Wednesday, September 25, 2013
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Monday, September 23, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
J. Cole’s Born Sinner has outsold Kanye West’s Yeezus by several thousand units, and he doesn’t seem to care. “I don’t wake up every day like, ‘I got a great status in the rap game.’ No, I feel behind. I don’t feel like I’ve done enough,” he explains over the phone. It’s press day for Cole’s involvement with Ubisoft title, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, and clearly he has a lot more on his mind than video games.
“I’m not a gamer, but in my heart I wish I could be. I got a homeboy that wakes up everyday, smokes, and plays Xbox Live. Sometimes I look at him like, ‘I would pay to be you for two days,’ but I would feel guilty like I’m missing out on creativity or something,” he continues. “It’s funny, because Splinter Cell was the last game that I ever had or ever even cared about, my sophomore year of college. The reason why I got into it so crazy was the online play.”
These days, J. Cole’s career is a lot different from how it was in college. His “Power Trip” single is certified platinum, his new album is certified gold, he just kicked off his What Dreams May Come tour to a sold-out crowd of 4,000 on opening night, and his Dreamville Foundation is sending kids from his community back to school with new backpacks and supplies. Of course he doesn’t have time to play video games.
“I only get brief moments to appreciate things. I might get a two minute thought of like, ‘Wow, you really did sell more than Kanye. You currently have sold more records than Kanye West’s album, which came out the same day.’ Then I’m back to focusing on what’s next.”
In this case, his new single, “Crooked Smile,” is what’s next. The TLC-featured track just broke into the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, and currently sits at a peak position of No. 37. Now, with the momentum picking up, he’s releasing the short film music video. The visual is directed by Sheldon Candis, and dedicated to the memory of Aiyana Jones, an innocent seven-year-old killed during a 2010 police raid in Detroit. The message-heavy clip examines the impact of racial profiling. This is part of his occupation he enjoys the most. “I don’t live for the accolades. I’m more so about the music. Making it, and putting it out. Those are the two best feelings.”
The wins are accumulating, but J. Cole still has a way to go before he can lay claim to winning over the vast majority of rap fans. There’s still significant criticism levied at his approach to music, with many hecklers spinning the recurring joke that his music is boring enough to put you to sleep. But Cole knows that, and yes, he sees those jabs on Twitter. “It’s funny, but it’s sad. Everybody has their own style of music that they like. I could never let that affect me in the way I make music. The people who like Soul Plane are probably gonna think Shawshank Redemption is boring. It’s not the end of the world.”
J. Cole’s tactic is apathy. In the age of social media, it’s impossible to avoid seeing comments both positive and negative, but his game is not placing too much stock into them. “I just gotta disconnect from it, man. You can’t be a commentator and a player at the same time. I don’t have the energy anymore to care about the small talk. It’s cool that people care, because five years ago, nobody cared, but I don’t care about the chattering. It’s becoming more and more like noise to me.”
Some of the loudest chatter of the year comes in light of Kendrick Lamar’s name-calling tirade of a verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” J. Cole’s inclusion on the list of MCs whom Kendrick Lamar is “trying to murder” in particular raises an eyebrow because, for the longest, the two were in cahoots to release a collaborative project. Earlier this year, Cole called his still unreleased work with Kendrick “mad competitive,” and maintains a similar outlook on recent developments. Other than that, he has little to say about the subject.
“That’s rap, man. That’s rap music. That’s a part of the game. It’s natural. It’s fine,” he says as the call is ending. He’s sounds a little annoyed, but far from worried. One gets the sense that J. Cole has his journey mapped out, and perhaps getting called out by Kendrick puts some pressure on him to execute, but it doesn’t interfere with his vision for how he’ll go about it. When asked if he thinks that he’s the best rapper out, Cole confirms that he does: “That’s the feeling. That’s how I feel, period.” The next step is getting everyone else to agree.
Ernest Baker is a writer living in Los Angeles. He's on Twitter - @ernestbaker_
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Just like clockwork, Apple has now updated its website with new material related to today’s announcements. The flagship 5s has received a substantial upgrade and with much of the attention surrounding its fingerprint scanning feature, the company has made a little video explaining how they integrated the sensitive fingerprint reader into the Home button while giving us an overview of how Touch ID works. I’ve included it for your viewing pleaser right after the break, have a look right now…
Apple SVP of Design, Jonathan Ive, and SVP of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio, will take it from here.
What do you think about Touch ID?
It looks like Ming-Chi Kuo was right. The KGI Securities analyst predicted, as did a few others, that Apple would be discontinuing the 5 alongside the launch of the iPhone 5s and 5c today. And they did.
It seems that the iPhone 5c, which starts at $99 on contract, has completely replaced the 5, and Apple will cease selling it after this month. Oddly enough, however the company is keeping the iPhone 4S around…
The 4S will be priced similar to the way the current is now: free on contract. It’s odd that Apple chose to keep a 30-pin, 3.5-inch display device around, but perhaps the margins weren’t high enough on the 5 to get rid of it.
Note that the 4S model is of the 8GB variety, which is kind of low, but the device is still a steal at $0. It has an 8MP camera, a formidable A5 processor, and will come with solid software features thanks to iOS 7—including an improved Siri.
What do you think of Apple’s move to drop the iPhone 5 and keep the 4S around? Smart/not-so-smart?
A last-minute leak from our friends over at the French blog Nowhereelse.fr suggested that Apple would refer to the rumored 5S fingerprint sensor as Touch ID. The rumors were true: firs revealed the top-end iPhone 5S which has a much-improved camera and runs two times faster A7 chip that’s 64-bit (the first for a phone) and a new motion chip called M7.
The executives saved the best part for the end of the presentation. the built-in fingerprint scanning feature which draws from Apple’s 2012 acquisition of the Israeli biometric sensor experts AuthenTec. Jump past the fold for the full reveal..
In another potential breakthrough – and in accordance with leaks, patents and rumors – the fingerprint sensor is integrated right into the Home button’s silver ring. Confirming rumor-mill chatter, the sensor allows users to log in more quickly and with greater security.
The sensor itself is 170 microns thin and is based on capacitive touch technology with a whopping 500 points per inch resolution which allows it to scan sub-epidermal skin layers in a 360-degree freedom. In other words, no matter how you swipe with your finger over the Home button, Touch ID just works.
Another great feature: instead of entering your iTunes credentials each time you want to buy a new app or other content from the iTunes Store, iOS 7 simply puts up a prompt asking to scan your fingerprint.
That’ll be a huge time-saver!
Touch ID works in tandem with the underlying iOS 7 technologies and features like Activation Lock to prevent unauthorized access for thieves. Apple assures that it stores your fingerprint on the device and says it never backs it up to the cloud.
This is another seismic shift in mobile.
Biometric security is important and with nearly half a billion iTunes accounts with credit cards enabled for one-click purchasing, the sky is the limit. While Apple did not talk about using fingerprint sensor to authenticate real-life purchases, we have no doubt in our minds that they will be rolling additional features over time.
Right now, only the iPhone 5S has Touch ID, but with new iPads reportedly up for an introduction next month we think it’s only a matter of time before every iOS devices included biometric security as standard feature.
The plastic iPhone 5C won’t ship with the sensor because it doesn’t have a fast A7 chip.
So, is Touch ID a killer feature?
According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the rumors are true, Apple is going to introduce a tomorrow morning with a fingerprint sensor built into the Home button.
In a last minute scoop, the news outlet says it has confirmed with “people familiar with the matter” that the much talked about feature will indeed be present in at least one of Apple’s new handsets…
The Journal’s Danny Yadron reports:
“Placing a finger on a computer or smartphone has long been proposed as a way to avoid the need for passwords to authenticate users of computers and other devices. People familiar with the matter said last week that Apple will include a fingerprint scanner on the more expensive of two it is expected to unveil Tuesday at an event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.”
Analysts and industry insiders have long been calling for this year’s , believed to be the iPhone 5S, to house a fingerprint sensor. But up to this point, we’ve seen remarkably little evidence of it. The Journal’s confirmation, however, adds a fair amount of weight to theory. So we wouldn’t bet against the idea.
Apple purchased fingerprint-reader specialist AuthenTec in 2012, and owns all kinds of patents on related tech. Embedding fingerprint sensors into mobile devices isn’t new, but it has thus far proven unsuccessful. Yadron believes that both reliability and ease-of-use will help Apple succeed where others failed.
We’ll find out for sure in less than 12 hours. Apple’s iPhone media event is slated to begin tomorrow morning at 10am PST. We’ll, of course, be covering the keynote live. So be sure to join us!
Top concept image credit Martin Hajek
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