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 Favorite Gear

May 11

AAPL: 153.95

1.32
Stock Chart

A supply-chain report from Korea Economic Daily (via The Investor) supports rumors that the iPhone 8 will include a 3D camera module capable of facial recognition.

The report states that the modules will be made by LG Innotek, which makes the dual-camera module for the iPhone 7 Plus, with initial orders worth around 200B won ($177M) …

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An Apple patent published today describes using iMessages instead of voice to interact with Siri in environments when speaking wouldn’t be practical.

This could span both ends of the spectrum, from very noisy environments like construction sites, where your voice cannot be heard, to very quiet ones like libraries, where you would disturb people by speaking. It would also be useful for people who don’t feel comfortable talking to their phone in public …

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Apple’s interest in cars dates back to at least 2008, when Steve Jobs and ‘father of the iPod’ Tony Fadell discussed the idea. Project Titan appeared to be the company gearing up to finally create an Apple Car, but things seem to have changed since the first reports.

Apple has acknowledged it is exploring the area, but of course declined to say anything specific about its plans. Tim Cook joked about dodging the question back in the spring of 2015, hinted a year later that the company was at an early stage in its deliberations, stating that ‘it’s going to be Christmas Eve for a while.’

The company’s enthusiasm appeared to wane later in the year when it ramped down recruitment before reportedly halting development of a car altogether. But that doesn’t mean Apple has lost interest in cars, and there have been some pointers to the company approaching it from a different angle …

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9to5toys 

Fans of The Sims got a taste of the simulation on iPhone and iPad from The Sims Freeplay back in 2011, but the freemium app fell a long way short of the full desktop experience. EA is promising to correct that in The Sims Mobile.

The developer says that the new mobile app will support all the features of the original PC game from 17 years ago …

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May 10

AAPL: 153.26

-0.73
Stock Chart

India may be a small market for Apple right now, but the latest Kantar data shows why the company is placing such an emphasis on the country. While worldwide smartphone growth is just 3%, smartphone penetration in India grew by 16% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017.

Purchase intention also shows great prospects for Apple …

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9to5google 

A design student whose work was praised by Apple as the company turned him down for an internship decided to take the feedback to heart. When Apple told Northwestern Uni student Jason Yuan they wanted to see more growth and training, he decided to work on this by redesigning the iOS Apple Music app.

The project began with qualitative research – talking to users in depth about their approach to music and their experience of the app – and led to what proved to be a key insight …

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The European Union is planning a new law to address what it describes as ‘unfair contractual clauses’ following a complaint by Spotify, Deezer and others.

While Apple was not specifically named in the complaint, Spotify considers it unfair that Apple takes a 15% cut of in-app subscription purchases, arguing that this makes it less competitive against Apple Music

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Case manufacturer Urban Armor Gear appears to be preparing a case for the rumored 10.5-inch iPad Pro. A stock system at an Apple Authorized Reseller shared with 9to5Mac shows a UAG Metropolis Folio Case ‘for iPad 10.5-inch’ in three color combinations, with availability listed as June 2017 …

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electrek 

May 9

AAPL: 153.99

0.98
Stock Chart

Apple is planning a worldwide overnight ‘refresh’ of its older retail stores on the night of May 16, according to our own sources. We understand that this is specifically for older and smaller stores that aren’t suitable for the full redesign we’ve seen in flagship stores.

We got our first look at a whole new design for major Apple Stores back in 2015, when the Jony Ive design was shown to the press in Brussels, Belgium. Retail head Angela Ahrendts also showed off the new features ahead of the opening of San Francisco’s Union Square store. These include rows of trees with surrounding seating (the ‘Genius Grove’), a huge display screen and power sockets that rise out of the tables when you wave your hand …

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A special budget edition of the iPhone 6 originally created for India and subsequently seen in a number of other countries before it hit the U.S. is now available for just $200 without a contract.

When the iPhone 6 was launched, it was available only in 16/64/128GB tiers, but a 32GB Space Gray model went on sale in India last month before showing up in other countries including the United States. AT&T offered it for $345, but Virgin Mobile is now offering it for just $199.99 as a promo price …

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Some sources suggest that distracted driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. The National Highway & Transportation Administration (NHTSA) reported that in 2015, the most recent year for which full data is available, distracted driving killed 3,477 people and injured 391,000.

Using smartphones while driving is the most obvious example of distracted driving, and the NHTSA says that reading or sending a text is the most dangerous form. That’s partly because of the length of time a driver’s eyes are off the road, but also partly because many people find a text hard to ignore.

Hard-hitting videos, like the examples below, definitely help – if you can get people to watch them. But I believe one simple addition to iOS could also play a part …

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When a company has a market cap of around $800B and is sitting on cash reserves of more than $250B, it’s not surprising that we hear continual speculation about some kind of mega acquisition. In Apple’s case, the three usual suspects are Netfix, Tesla and Disney – the latter most recently pitched by RBC last month, the former just last week by Citigroup.

Each has an obvious logic, as UBS acknowledges, but the bank believes that a ‘surprising’ mega-acquisition is a more likely bet …

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9to5toys 

May 8

AAPL: 153.01

4.05
Stock Chart

As regular readers may recall, I’m a long-time user of home automation technology who made the decision to go all-in on HomeKit in the new year. I only waited that long because it takes a bit of time to get UK-compatible versions of quite a lot of devices.

I’ve been documenting the process in my Smart Home Diary series. For me, as a gadget lover, it’s been a no-brainer.

But even for a techie, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. There have been some irritations, and there is definite scope for improvement. Having had time to reflect on the transition and the experience, I’m concluding that while HomeKit is great fun for techies, it’s not quite ready for the mass-market …

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It was in September of last year that we first heard that Apple was in talks to open an Apple Store in Washington D.C.’s famous Carnegie Library, with more details emerging later in the year. The company has now revealed more of its plans as it prepares for a presentation this evening …

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Might Apple use a Mac Pro-inspired design for its Siri Speaker?
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As Apple is believed to be working on its own ‘Siri speaker‘ product, research firm eMarketer has predicted that the U.S. market for voice-controlled speakers will double this year.

The number of active U.S. users will more than double for the devices this year, to 35.6 million, eMarketer said.

Reuters reports that in the market currently dominated by Amazon and Google, there is currently a clear leader …

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9to5google 

If you downloaded the popular video converter Handbrake last week, your Mac may be infected with a nasty trojan. The developer said over the weekend that one of the mirror sites used to download the app was hacked, with the real app replaced by a trojan that gives root access …

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electrek 

May 5

AAPL: 148.96

2.43
Stock Chart

Data from App Annie shows that the average smartphone owner spends 2 hours and 15 minutes a day using apps – the equivalent of one month a year. The average person has 60-90 apps installed on their phone, using around 30 of them each month and launching 9 per day.

Utilities and Tools led the way thanks to numerous pre-installed apps, such as Safari on iOS and Google on Android. After pre-installed apps, some of the largest categories by average apps used are Social Networking, Communication, and Social. This underscores the continued importance of social categories to marketing efforts for all types of apps.

The time spent using apps varied dramatically depending on the type of app …

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