Always on: How the Iphone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--And Locked Us in
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Always on: How the Iphone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future--And Locked Us in

3.18 of 5 stars 3.18  ·  rating details  ·  124 ratings  ·  31 reviews
An intriguing, definitive analysis of technology's current all-in-one revolution, and a serious reflection on the social implications of an always on society.
ebook, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Da Capo Press (first published April 26th 2011)
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Justin Hermiz
this book was about how the iPhone is a revolutionary device that has changed the world. the iPhone has allowed people to do things more easily such as book a table for lunch, or be able to read first aid advice at anytime. the book just explains how the iPhone has created a , as the author describes it "anything-anytime-anywhere future".

the book was very informative, but i gave it a two, mostly because to me it read like a documentary. it was all facts and statistics and just about how the iPho...more
Melody
Overall, this analysis of the iPhone (and its followers) and its effect on our culture was interesting. I know mine has changed the way I used and retrieve information in a big way. I am old enough to remember a world without the internet, and having to walk to the library to find out who sang Brunnhilde in the Met's 1934 production of Die Walkure, f'rinstance. It's better now.

I found Chen's dogged insistence that the studies showing that the always on culture is not ideal are deeply flawed, whi...more
Socraticgadfly
A disappointment. Chen is a former writer for Macworld, and, while I could tell the book was thin by picking it up at the library, nonetheless, with the dust cover promising to talk about vertical integration, issues I’ve called “infowars” on my blog, I still expected a more critical eye on Mac. I agree with Chen about Android’s open source kind of biting back Google, but Chen appears to worry not that much about Apple’s semi-dictatorial vertical control, only enough to slap it on the hands as i...more
Corey Mcnair
Read it because I flipped to the best part while I was at the library. Yes, phones are diverting us from other people, yet they are increasingly essential to our daily lives. Hearing the author try and fail to live without using texting or e-mailing was interesting, but the rest of the book is comprised of dull factoids about iPhones and Droids that don't amount to much. At least it's a quick read.
Lauren Ruth
This is a fairly superficial book, and a very light read. But it does have some interesting nuggets.

Does the multitasking (or constant distraction, depending on how you see it) enabled by the iPhone bear any responsibility for degrading our ability to concentrate? It's a question worth asking, but the 3 or 4 studies of a handful of college kids cited here are not going to answer it. The light treatment and slightly defensive tone of this discussion is about what you'd expect from a guy who works...more
Aaron Jacob
A pretty good account of how mobile devices are affecting our lives and our society.

i've read two other books on this subject so far this year (i don't know why i never bothered before this year... i am a subscriber to wired and a habitual reader of gizmodo, i09, and other tech/sciencey type sites...) and this one was the most sober and straight forward of the lot.

You can't really compare it to Nicholas Carr's "The Shallows," even though it is in the same vein. Shallows is way more in-depth neu...more
Greg
I was expecting this book to be simply a list of the author's favorite iPhone apps and some cheerleading for Apple products, but it turned out to be much more than that.

Chen covers the iPhone beat for Wired magazine, so he knows the subject well. In this book, he gives a summary of the entire history of Apple and its development of the iPhone.

Then he tackles the question, "Are 'always on' digital devices that can answer any question on the spot good or bad for us individually and as a society?"...more
Nadia Aubin-Horth
I was waiting for this book to come out. I wanted to think about this topic and thought that reading the book would spark some thoughts on my own life and how I manage (or not) the "always connected" life. Having finished it, I think I can say that Mr. Chen is not sure if he loves or hates the always on life, which is interesting, since the book seems to try to look at both advantages and problems. What is less interesting, is that some arguments seemed to rely on little data, or anecdotal stori...more
Scottsdale Public Library
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author manages to keep a delicate balance between the technological/business and social aspects of Apple's iPhone and how those aspects come into play in every one's life--whether you own an iPhone or not. He gives enough thought-provoking information with only subtle pushes for the pros and cons of the iPhone's impact and implications. But just as he has you leaning toward thinking one way, he will gently show you reasons why you may go the other direction. B...more
Toni Chanakas
Great overview of how the electronic age has enhanced our daily lives. I liked how Brian did a study where he didn't use any digital media and how it was very difficult to work and interact. We have become addicted or smartphones and electronic devices are necessary to conduct business and to socially interact. It is so much easier to send a text or an email than to meet personally.

I was engaged from page one until the end where new devices will surface that is being done right now - augmented r...more
Cathie
I have had an I phone since it first came out. I have been amazed with the speed of my adaption.
-Have a question about the Nile river google it.
-want to take a picture than send it in a email, post it on face book add it with notes for later reference.
It can all be done in your hand. And I have many times a day.
This book talked about where we are today. Where we might be tomorrow. And some of the challenges that come with it.
Absolutly fascinating.
Josiah
Jul 03, 2011 Josiah rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Having read most of the cited works, there weren't a lot of new claims. Also the author's "maybe it's not all great or we should at least think carefully" stance seemed a little wishy-washy and irresponsible. I wanted to be slightly more convinced that at least the author had resolved a few of his questions before committing his thoughts to a book.
Arnav Shah
Well written and many interesting threads of thoughts, but felt incomplete and short lived. The examples are great, but there's little depth that hold this all together. This book is great to get one started in thinking about the way portable computers affect us. Coverage on relevant history is solid. Recommended for everyone that works with app phones.
Stephanie Moore
I had to skip to the end it 3/4 of the way through to see if any of the information presented was going to go anywhere. It just felt like lots of interesting factoids strung together in a way that doesn't really go anywhere interesting... not as "big picture" as the jacket notes suggest it's going to be. Boo.
Vicki
An interesting examination of how the iphone has fostered an always-connected lifestyle, and the implications of that change on individuals and society. I enjoyed it, but if you've been following tech thought-leaders and the best tech podcasts, you won't find too much new here.
nicole
Aug 24, 2012 nicole added it
Shelves: 2012, couldnt-finish
Picked this up immediately after finishing Half-Empty on a Wednesday night, but woke up with a raging head cold Thursday morning. Tried to poke at it throughout the day, but it couldn't hold my interest. Given the number of books waiting for me, I just had to let this one go.
Serge Boucher
I may not be the target audience for this, but I didn't learn anything from this book. The ideas are not wrong, but they're superficial and unoriginal — at least that's what it seems to me, but perhaps I follow the field too closely to be surprised ;-)
Jason
If you have heard the author interview then you already got most of the headlines for the book. Lots of sensationalism over how iPhone is changing the world... Really it is smart phones that are changing the world, the iPhone is only one of them.
Jessica Smith
I didn't read every word of this book, but I skimmed and read the best parts. It was really interesting... Especially the parts about privacy on the internet. It almost makes me want to shut down my Facebook account........ but I won't :P
Amethyst
Great technology book and I choose to read it as my summer reading book. I'm so glad I did too because it is the most informative, hilarious non-fiction book I could have possibly found! :)
Bill Donhiser
Picked this book up in the new book section of our library. An interesting read with good hypothesis. It asked more questions than it answered but worth the time to read.
mandy
Aug 25, 2011 mandy marked it as to-read
time for a new phone. Trying to decide if I should get another iPhone, or possibly just downgrade back to a regular phone. Obviously I can survive without it, but do I want to?
Frank Baird
A must-read for anyone using an iPhone or affected by today's technology. Oh, wait, isn't that everyone? Then everyone should read this book.
Joe Soria
meandering and jumps like a middle of the road 200 page blog post in the form of a book. obsessed with getting his always-on term on every page
Mason Jones
Splendid insight of how the revolutionary iPhone is shaping our modern lives in ways of which we aren't even conceivable.
Randy
Most biased toward tech. Does not spend enough time refuting the possible negative consequences to be "always on."
Leona
In a few months, I plan to upgrade my smartphone and this book brings on the question: iPhone or Android?
Kalina
Starts off with an interesting premise and a lot of enthusiasm, but goes off blandly to the end.
Gina Beirne
Very interesting and informative, especially in light of my own recent iPad/iTunes debacle.
Liz Bode
This started off so promising, but I could not finish it....due to boredom!
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