TIME

How Apple Is Invading Our Bodies

Apple Watch Cover
TIME Photo-illustration. Hand: Milos Luzanin–Alamy

The Silicon Valley giant has redrawn the line that separates our technology and ourselves. That may not be a good thing

For the full story, read this week’s TIME magazine.

With the unveiling of the Apple Watch Tuesday in Cupertino, California, Apple is attempting to put technology somewhere where it’s never been particularly welcome. Like a pushy date, the Apple Watch wants to get intimate with us in a way we’re not entirely used to or prepared for. This isn’t just a new product, this is technology attempting to colonize our bodies.

The Apple Watch is very personal—“personal” and “intimate” were words that Apple CEO Tim Cook and his colleagues used over and over again when presenting it to the public for the first time. That’s where the watch is likely to change things, because it does something computers aren’t generally supposed to: it lives on your body. It perches on your wrist, like one of Cinderella’s helpful bluebirds. It gets closer than we’re used technology getting. It gets inside your personal bubble. We’re used to technology being safely Other, but the Apple Watch wants to snuggle up and become part of your Self.

This is new, and slightly unnerving. When technologies get adopted as fast as we tend to adopt Apple’s products, there are always unintended consequences. When the iPhone came out it was praised to the skies as a design and engineering marvel, because it is one, but no one really understood what it would be like to have it in our lives. Nobody anticipated the way iPhones exert a constant gravitational tug on our attention. Do I have e-mail? What’s happening on Twitter? Could I get away with playing Tiny Wings at this meeting? When you’re carrying a smartphone, your attention is never entirely undivided.

The reality of living with an iPhone, or any smart, connected device, is that it makes reality feel just that little bit less real. One gets over-connected, to the point where the thoughts and opinions of distant anonymous strangers start to feel more urgent than those of your loved ones who are in the same room as you. One forgets how to be alone and undistracted. Ironically enough experiences don’t feel fully real till you’ve used your phone to make them virtual—tweeted them or tumbled them or Instagrammed them or YouTubed them, and the world has congratulated you for doing so. Smartphones create needs we never had before, and were probably better off without.

The great thing about the Apple Watch is that it’s always there—you don’t even have to take it out of your bag to look at it, the way you would with an iPhone. But unlike an iPhone you can’t put the Apple Watch away either. It’s always with you. During the company’s press event the artist Banksy posted a drawing to his Twitter feed of an iPhone growing roots that strangle and sink into the wrist of the hand holding it. You can see where he was coming from. This is technology establishing a new beachhead. To wear a device as powerful as the Apple Watch makes you ever so slightly post-human.

What might post-humanity be like? The paradox of a wearable device is that it both gives you control and takes it away at the same time. Consider the watch’s fitness applications. They capture all data that your body generates, your heart and activity and so on, gathers it up and stores and returns it to you in a form you can use. Once the development community gets through apping it, there’s no telling what else it might gather. This will change your experience of your body. The wristwatch made the idea of not knowing what time it was seem bizarre; in five years it might seem bizarre not to know how many calories you’ve eaten today, or what your resting heart rate is.

But wearables also ask you to give up control. Your phone will start telling you what you should and shouldn’t eat and how far you should run. It’s going to get in between you and your body and mediate that relationship. Wearables will make your physical self visible to the virtual world in the form of information, an indelible digital body-print, and that information is going to behave like any other information behaves these days. It will be copied and circulated. It will go places you don’t expect. People will use that information to track you and market to you. It will be bought and sold and leaked—imagine a data-spill comparable to the recent iCloud leak, only with Apple Watch data instead of naked selfies.

The Apple Watch represents a redrawing of the map that locates technology in one place and our bodies in another. The line between the two will never be as easy to find again. Once you’re OK with wearing technology, the only way forward is inward: the next product launch after the Apple Watch would logically be the iMplant. If Apple succeeds in legitimizing wearables as a category, it will have successfully established the founding node in a network that could spread throughout our bodies, with Apple setting the standards. Then we’ll really have to decide how much control we want—and what we’re prepared to give up for it.

TIME

Living in a Fantasy World

The Magician's Land
Illustration by Nick Illuzada for TIME

In an era of techno marvels, we still crave magic

When I was a kid, in the 1980s, Fantasy had, let us say, some unpleasant associations. It was fringy and subcultural and uncool. Not that this stopped me, or a lot of other people. C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, T.H. White, Fritz Leiber, Terry Brooks: I read them to pieces, and I chased them with a stiff shot of Dungeons & Dragons. But I did these things privately. In my suburban Massachusetts junior high, to be a fantasy fan was not to be a good, contented hobbit, working his sunny garden and smoking fragrant pipe-weed. It was to be Gollum, slimy and gross and hidden away.

But that has changed. Whereas the great franchises of the late 20th century tended to be science fiction–Star Wars, Star Trek, The Matrix–somewhere around 2000 the great eye of Sauron swiveled, and we began to pay attention to other things, like magic…

Read the full story here.

TIME Books

‘Booking’ Your Summer Travel

You may not be getting away this summer, but these books can take you places

In Flight

BOAC Stewardesses
Getty Images

Jet Set: The People, the Planes, the Glamour, and the Romance in Aviation’s Glory Years

William Stadiem

Remember when commercial flight was sexy? No, you don’t. But Stadiem does, and he’s got the cocktails, “skycoons” and sexy stews to prove it.

The Arctic

Arctic
Getty Images

In the Kingdom of Ice

Hampton Sides

The true story of the U.S.S. Jeanette, which set out for the North Pole in 1879. The voyage descended into disaster, but the crew fought on with a heroic determination that recalls Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken (8/5).

Majorca, Spain

Majorca, Spain
Getty Images

The Vacationers

Emma Straub

The Post family is in heaven—or at any rate Majorca—-but they’ve brought hell with them in the form of secrets and lies and insecurities of all kinds. Straub observes it all with wisdom, good humor and no mercy.

The Middle East

Middle East
Getty ImagesSheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

The Kills

Richard House

A colossal (1,024 pages) four-part novel of Pynchonesque ambition that starts with graft among military contractors in Iraq and follows the tendrils of corruption outward across the globe (8/5).

Provence, France

Provence, France
Getty Images

A Wedding in Provence

Ellen Sussman

Specifically in Cassis, where Olivia and Brody will tie the knot amid the splendors of the Côte d’Azur and all the tensions and drama that weddings inspire (7/15).

U.S. Virgin Islands

U.S. Virgin Islands
Getty Images

Land of Love and Drowning

Tiphanie Yanique

A sprawling, century-spanning story of love, family and magic that follows the changing fortunes of a ruined family and those of their troubled home, the U.S. Virgin Islands (7/10).

New Guinea

New Guinea
Getty Images

Euphoria

Lily King

A love triangle with three scientists in the jungles of New Guinea, King’s novel is loosely based on the life of Margaret Mead and rendered in suitably lush, steamy prose.

China

Xinjiang province, China
Getty Images

The Emperor Far Away

David Eimer

China is a vast place, with millions of people from dozens of ethnic minorities living far from Beijing, in regions where Westerners rarely go. Eimer visited the fringes and tells us what he saw there (7/15).

Japan

Japan
Getty Images

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

Haruki Murakami

At 36, a Japanese train engineer seeks out his four best friends from high school to discover why they all unceremoniously dropped him (8/12).

Sweden

Getty ImagesRural Sweden

The Farm

Tom Rob Smith

Daniel’s parents are peacefully retired in rural Sweden. Or are they? Suddenly Dad says Mom is psychotic and has her committed. Mom denies it and says Dad is lying. It’s up to Daniel to dig up the truth.

TIME Books

How a Book Becomes the Book of the Summer

Illustration by Ben Wiseman for TIME

And the most likely contenders this season

Most summers have a book of the summer, though not all do. We had Gone Girl in 2012, but I’m not convinced 2013 had a book of the summer. It’s hard to say why it happens and why it doesn’t. Some novels, when read in hot weather, just seem to melt and run together with their surroundings, to the point where afterward one can never quite think of that summer without thinking of that story, and vice versa.

We rarely see them coming, though after the fact it seems obvious. Of course the summer of 1991 would go for American Psycho, with its savage immolation of 1980s mores. Likewise it seems inevitable now that in 2002, the summer Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped, we should have flocked en masse to the icy brilliance of The Lovely Bones. But at the time, no one knew. If books of the summer have something in common, it’s that they tend to break rules: people pick them up because they can’t quite believe somebody actually wrote that and got away with it. Lolita (1958) rendered skeezy pedophilia as high art. John Updike’s Couples (1968) did the same with suburban adultery. Love Story: the girl dies. The Lovely Bones: the girl dies in the first paragraph. The Name of the Rose: OMG, I can’t believe how much medieval scholarship is in this book.

It’s impossible to predict it in advance, though that’s what we’re about to try to do, because the book of the summer is a surprise by definition. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in July 2007 and sold through the roof, but it wasn’t the book of the summer because everybody saw it coming. What really makes a book of the summer is when we surprise ourselves. It’s not just about being fascinated by a book. It’s about being fascinated by the fact that we’re fascinated.

The odds:

2-1
The One Plus One
Jojo Moyes
Pros: Single mom plus nerdy millionaire equals unlikely romance. And there’s a road trip!
Cons: Very few killer sharks.

2-1
All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Pros: Blind daughter of a locksmith meets reluctant Nazi engineering whiz! What more do you want?
Cons: Complex, lyrical historical fiction may not have the necessary mass appeal.

3-1
The Fever
Megan Abbott
Pros: Small-town girls hit by mystery syndrome. Tense, erotically fraught, has Gillian Flynn blurb.
Cons: Much adolescent angst. Are the stakes high enough?

4-1
We Were Liars
E. Lockhart
Pros: Rich people on an island; sharp, funny-sad writing; a head-snapping fourth­quarter reveal.
Cons: It’s a YA novel, so some adults might pass.

4-1
Landline
Rainbow Rowell
Pros: Keen psychological insight, irrepressible humor and a supernatural twist: a woman can call her husband in the past.
Cons: Relative lack of violence, perverse sex.

5-1
One Kick
Chelsea Cain
Pros: Child kidnapping victim grows up to become ass-kicking vigilante looking for other missing children. Boom.
Cons: A thriller but maybe not a rule breaker.

6-1
The Quick
Lauren Owen
Pros: Set in lovely, lush Victorian London. Plus: vampires, vampires, vampires.
Cons: Owen’s pacing is slow and artful—maybe too slow for some.

8-1
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
David Shafer
Pros: Genius techno-­thriller à la Neal ­Stephenson, powered by social-media info-conspiracy à la Dave Eggers.
Cons: Low-key romance may not play to all quadrants.

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