TIME Television

The Walking Dead Watch: ‘Strangers’

Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier and Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon. Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC—© AMC Film Holdings LLC.

Episode two is a mostly meditative palate cleanser before what will surely be a gory continuation

Episode two of the fifth season of AMC’s The Walking Dead is titled “Strangers,” but it might as well have been called “Meditations” or “Aphorisms.” The bulk of the episode is composed of multiple, one-on-one ruminations on the fundamental question (after basic survival) for our group: how to be in this world.

Carol and Tyreese, Rosita and Abraham, Bob and Sasha, Carl and Rick, Carol and Daryl all take part in these brief discussions at the beginning of the episode. Rick tells Carl, summarizing his world view, “You are not safe,” in pretty much the exact opposite speech of the one given every day by every helicopter parent everywhere. Bob, in contrast, comes to a more optimistic conclusion: “This is a nightmare, and nightmares end.” (More on Bob’s nightmares later.) Michonne, who doesn’t have her samurai sword anymore, expresses an anti-materialistic worldview. She doesn’t miss her blade, she misses her friends who have died. (I miss her samurai sword.)

The stranger we meet is Gabriel, a world-weary pastor without a flock. In Christianity, Gabriel is the angel of God’s revelation, the messenger who comes to earth to tell people important things they should probably know, like a holy low balance alert. He tells Mary about Jesus, for example. This Gabriel, in contrast, is anxious, frightened, barfy. He tells the group he is a pacifist, having neither killed the living or the undead since the outbreak. The writers, in other words, paired the group’s self-searching with the meeting of a character who supposedly should have the BIG answers.

(Gabriel is portrayed brilliantly by Seth Gilliam, who played Sergeant Ellis Carver on HBO’s The Wire. Though, given his illustration in the comics I would have thought another Wire actor, Andre Royo who played Bubbles, might have been a better fit.)

Gabriel leads some of the crew to a canned food repository to get supplies, while Abraham and Eugene try to fix a broken down short bus that, they hope, will take them to Washington, D.C. The cans are submerged in about four feet of water and obstructed by about a dozen very water-logged walkers. When a walker was pulled out of the well on Herschel’s farm back in season two, it was a terrifying and pivotal plot point. Now, melty zombie faces are just par for the course.

Back at Gabriel’s church, it becomes clear he is hiding something. He’d panicked at the food storehouse when he saw a walker wearing church-lady glasses and Carl has found scratch marks on the outside of the church, suggesting it was locked from the inside. Somebody also took the time to carve “You’ll burn for this” on the side of the church before being bitten to death. Rick tells Gabriel we all have secrets but that if his threaten the group, he will kill him.

What happened exactly, we’ll surely find out. But Gabriel is an interesting new character for a number of reasons. He recalls Graham Greene’s whisky priest, the ordained man with obvious moral failings. (Gabriel’s not an alcoholic, but he is obviously a coward.) Think Friar Tuck or Robert Mitchum’s character in The Night of the Hunter. He is interesting because his moral quandaries are singularly different from everybody else’s. He isn’t grappling with kill-or-be-killed. He’s grasping with his own failings, personal sin outside of the basics of survival. He’s a pre-apocalyptic figure in a way.

The show ends on a double set of cliff-hangers. Daryl and Carol see the car that kidnapped Beth last season and go on the hunt. Poor Bob meanwhile is captured by Gareth and some of the surviving Terminus members. When Bob comes to, Gareth gets his turn at answering the “how to be?” question, making the case for the ultimate pragmatism being cannibalism. In one of the show’s more deliciously gruesome twists, the camera pulls back to reveal that everybody is having a fine old meal on roasted Bob leg. Ew.

Zombie Kill Report
1 gun handle to the face by Michonne; 1 bullet to the head by Carl; 3 blunt force traumas to the head by Rick, Michonne, Carol; 1 arrow to the skull by Daryl; 11 sharp objects to the waterlogged face by multiple; 1 knife to the throat by Carl.
Estimated Total: 18

New credits!
Unless I missed this last episode, the credits have been redone to reference more recent and upcoming scenery.

Was Bob infected or what?
Moments before the Termians knock Bob unconscious and drag him away, he’s looking at the church and begins to ball. What’s up with that? Did something happen—a cut? a bite? pukey zombie water in the mouth that infected him? If that’s the case Gareth and company are not eating the finest quality meat…

TIME Apple

It’s Time to Seriously Start Expecting an Apple TV Again

Images by Fabio—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Everything finally looks like it is falling into place

Apple’s Oct. 16 “It’s been way too long” event was supposed to be all about updating products that hadn’t been refreshed in a while. And it was. The Cupertino, Calif. company unveiled svelte new iPads, an ultra-high-resolution version of the iMac, an updated Mac mini, and a slew of software and service updates. CEO Tim Cook also said that a software development kit to help programmers make applications for the company’s upcoming smartwatch would be available in November, ahead of the much-anticipated device’s 2015 debut.

About ten minutes into his opening remarks, Cook put up an evolution of man-style slide showing Apple’s line of products, from the Watch through iPhone and iPad, laptops and desktops. (Scrub to 10:00 here to see it.) One could easily imagine the same slide with an additional product on the far right: a television. That is a rumor that has been around for so long, that it’s frankly grown tedious to think or talk about. Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson before he died that he’d long wanted to make a TV and had “finally cracked” the difficulty of creating a simple user interface. And, earlier this year, Cook told Charlie Rose that television “is one of those things that if we’re really honest is stuck back in the 70s…this is an area we continue to look at.” (It’s also a product Apple already made, sort of, in the early 1990s.)

What’s changed is that television is more ripe for disruption as the ecosystem of companies around it—cable providers, content creators—try to position themselves for the future. And, arguably, Apple’s clout and ability to disrupt TV is greater than ever. A number of developments in the last couple of weeks have given the idea of an Apple television set renewed luster. Consider that:

Apple has the display. The television-making business is no picnic; just ask Sony, which has lost nearly $8 billion in the last decade on TV’s alone. But the new iMac’s display—which has an extremely high resolution—is the kind of game-changer that consumers might be willing to spend more for.

Apple is calling the display a Retina 5K screen. The high-end 27‑inch iMac has four times as many pixels as the regular 27‑inch iMac display, some 14.7 million pixels. The company created its own timing controller to drive all those pixels and is using a new type of screen technology, an oxide TFT-based panel, to deliver extra brightness.

Cable companies are starting to unravel. Two back-to-back announcements this week suggest the television content business is starting to change. This had been Apple’s biggest obstacle to creating a television device with a radically better way of watching stuff. As my colleague Victor Luckerson put it earlier this week:

By making these channels available for purchase individually, CBS and HBO are embracing the “a la carte” TV model, in which viewers would be able to select the individual channels they want to pay for and ignore the rest. It’s a concept that makes intuitive sense in a world where songs, movies, books and news can be consumed individually, on the go and at little cost. But the model poses a huge threat to cable operators, network owners and even subscribers. If every network did what CBS and HBO are doing, cable and satellite operators would have the core part of their businesses wiped out.

HomeKit is the new “digital hub.” In 2001, Jobs organized the then-struggling company around a new strategy. The computer would become the hub for consumers’ various devices, cameras, music players, video recorders, et cetera. It worked. Today, Apple is working on HomeKit, a framework that lets the company’s devices control smart gadgets around your house. (For more on the smart home, read all of this special TIME issue.) One of a future Apple television’s killer features could be acting as a central nervous system for all the wired lightbulbs, thermostats and so on in your house.

Consumers want it. The current product called Apple TV, a $99 set-top box that can pipe in streaming content from iTunes, Netflix, Hulu and other digital service providers, was denigrated as a “hobby” product by Steve Jobs in 2007. Last month, Cook said the device had gone far beyond that status and has some 20 million users.

And finally, Tim Cook’s Apple is ready. The company has shown it is willing to sign the death warrant for technologies it no longer finds useful. Not to mention place big bets in brand new areas where its success is far from guaranteed. Cook said this was “the strongest lineup of products Apple has ever had and soon you can wear that technology right on your wrist.” I wouldn’t be surprised to find that amended to add the center of the living room.

TIME Google

This Is Google’s Massive New Nexus 6 Android Phone

Bigger than an iPhone 6 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy Note 4

Google unveiled its latest phone, the Nexus 6, Oct. 15. It’s big. Very big.

The first device to run Android 5.0, codenamed Lollipop, features a massive 6-inch display, larger than Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. The device packs a Snapdragon 805 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera, and two front-facing speakers. It will be available in 32GB and 64GB versions, in either white or blue. An unlocked Nexus 6 will cost $649.

The new phone will go on sale in November. Google says the Nexus 6 will be available through AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, US Cellular, and Sprint.



The Walking Dead Watch: ‘No Sanctuary’

Walkers - The Walking Dead _ Season 4, Episode 6 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Gene Page—AMC

Rick summarizes it best in the season premier: It’s not over until every one of them is dead

Anybody who was hoping the stalemate viewers were left with at the end of season four of AMC’s The Walking Dead would be resolved by a civilized, diplomatic negotiation between mutually consenting parties is going to be disappointed by No Sanctuary, the first episode of season five. Anybody who was hoping for something more in the Death Wish vengeance, fuel tank detonating, flaming face-munching, backwoods cabin nihilism ballpark will be very pleased.

The Walking Dead’s creators promised a darker, more gruesome season five, after the group’s failed turn at rebooting civilization behind the walls of a state penitentiary last season. Andrew Lincoln, who plays Rick Grimes, recently told TIME the show is “entering the heart of darkness.” If the rest of the season operates on the same frequency as No Sanctuary, that will surely be the case. It was brutal from the first frame to the last.

The episode begins with a flashback. Gareth, the emo-sadist leader of Terminus, is in a train car seemingly identical to the one Rick and most of the others will eventually be trapped in too. The screams of the living being tortured outside echo inside the darkened car. “We were trying to do something good. We were being human beings.” Gareth says to explain why the Terminus group put signs inviting the outsiders that are presumably tormenting them in. “What are we now?” asks one of Gareth’s friends.

That question is the central one for the rest of the episode, possibly the rest of the season. On the one hand, we have the Terminus group which it is made clear was once a “good” community that was twisted into deceit and cannibalism. (The short version goes something like: they promised sanctuary, were overtaken by some bad elements, and had to become vicious to retake their territory. Along the way, they started eating the people lured to Terminus by the promise of refuge.) On the other, we have Rick’s group which has grown tougher but still has to decide what it will and won’t do.

At one point, Bob pleads for his life by saying, “We can put the world back to how it was,” referring to the supposed “cure” Eugene is taking to Washington D.C. Gareth responds dryly, “You can’t go back, Bob.” Whether or not that is true seems to be the central debate here. The case for not be able to go back, a.k.a. living by a traditional, pre-apocalypse morality, is best made by the Terminus member that Tyreese holds captive while Carol is on the hunt. This good old boy fatalist tries to convince his captor that everybody has to look out for themselves, or die. (Tyreese eventually smashes his brains out for threatening to break Judith’s neck, proving him right.)

Carol, rocking a kind of Princess Leia on Endor outfit, is the key to the Terminus prisoners’ escape. She lights up a tank of gas, resulting in the most spectacular explosion in the show’s five seasons and giving Rick, Carl, Sasha, Michonne, and the others a chance to escape. Aside from Rick, Carol is arguably the most interesting character on the show in that she’s evolved so much. She began as a meek, battered wife and has been: a grieving mother, hopeless optimist, calculating pragmatist, zombie killing arts teacher, substitute mother, outcast, and now, it seems, prodigal daughter.

This is also one of the most squirm-inducing episodes since the show began. Within the first five minutes, four people have their throats cut in preparation for group meal. Faces are eaten, walkers set alight. And we get a tour through a really unappealing human abattoir. (Which was grosser, the dangling bits of neck or the lazy susan of human flesh toward the end, you decide.) Ultimately, it all ends with some welcome reunions. The moment when Daryl and Carol see each other again is one of the most emotional since Rick was forced to end Shane in season one.

Zombie Kill Report
1 sharp object to the skull by Carol on the train tracks; 1 piece of rebar to the face by a Terminus member working the fence; 15 in the gas tank explosion Carol detonates; 1 by Terminus sharp shooters; 5 blown to bits by sharp objects as Glenn leads a raid on a cargo container filled with prisoners; 5 by automatic gun fire by Terminus forces; 1 by metal pipe by Daryl; 3 by brute force by Tyreese when he’s forced to protect Judith; 2 by blunt force by Daryl and Bob as Rick opens the box car door; 3 by knife by Maggie during the escape; 1 by knife by Tara; 1 by automatic gunfire by Rick; 2 by pipe to the face by Daryl; 2 by brass-knuckle knife by Rosita; 1 by handgun fire to the open mouth by Sasha; 1 by knife to the face by Bob; 1 by gunfire by unidentified shooter; 1 by baseball bat swung by Glenn; 2 by makeshift sword to the head by Michonne.
Estimated Total: 49

Was That Negan?
In the last few shots of the episode, we’re taken back to the flashback to tie up Terminus’ origin story. The antagonist looks a lot like Negan, the greatest, most fearsome villain in the comic book. Presumably, the Terminus crew took what they had back by force. But it might have been a glimpse at this.

Other Unanswered Questions
Gareth—still alive or dead? What’s up with DC? Eugene does not exactly seem like a genius. When he’s asked about the “cure,” he uncorks a jargon-laden spiel about weaponized diseases being used to fight weaponized diseases and a vague conclusion that humanity will be able to “fight fire with fire.” It basically made no sense, thought it seems to have convinced the rest of the group.

Walkers As Strategy
We’ve seen it before here and there, but this was the first time we saw the group using a horde as an asset in a fight. Over the past seasons, the walkers have receded into the background as the main source of conflict (and terror). Other living people and strangers especially have become much more threatening. But it will be interesting to see if the walkers start being employed as pawns between groups of human beings.

TIME Television

Everything You Need to Know Before Season 5 of The Walking Dead

"The Walking Dead" Panel At New York Comic Con
"The Walking Dead" Panel at New York Comic Con at Jacob Javits Center on October 12, 2013 in New York City. Laura Cavanaugh—Getty Images

There will be blood — a lot of it

The Walking Dead, AMC’s zombie-packed horror epic, returns for a fifth season on Sunday, Oct. 12. Unlike season four, which began in muted, bucolic tones, this installment promises to debut with total discord. Former police officer-turned-group leader Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his compatriots Glenn (Steven Yeun), Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green), Maggie (Lauren Cohan) and others ended the season locked in a boxcar by a band of likely cannibals and definite sadists. If you missed anything leading up to those final moments, here’s a guide to what happened.

For an episode-by-episode refresher, check out our recaps below. If you don’t have time to watch or re-watch the entire fourth season in preparation, focus on the bolded episodes below for a speed run.

Season 4, Episode 1: 30 Days Without an Accident
Season 4, Episode 2: Infected
Season 4, Episode 3: Isolation
Season 4, Episode 4: Indifference
Season 4, Episode 5: Internment
Season 4, Episode 6: Live Bait
Season 4, Episode 7: Dead Weight
Season 4, Episode 8: Too Far Gone
Season 4, Episode 9: After
Season 4, Episode 10: Inmates
Season 4, Episode 11: Claimed
Season 4, Episode 12: Alone
Season 4, Episode 14: The Grove
Season 4, Episode 15: Us
Season 4, Episode 16: A

Last season, most of the show’s characters eventually made their way from the ruined prison they had been calling home and toward Terminus, a mysterious community at the end of the line (of train tracks, literally) that promised to offer sanctuary. Signs for Terminus suggested a safe haven. Rick and company found anything but. Here’s the official synopsis:

Season four of The Walking Dead ended with Rick and the group outgunned, outnumbered, and trapped in a train car awaiting a grim fate. Season five picks up shortly thereafter. What follows is a story that weaves the true motives of the people of Terminus with the hopeful prospect of a cure in Washington D.C., the fate of the group’s lost comrades, as well as new locales, new conflicts, and new obstacles in keeping the group together and staying alive. Stories will break apart and intersect. The characters will find love and hate. Peace and conflict. Contentment and terror…

In other words, prepare for Tolstoy with zombies.

Rick. See below.
Michonne. Still a badass. Her relationship with Carl still seems in the zone of “that cooler, older cousin who introduces you to Morrissey.”
Carl. Last season, he showed he couldn’t hang with the kids anymore. Expect a teenager with child soldier tendencies.
Glenn and Maggie. They’re reunited, but death will probably come for one of them.
Beth. Beth appeared to have been kidnapped toward the end of the season. Daryl will likely go on the hunt once he can.
Carol and Tyreese. On their way to Terminus, presumably. Their run as substitute parents last season was about as successful as Hera and Zeus’.
Daryl, Sasha, Bob, Tara, Eugene, Abraham and Rosita. All in the rail car at Terminus.

Human-on-human cruelty. As the show has progressed, the walkers have receded into the background. What was, in season one, essentially a story about surviving the horrors of the living dead has now become a story about how humans treat one another a few years on from the end of the world. (That is, not well.) As Andrew Lincoln told TIME this week:

You can chart the journey of the show, certainly, in Rick’s eyes. Initially, the walkers were an incredibly scary proposition, and such a shock. Season one and season two and sporadically throughout the rest of the seasons, they have huge shock factors. They’re scary! In the wrong circumstances, they can be a real life or death threat.

The thing I’m more interested in, certainly this season, is the human factor. We are moving into a much more terrifying and psychologically scary landscape because the people that inhabit this world now, after two years, are either very dangerous, very pragmatic, or very organized, or all three. That makes for very interesting drama.

Rick as a man on fire. Rick has been a lot of different men over the past four seasons: a cipher for the disoriented viewer, an ardent optimist, a blessed peacemaker, a grief-stricken depressive, a tribal elder, a gentleman farmer. This season, the show’s teasers suggest a more vengeful, Old Testament Rick. Rick’s summation of being locked up was: “They’re screwing with the wrong people.”

Promotional artwork for season five seems to show a grizzlier Rick than we’ve seen before and, thus, probably some payout on the cliff hanger ending. After exploring the various aspects (and difficulties) of being group leader, a lot of fans feel it’s high-time the show got back to this version of Rick.

Everybody. Well, not exactly — but a lot of people will die. Currently, bets are being taken on when Glenn, the former pizza delivery boy-turned-group scout, will get the axe. He didn’t die until issue 100 or so of the comics, but when he did, it happened in the most spectacularly gruesome and devastating way possible. The teaser photos hinted this event might be moved up in the television version of the fiction. Characters we wouldn’t mind see getting eaten: Baby Judith (sorry, but a baby is annoying to cart around during the end times) and Bob Stookey.

The Walking Dead returns to AMC on Sunday, Oct. 12.

TIME Television

Andrew Lincoln: The Walking Dead Is ‘Entering the Heart of Darkness’

AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 5 Premiere
Andrew Lincoln arrives at AMC's "The Walking Dead" Season 5 Premiere held at AMC Universal City Walk. Michael Tran—FilmMagic

More importantly, what's the deal with his beard?

Andrew Lincoln, 41, is reprising his role as Rick Grimes, the leading man in AMC’s The Walking Dead, the fifth season of which premieres on Oct. 12. The show, which sees bands of frazzled survivors trying to navigate a zombie-laden apocalypse, has grown progressively darker (and more popular) over the past few years. A lightly edited interview with Lincoln follows.

TIME: When you showed up to the show’s premiere without a beard, fans freaked about what it could mean for this season’s plot. How do you feel about being the man whose facial hair can launch a thousand blogs?

Andrew Lincoln: I think I was quite clear on the red carpet that it’s one of three things: It’s either an extended flashback, I found a razor or I’m dead. I always knew that this season we were gonna need a bigger beard, but I had no idea the sort of shockwaves that being clean shaven would make. Going to L.A. for the premiere was astonishing. It sort of always is amazing and overwhelming and hysterical. We’re in this bubble for most of the year — being clean shaven did turn quite a few heads.

The fans are extremely passionate. Aside from the beard, what’s the most surreal fan experience you’ve had recently?

I suppose the first time I saw my face tattooed on somebody’s body. That was pretty overwhelming.

How do you normally get back into being Rick — get back into his head, aside from facial hair?

This is the longest I’ve ever lived with a character. This is my fifth year of living with this man, and he has changed radically since season one. It’s very interesting seeing my face again because the last time I saw it was four years ago. And my son [who is four years old] had never seen it clean shaven, so there were a couple of Skype sessions that were quite emotional, to say the least, trying to convince him that I’m still his father.

Playing this guy is kind of a roller coaster. It’s dependent on the scene and the people I’m working with. There are certain people that have been on the show just as long as I, and it’s a gift to be able to walk into a scene with them. There’s no work needed, you just look at the other person and you know the history you share, and you just start talking and listening. The scenes just come alive.

Because of the nature of the show, we lose a lot of people but gain a lot of great people. There is a sort of welcome that you have to give people, but there’s also a rite of passage. If you’re going to be part of the family, we generally beat you up. There’ll be some interrogation scene. You’ll get dirt kicked in your face and, generally, cuts and bruises will happen on your first season of The Walking Dead.

Which was harder to get used to, doing the gory scenes with the walkers (the show’s zombies) or the cruelty between living human beings, which has become the core of the narrative?

You can chart the journey of the show, certainly, in Rick’s eyes. Initially, the walkers were an incredibly scary proposition, and such a shock. Season one and season two and sporadically throughout the rest of the seasons, they have huge shock factors. They’re scary! In the wrong circumstances, they can be a real life or death threat.

The thing I’m more interested in, certainly this season, is the human factor. We are moving into a much more terrifying and psychologically scary landscape because the people that inhabit this world now, after two years, are either very dangerous, very pragmatic, or very organized, or all three. That makes for very interesting drama.

This season, there are some great performances coming from new actors, but also established characters that the fans love. And it just feels like we’re moving into a much more dark and dangerous area. It’s sort of like we’re entering the heart of darkness this season.

The Walking Dead‘s creators aren’t sentimental about killing off major characters. Rick is central to the show continuing, but does it stress you out to worry about your colleagues who might or might not make it?

Yeah, it’s the one bad thing about the job. Any other TV or film projects that I’ve been involved in, you generally get an ensemble and you stick with it and you bounce around all the different permutations of drama — and then it finishes. This is not that kind of show.

And it’s incredibly painful losing great friends and great characters. That’s the other thing I regret — you lose that relationship with those brilliant people. That dies with them. You’ll never communicate with them in that way again. Herschel, or Shane, or Laurie. It’s the only job that I’ve ever done that is like this, where the show’s DNA changes all the time.

The churn in characters has turned the program into an actor’s show (Sonequa Martin-Green from The Good Wife; Chad L. Coleman and Larry Gilliard from The Wire). Has that surprised you given what you thought you were getting into — a gory, action show?

I think it’s the greatest compliment that anybody could give us — the people working on this show — that the serious and really fine actors want to come and do good work on the show and join the party. I don’t think there’s any better way to compliment a set or a crew or a cast than that. This season in particular, I have to take my hat off to the casting directors. They’ve done an amazing job.

It is a double-edged sword. You make these incredible relationships and then you lose them. They’ll always be a part of the show. I was just laughing about it last week. The bonus is I get to work with most of the greatest actors in SAG.

Are you desensitized to violence now?

No. Funnily enough, I read a script for a movie recently and I couldn’t finish it. I was terrified. It was the most scary thing I’ve ever read. I had to phone my agent and say, ‘It’s really great. I think it’s going to be a hit. But I can’t do it because it’s too scary.’ It was unbearable. The show hasn’t desensitized me at all. I think I’m still as soft as the day I walked into the job.

TIME Smartphones

Take a Look at What’s Inside the iPhone 6 Box

The best part of getting a new device: ritual unpacking

Apple is launching its two latest iPhones Friday, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

Can’t get one today? No problem.Here’s a closer look at what’s in the box for the 4.7-inch version:









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 Gadgets

Hands On With the New Apple Watch

There’s a lot we don’t know about Apple Watch, the technology giant’s all-new wearable gadget announced Tuesday to great fanfare in Cupertino, Calif. How long will its battery last? How much will the toniest version cost? How exactly will it interface with the iPhone?

But, having gotten to wear and play with the device, one thing is for certain: The Apple Watch is a beautifully designed piece of technology with enormous potential. In fact, I’d say it’s the most exciting gadget since the iPad, from Apple or any other company.

The watch will come in two sizes, 1.5 inches (38 mm) and 1.65 inches (42 mm), and a surprisingly wide variety of colors and styles. Both sizes feel surprisingly light and solid. An Apple representative would not say how much the watch weighs exactly, but it seems lighter than Samsung’s Gear, which is about 60 grams.

It sits on the wrist very naturally. I have what might be called dainty wrists for a man, and even the larger version didn’t feel bulky. Unlike smartwatches currently on the market, it does not feel overly showy or intrusive, constantly begging for your attention. You could easily forget you are wearing the Apple Watch, and you will.

The Apple Watch’s sapphire touchscreen is slightly curved, which makes the device look more like a piece of jewelry. The screen, which was crisp and viewable from a wide range of angles, is flush with the rest of the device’s body. It attracts a lot of finger prints and smudges.

CEO Tim Cook and design chief Jonathan Ive spent a good deal of the presentation talking about the small nub of the watch called the “digital crown.” It allows you to zoom in and out of the interface and scroll through lists without obscuring the screen. The dial felt solid to the touch and scrolled with very little resistance, though on my unit it was disabled.

The bands are a surprisingly exciting part of the equation. They feature a design that is intended to make it easy to swap in and out, though I didn’t see this demonstrated in person. One of the models I played with had a flexible, leather band with built-in magnets. It felt a lot like toying with the iPad’s Smart Cover, except much more supple. It was very comfortable, as was a metal version.

In short, there is more to like here than any smartwatch yet. That isn’t saying much, though, considering how limited most of those products have been. There seemed to be hiccups in the software here and there. The gadget’s screen is supposed to distinguish between a tap and a more insistent press. But the so-called “force touch” glitched on more than one of the demo units I used. Of course, the devices on display were pre-production models.

In his keynote presentation, Cook said the Apple Watch represents many years of “deep innovation.” It also represents a bundle of promises and questions. The Apple Watch will be available starting at $349 early next year. We’ll have to wait until 2015 to get all the answers.


Apple Unveils Watch Wearable Computer

After months of speculation, the tech giant does not disappoint

After months of frenzied speculation, CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday introduced what Apple hopes will be the next must-have device: a wearable computer called the Apple Watch.

Apple is positioning the device as “the most personal device we’ve ever made,” according to Cook. “We love to make technology more personal and allow our users to do things they never imagined,” he added. The device will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

Now that the most-hyped gadget in the history of hyped gadgets is finally here, what is it and what does it actually do?

The basics: Apple took a computer, shrunk it, and slipped it into a curved watch casing. It runs a modified version of iOS, the iPhone and iPad operating system. It will come in two distinct sizes and a broad range of configurations.

Using a rotating dial on the side, called the digital crown, the watch can be manipulated without obscuring the screen, a major problem with other smartwatches. Its display is a curved touchscreen made of an ultra hard material. The screen technology can understand the difference between a tap and a more forceful press. The watch features a system that can give haptic and audio feedback, depending on how a user is manipulating it.

There are four sapphire lenses on the back of the watch that can detect pulse rate, for example. The watch also features wireless charging. There will be 6 different straps available. Straps can be swapped in and out quickly.

To make up for the smaller screens, the device relies heavily on Siri, the company’s voice-activated assistant.

Among the features executives demonstrated at the long-awaited unveiling: built-in software that tracks how many steps you take and how hard you are exercising, suggesting fitness goals.

Digital Touch, another app the company showed off, is intended to let Watch wearers communicate with one another. Users can send each other small, animated drawings that are transmitted back and forth.

And, much like Apple’s other iDevices, developers will be able to make apps for the device.

The Apple Watch is dependent on having an iPhone nearby to feed it information from the Internet or GPS. The watch will be compatible with iPhone 5 and 6 models. Whereas the iPad, when it debuted in 2010, was essentially an oversized iPhone minus the ability to make calls, the watch appears to be a companion device.

Analysts believe the market for so-called wearable devices is about to take off. In the next few years, people will be spending between $30 billion and $50 billion annually on wearables, ten times more than today, according to BCG Research. If they’re right, a lot of that will be the Apple Watch. Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty predicts Apple will sell about 30 million to 60 million shipments within a year, faster than any other new Apple product ever.

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