Apple

“The Shadow State Is Not Really a Shadow State”: How Surveillance Anxiety Is Shaping Pop Culture

Someone is always watching.

For the longest time, that idea underpinned grim visions of a totalitarian future in books and movies, from Nineteen Eighty-Four to The Hunger Games — cautionary tales about the fate awaiting a citizenry that allows itself to be deceived by the people in power.

Then the future arrived, and it turned out those bleak fantasies of an all-seeing surveillance state weren’t so farfetched: in the post-9/11 world, someone really is watching, be it Facebook mapping your life’s history for the sake of advertising dollars, or the National Security Agency keeping tabs on your phone calls and text messages in the name of freedom. … Read More

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Book Publishing Predictions for 2015

What will book publishing bring in 2015? Shrouded as the industry is behind a veil woven of billions and billions of dollars, it’s difficult to say. But if you look hard enough — at the bestseller lists, the court cases, the controversies — you can glimpse through the metaphorical keyhole and into the back rooms where the deals are made. With this in mind, here is a somewhat reliable predictor for the publishing industry in 2015. … Read More

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2014: The Year Music Actually Did Something About Its Tech Skepticism

U2 force-fed their new album to the world for free and ended up the enemy. Taylor Swift took hers away and ended up a hero.

Swift changed her narrative in 2014, and it wasn’t about ditching country or dating out of the public eye. She became the face of skepticism over how technology has changed music, during a year when the streaming music economy was debated more than ever — not only among artists, whose wellbeing is affected greatly, but in the court of public opinion as well. … Read More

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U2’s ‘Songs of Innocence’ iTunes Release Was About Relevance, Not Altruism

In 2014, it takes Apple and U2 to pull off a musical monoculture that rivals both Beyoncé’s 2013 sneak attack and Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want In Rainbows launch. The tech giants and the world-dominating rockers continued their decade-long business collaboration in a big way yesterday during the launch of Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and two different versions of the iPhone 6. Unbeknownst to the masses, Apple released U2’s unannounced but highly anticipated new album, Songs of Innocence, straight into the music library of every iTunes user worldwide. “This will be the largest album release in history. Over a half-billion people own it. Right now,” Apple CEO Tim Cook announced, before Bono and co. closed out the presentation at Apple’s Cupertino, California campus with the album’s opening track, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” … Read More

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A Music Hoarder’s Eulogy for the iPod Classic

So there was an Apple event this week. Didja hear? There was a bit of coverage. Most of it focused on the zippy new iPhone 6, or the totally logical and necessary iWatch (seriously, I stopped wearing watches because of my iPhone, the snake is eating its own tail here), or the surprise free album by U2. But it also marked the official end of the “iPod Classic” — which, like Coca-Cola Classic, used to just be the damn iPod — and nobody seems to care all that much. Am I the only one who mourns for the… Read More

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Kanye West’s Secret Weapon Is His Versatility

Late last year, in what seemed like a lost bet with his label Def Jam, Kanye West did a nationwide commercial radio tour. I’m not talking about the next-level Zane Lowe BBC interview everyone raved over, I’m talking about Kanye going to pop and “urban”-format radio stations with cheesy DJs in nearly every major market where his Yeezus Tour stopped. Some of these interviews made headlines, but mostly the DJs were intimidated by Kanye and let him ramble on about whatever he damn well pleased, be it Adidas or Kardashians. … Read More

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What the Hell Just Happened to My iPhone?

Yesterday evening, I shut myself off from the world for about an hour while I downloaded iOS7. When my phone was updating, I sat around without much to do — no one to text, no way to tweet, no Siri to consult — and waited patiently. I had avoided all of the spoilers yesterday about what the update would look like (this is sort of like my personal Breaking Bad), and was anticipating the major changes my phone would bring. Finally, the slow update process finished, and I started swiping my screen. And I didn’t recognize anything at all. … Read More

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