Is There Any Good Reason Why Apple Should Pull The $1000 iPhone App?

from the USSR dept

Someone has created a simple iPhone application called “I Am Rich” which sells for $999.99 and simply makes the screen grow ruby red and offers “a secret mantra.” But more shocking than this apparent waste of bytes and money is a number of prominent blogs which are calling for Apple to block the application. This is ludicrous. If someone wants to part with a grand for a glowing screen, who is Apple to stop them? The application developer is honest and clearly states that there “is no hidden function.” It is not malicious, pornographic, a bandwidth hog, illegal or a threat to privacy.

And do these pro-regulation bloggers really want to have Apple assume the role of a Soviet ministry – designating appropriate prices for applications? Should Steve Jobs and company really determine the price of Super Monkey Ball? One commenter suggests that this application is an “insult to all the well-meaning developers that Apple made wait/are still waiting to get into the iPhone developer program.” The problem of slow approval is not a single application, but the way in which Apple is playing gatekeeper to the iPhone. Again, these complaints are asking Apple to decide which applications should receive priority review and approval – a slippery slope which places arbitrary values on applications. And by advocating that Apple makes the iPhone a more closed system, these opponents of the “I Am Rich” application may in fact be pushing Apple away from a business model that succeeds – openness.

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Comments on “Is There Any Good Reason Why Apple Should Pull The $1000 iPhone App?”

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70 Comments
Anonymous Coward #42 says:

Well...

You have to admit, it sounds like a fairly obnoxious type of application, one which could easily be classified as a scam, by the sound of it. I am glad that Apple made rules and is sticking to them instead of rewriting the rule book every time they don’t like something (hopefully, anyway), but I can’t help but wonder if something like this doesn’t break the rules somehow. Remember, Apple has to test and approve any app that is submitted for sale in their store. I’m wondering how they allowed an app to be posted for that price that doesn’t do anything constructive.

I’m not sure what is meant by a “secret mantra”, but this reminds me a lot of those idiots on ebay who, instead of selling you game consoles, sell you the information on how to acquire one of said consoles for dirt cheap or even for free. That is definitely a scam, and this sure smells like one too. I do think that Apple ultimately needs to get rid of it, but maybe not for the reasons the bloggers are preaching about. If it were me, I’d pull it because I would be trying to protect my customers from being ripped off.

wasnt me! says:

Re: Well...

You have to admit, it sounds like a fairly obnoxious type of application, one which could easily be classified as a scam,

obnoxious definetly, scam? no since “The application developer is honest and clearly states that there “is no hidden function.” It is not malicious, pornographic, a bandwidth hog, illegal or a threat to privacy.”

unless of course there are actually hidden malware type hidden function

Anonymous Coward #42 says:

Re: Re: Well...

Well, if it’s clearly stated (and by clearly, I mean glaring at you, not hidden in fine print anywhere) what it does and doesn’t do, then no, it isn’t a scam. You have to admit that something so expensive that does so little raises a few red flags. At least in my mind they do.

I concede that the chances of it from being a scam are slim, but the obnoxious part still stands. One could say that this is similar to city ordinances dictating certain rules about what you can and can’t place on your lawn, because certain things would be an eyesore that could detract from the overall beauty of the neighborhood. Sometimes such rules are necessary for the good of all, but such power can be easily abused, especially when common sense is overlooked.

I personally think that Apple has every right to take it down if it TRULY is an eyesore, but they need to be very careful about it if they do, because just because they have the right doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It could easily become a slippery slope that would lead to much nitpicking about the definitions of “offensive” and “eyesore” and so on. The last thing we need to do is start using Bill Clinton’s legal defense strategy.

On a lighter note, here’s an idea about improving the situation. Make a limited-time trial version available for like $10-20 or so. If the person feels he is richer after that, they can buy the full unlimited use version. Otherwise, they’re only out the $10-20 for trying. I for one think that would make a person much more money than the $1000 price tag, because for that little bit of money, most people will try anything. That’s why all these stupid TV commercial/infomercial products are so successful, even though they’re nothing but cheap crap. As long as you don’t have to pay too much, you don’t feel too bad about getting ripped off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Well...

Why would they need to bother with a limited version for cheaper? The app is clearly called “I am rich”, and most likely designed for people with more money than sense, who just want to show off how rich they are. Anyone with $1000 to throw away on a glowing iphone app probably isn’t ever going to miss that money anyway.

If people actually pay for this, then I say fair play to the developer. If even 1 person buys it, it’s a win.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Well...

Your analogy fails. City ordinances and community covenants on such things exist because the way your neighbors look actively effects the value of your property. No one wants to live/work/shop next to an eye-sore. But no one is going to not-shop at the AppStore because there’s a silly do-nothing application listed at $1000.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Well...

I’m wondering how they allowed an app to be posted for that price that doesn’t do anything constructive.

Why does that matter? I mean… Ok, so it doesn’t do anything; maybe you figure something like that, useless, should be free? So your only real complaint is that it’s over-priced. Well, OK, so what, it’s over-priced. don’t buy over-priced merchandise. But that doesn’t mean that Apple should can it. Should we stop selling CDs because $20 is more than the music’s worth? (That’s a rhetorical question.) If no one buys it, there’s no harm done, and if someone does buy it… so what? They guy’s clear about it not doing anything, so it’s not like you can complain when it works as advertised. There is no harm here. It doesn’t even take up shelf space the way physical merchandise does (which is why stores won’t carry CDs sold at $200).

those idiots on ebay who, instead of selling you game consoles, sell you the information on how to acquire one of said consoles for dirt cheap or even for free. That is definitely a scam, and this sure smells like one too.

No, it’s not. If they’re deceitful in what they’re selling then sure, I’d go with that — but if you’re just upset because someone’s selling something (information) at a price you feel is inflated (greater than free) that doesn’t mean they’re doing anything wrong. That information is useful, and if people are willing to pay for it, so be it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: First Class

Do the detractors also whine about first class airline travel? I mean, it’s just an expensive upgrade that doesn’t get you there any sooner than coach.

Not true! That’s why they put first class in the front of the plane, so that it departs and arrives slightly ahead of the other passengers!

Matt Bennett says:

It’s not a scam and there’s nothing wrong with it per se. But, particularly without an adequate way to get a refund, you have to admit there’s a little too much of an “accidental idiocy” risk here. I can imagine someone buying it, quickly looking and thinking it cost $9.99, without thinking too much about it. Granted, most people won’t, but someone will, and then that person is screwed. It’s essentially like leaving a large open hole in the ground. Yeah, most people won’t walk into it, but that doesn’t mean it’s really a good idea to leave the open hole.

If there was message upon clicking it “You realize this is $999, not $9.99, right?” or and way to get a refund, I wouldn’t have any problem with it.

Yakko Warner says:

Re: Re:

If it was $999, you’d have more of a point; but it’s $999.99, which in theory is a lot harder to confuse with $9.99, there being not just a decimal point, but two more digits in difference.

Although I guess I shouldn’t attempt to underestimate John Q. Surfer’s ability to misread clearly-printed prices.

I just wish I’d thought of it. πŸ˜‰

dad says:

Gated Community

The app store is essentially a gated community.
The people who visit and live in the gated community expect the gatekeepers to provide a certain amount of filtering.
Based on that, Apple has every reason to apologize to the residents for accidentally letting in a d!ck, then throwing him and his app out the door.

fermilab says:

You seem to forget

it’s not for people who are rich, it’s for people who think they’re rich. Truly rich people, those with F*** you money, don’t need these things. The people who want people to think they are rich can use this to identify each other. Beyond that, I’d like it to have a mantra that changes every day or it’s just not worth it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gated Community

Boy, that “gated Community” comment is really telling! Especially if you know the history of gated communities and that “certain amount of filtering” they are “expected” to do.

Tel me, who else shouldn’t be allowed into the gated community for the “protection” of its residents?

Joel Coehoorn says:

Status Symbol

Of course it’s a scam! But not really illegal. If you’re have the money and you want to buy the app just to show off that you can afford to spend a grand on a worthless app, more power to you. With that in mind, I’m thinking about building and selling a 99 cent app that glows a slightly different shade of red. For all those who want to look rich but don’t really have the cash for the $1000 version. I’d have to trade the color a bit or the original author would likely try to claim a trademark on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yep

I like it. It shows that Apple is trying to cater to the upperend of the spectrum. In a way these are status symbols, folks. Like buying bottles of Bordeaux from the 1700s, anything from LVMH company, Nokia’s Vertu line, other stuff like that. Sure there’s cheaper ways to do it, but if you have high net worth, why not pay more. Who knows, maybe the app comes with a $400 bottle of wine.

But as all status symbols are, eventually the free market will catch up and the general demographic of iPhone owners won’t want it. Let the free market economics dictate supply/demand. Besides, adding more hoops to jump thru to an already inefficient “branded community” process is the opposite direction Apple should take. Those who disagree probably cant get a iPhone, or work for a competitor.

Paul says:

Guys

The developer did this as a publicity stunt. In there, he mentions to go look at all his other apps which are much cheaper. He just got a whole crap load of free PR. I bet a lot of people are now checking out that app (obviously not to buy it though) and then figuring, why not check out his other reasonably priced stuff.

Don’t get mad at him because his clever trick worked. But again, its one of those things that will only work once, but I bet that won’t stop a bunch of others from trying (sorta like the million dollar homepage).

Anonymous Coward says:

“But more shocking than this apparent waste of bytes and money is a number of prominent blogs which are calling for Apple to block the application. This is ludicrous. If someone wants to part with a grand for a glowing screen, who is Apple to stop them?”

Kevin Donovan you are full of crap. I’d bet my next year’s salary your blog entry would be screaming the exact opposite stance if were Apple selling this rip off instead of an independent developer. What company in their right mind would allow some con artist to rip off its customers through its own store front?

Caveat Emptor is a fine philosophy so long as you don’t care about keeping your customers.

John Wilson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Thing is, that anyone fool enough to grab a $1000 app that clearly explains what it is and isn’t and not do some checking deserves what they get.

So sell away, if you can actually sell any. Heck, even the name says there’s something going on here as does the note about less expensive and far more useful apps that the developer wrote.

What Kevin is saying is that it’s not up to Apple to be your mom.

Grow up!

ttfn

John

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Editor’s Rating:
The XYZ iPhone application:
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Joseph Weisenthal (user link) says:

Ur?

“And do these pro-regulation bloggers really want to have Apple assume the role of a Soviet ministry – designating appropriate prices for applications?”

Hyperbole much?

I think the point is this: In light of the fact that Apple has a screening policy, it’s kind of ridiculous that Apple greenlighted this particular app. If the company had an open platform, then obviously there’d be no justification from blocking this app.

If you want to argue that Apple shouldn’t use a screening method for its app store — a reasonable argument perhaps — then that’s a separate story.

Kevin Donovan (profile) says:

Re: Ur?

Yes, Apple has a screening policy. Yes, I’d rather a truly open platform. But even given the current status quo, there are certain rules. Steve Jobs, in his keynote, explained the reasons Apps would be banned. Those included “malicious, pornographic, a bandwidth hog, illegal or a threat to privacy.”

I Am Rich is none of those. A closed system needs clear rules and Apple cannot be creating them on the fly – developers will flee.

And even if they made a rule that would ban I Am Rich, what would it be? You cannot charge more than we say? That is price control and we certainly don’t want that.

(And forgive the hyperbole; I felt it was fitting.)

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Ur?

There’s another hurdle that the company’s been clear about: quality. The screening process isn’t merely to screen for banned categories, it’s to weed out bad apps. A glowing orb that costs $1000 bucks? Yeah, apple is right in calling that a bad app.

You think Apple should be making that decision? What’s wrong with individuals deciding for themselves whether the price is appropriate or not?

What is the *quality* problem here anyway? The product works just fine, and it should be up to the buyers to decide if it’s worth buying or not.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ur?

Yeah, and who gets to field the calls from consumers complaining about this app? Apple, not the smuck who wrote this. As long as Apple has a monetary and reputation stake in the applications sold on through its store front it has the right to ban applications it feels are not in keeping with the quality it wants to deliver to its customers. This is no different then Sears pulling a $999.99 screwdriver off the shelf. The store owner gets to decide what wares go on its shelves.

Truthseeker says:

Is it possible iPhones are for idiots

Is it possible that a direct correlation exists between ones intellegence and the ownership of an iphone. That is to say, are stupider people more likely to own iPhones (I know both Paris Hilton and Rush Limbaugh own several and they are pretty stupid people)? I think if this direct connection actually does exist (between stupidity and iPhone ownership), then this application makes perfect sense.

Since the iPhones main market appears to be “attack-jocks”, “rappers” and “celeb-utaunts”, this application would appear to be exactly the type of thing that will accentuate thier solid gold bentleys and other extravengant “idiot bait” merchandise they love to flaunt.

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