7 Plus sales accounted for a massive 40% of all iPhone 7 sales. By way of comparison, the firm estimates that just 17% of iPhone 6 buyers opted for the larger, more expensive model.

That difference filters through into increased income for Apple …

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January 27

AAPL: 121.95

0.01
Stock Chart

I’ve been a photographer since I was 14, but am very much a novice when it comes to video. I’ve used bicycle-mounted action cams to put together some basic cycling videos, but these were nothing more sophisticated than taking clips straight from the camera, importing them into iMovie and adding cross-dissolves.

In an age when tech writers are increasingly expected to be videographers too, I decided it was time to take the plunge into the world of moving images. Although iMovie is a remarkably capable piece of software, I reckoned I was inevitably going to want to take the step up to Final Cut Pro at some stage, so I might as well make the transition now, rather than have to learn everything twice.

If you’re also a basic iMovie user with ambitions of getting to grips with more professional video production, you may enjoy sharing the journey with me. And if you’re an accomplished FCP X user, I’m sure that I and others in my position would love to hear your top tips …

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When Apple announces its sales and revenue figures for the holiday quarter – calendar Q4 2016, Apple’s fiscal Q1 2017 – it will answer one crucial question. Following three straight quarters of year-on-year decline in sales, will the iPhone 7/Plus have been enough to return the company to growth, or will the quarter make it a full 12 months of decline?

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9to5google 

Apple has issued a reminder of the earnings call for its fiscal Q1 2017 (calendar Q4 2016) financial report. As usual, there will be a live audio webcast of the call.

Apple will provide live audio streaming of its FY 17 First Quarter Results Conference Call using Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) technology. The live webcast will begin at 2:00 p.m. PST on January 31, 2017, at www.apple.com/investor/earnings-call/ and will also be available for replay for approximately two weeks thereafter. Live audio streaming requires an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with Safari on iOS 7.0 or later, a Mac with Safari 6.0.5 or later on OS X v10.8.5 or later, or a PC with Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

The big question is whether the launch of the iPhone 7/Plus and the holiday quarter will see a return to growth for the company after three straight quarters of year-on-year decline in sales. Apple’s own guidance suggests it’s expecting good news, while analyst sentiment appears to be mixed …

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If you were in any doubt why Apple was going to so much trouble to deepen its foothold in India, new figures from Counterpoint Research provide the answer. While the global smartphone market grew only 3% last year, smartphone shipments in India grew by 18%.

The growing middle class in the country also meant that, for the first time, there were no Indian brands in the top five as consumers start to spend more on their handsets. There was also good news for Apple …

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electrek 

January 26

AAPL: 121.94

0.06
Stock Chart

London is my favorite place in the world, but there are a few downsides to living here – and one of those is that some tech takes a while to cross the Atlantic. HomeKit was one example. Different plug sockets and using 240v instead of 110v means that we needed to wait for UK-specific versions of HomeKit-compatible kit.

I also had various items of non-compatible Smart Home technology that made it a little financially painful to go all-in on HomeKit. I was, for example, an early adopter of WeMo, with a socket switch for each of my standard lamps, all of which needed to be replaced.

But no self-respecting gadget lover could pass up the opportunity for voice-control – and that, plus the greater capabilities, eventually made the switch to HomeKit irresistible. This piece doubles as a diary of my own experiences and a how-to guide to getting started with HomeKit …

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Upate: Partnership on AI has now confirmed that Apple has joined.

A tech industry body established to agree best practice in the use of artificial intelligence had one notable omission in the impressive list of member companies. IBM, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon all signed up, but Apple didn’t.

The Partnership on AI was formed in September, with part of its brief to make recommendations in the areas of ethics, fairness, inclusivity, privacy and trustworthiness – all values you might expect Apple to fully endorse. But while the company didn’t sign up at the time, it appears this is about to change …

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9to5toys 

January 25

AAPL: 121.88

1.91
Stock Chart

A proposal for Apple to manufacture iPhones in India in return for permission to open retail stores in the country is ‘almost a done deal’ according to a government official. His comment to the WSJ follows a meeting today between a team of Apple execs led by VP Priya Balasubramaniam and senior Indian government officials …

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While Apple doesn’t reveal much in the way of specifics about usage of Apple Pay, consumer spending analytics company TXN has pulled some data from a panel of over three million consumers. It says that analysis of credit card bills from banks which distinguish Apple Pay transactions suggest that usage of the payment method grew by slightly over 50% in the 12 months ending December 2016.

The company also revealed the most popular bricks and mortar retailers and websites among Apple Pay users …

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9to5google 

January 24

AAPL: 119.97

-0.11
Stock Chart

A patent granted to Apple today describes how the company could use a modular Watch bracelet to add functionality. Each link could perform a separate function, with owners able to add as many active links as needed.

In one or more embodiments, a method for utilizing functional components of band system for a wearable device may include: receiving identifiers at a wearable device from multiple modular functional band links connected to the wearable device, determining functionality available via the multiple modular functional band links utilizing the received identifiers, and communicating with one of the multiple modular functional band links to utilize the determined functionality.

While the patent uses the usual broad terminology – suggesting that the modules might offer everything from cameras to additional power – Tim Cook has already hinted at the most likely application of the technology …

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Persistent reports that Apple is working on introducing long-range wireless charging technology in the iPhone 8 may be overly optimistic, suggests a new report.

Long-range charging would free devices from the need to be placed onto a charging mat, allowing them to be charged anywhere from three to twenty feet away from a charger. Bloomberg first reported that Apple was working on this tech almost a year ago, and there have been multiple suggestions since then of a tie-in with Energous, whose WattUp technology raises the prospect of iPhones being charged anywhere within a room.

Two particular reports seemed to add weight to this claim, as a key Apple supplier partnered with Energous before the company announced a ‘key strategic partnership‘ three weeks ago. However, analysts writing as Copperfield Research believe that Apple’s plans for the iPhone 8 may be less ambitious …

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electrek 

January 23

AAPL: 120.08

0.08
Stock Chart

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