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Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--and Locked Us In

Da Capo Press
10/2/2012

Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--and Locked Us In Overview

Even Steve Jobs didn't know what he had on his hands when he announced the original iPhone as a combination of a mere "three revolutionary products"—an iPod, a cell phone, and a keyboard-less handheld computer. Once Apple introduced the App Store and opened it up to outside developers, however, the iPhone became capable of serving a rapidly growing number of functions—now more than 200,000 and counting. But the iPhone has implications far beyond the phone or gadget market. In fact, it's opening the way to what Brian Chen calls the "always-on" future, where we are all constantly connected to a global Internet via flexible, incredibly capable gadgets that allow us to do anything, anytime, from anywhere. This has far-reaching implications—both positive and negative—throughout all areas of our lives, opening the door for incredible personal and societal advances while potentially sacrificing both privacy and creative freedom in the process. Always On is the first book to look at the surprising and expansive significance of Apple's incredibly powerful vertical business model, and the future it portends.


Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--and Locked Us In Table Of Content

Prologue 1

Chapter 1 The Dream of the Perfect Thing 9

Chapter 2 A New Frontier 27

Chapter 3 The Always-On Society 43

Chapter 4 Skyscraper Businesses 65

Chapter 5 The Battle for Control 91

Chapter 6 Smarter or Dumber? 115

Chapter 7 For Better or Worse 133

Chapter 8 Disconnected 153

Chapter 9 iSpy: The End of Privacy 171

Chapter 10 Perfect Vision 191

Afterword 207

Notes 211

Acknowledgments 231

Index 233


Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--and Locked Us In Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A swift, engaging analysis of how the iPhone is changing the way technology is integrating contemporary society.

Wired reporter Chen asserts that so-called "always-on gadgets" like high-tech smart phones are ushering in what he calls the "anything-anytime-anywhere future," where consumers will become increasingly inundated with data and technological functionality. In concise, enthusiastic language, he argues that, however daunting, this type of progress isn't harmful since the advantages of devices like iPods are limitless in their enjoyment. The author issues a hefty caveat that users greatly sacrifice their personal privacy in exchange, however. Chen's narrative includes his personal experiences navigating life armed with an arsenal of modern gadgetry, including a soured online love affair that necessitated him to disconnect from electronic communications for a month. He ably traces the genesis of Internet search engines, web browsers and the "perfect device" itself, the iPhone—from its pricey emergence on the cellular marketplace to a high-demand, second-generation release complete with "App Store" compatibility. The author spends considerable time on the advent of these downloadable applications ("apps"), and, an obvious enthusiast, he extols their many benefits, from everyday conveniences like reading media online or booking a restaurant reservation and a taxicab home, to medical apps that could potentially save lives, assist doctors or find a thief's location or a missing person (via GPS). Chen adroitly examines the intricate nuances of the "always-on" society and intelligently puts forth a "realistic portrait of our future." He claims that while modern technology may be overloading us and enabling our compulsive tendencies, it has also created a "terrifyingly beautiful and exciting time to live."

A relevant, refreshingly charismatic nod to personal technology, its innovators and, of course, everything Apple.


Readers' Reviews


Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--and Locked Us In

Book Info

  • Book Format: Paperback
  • ISBN-13: 9780306820762
  • ISBN-10: 0306820765
  • Number of Pages: 256
  • Dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)
  • Approx Price: $14.04
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