August 8, 2008

The iPhone app that costs $999 and gives you a tiny gemstone icon that opens to a larger glowing image.

I Am Rich.

Apple removed it. But why? Is it a fraud?



It is what it is.
Created by iPhone developer Armin Heinrich, the original blurb for the... download read: "The red icon on your iPhone or iPod Touch always reminds you (and others when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this… It’s a work of art with no hidden function at all."
It's perfect conceptual art, now, isn't it?

ADDED: I paid 99¢ for the very charming Koi app.

37 comments:

3rd Way said...

Apple should be ashamed of themselves. Who are they to decide what their consumers can or can't waste their money on.

The iRich application is a brilliant statement. The artist should be pleased that Apple was dumb enough to pull it and give him/her a ton of free publicity.

Randy said...

Someone suggested that the app is even more valuable now that it is off the official market. Then someone else pointed out a little-known feature of the iphone: Apple can delete any app it wants to from any iphone anywhere. Not sure is either is true, but it would not surprise me given Apple's paternalistic culture.

rhhardin said...

AT&T for years kept every electronic connection off its network (hence acoustic couplers to modems) on the grounds that otherwise it couldn't maintain the network.

Apple is probably thinking similarly with respect to software on its phones, which perhaps is not protected as well as it might be against damage from other phones.

Bissage said...

The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.

UWS guy said...

How hard would it be to copy the design of that app and make it available for free?

They probably took it down because that's what happened.

m00se said...

Now, now kids.

Apple knows whats best for you, don't argue with Uncle Steve.

You will be punished by the faithful...

Windbag said...

It looks like the Chrysler symbol.

Richard Dolan said...

"It's perfect conceptual art, now, isn't it?"

Conceptual art may be a fraud, but it is never supposed to be obvious.

"It is what it is." Or was until it wasn't.

Sigivald said...

I saw speculation yesterday, somewhere*, that it was removed because people were demanding refunds (eg if they downloaded it by mistake or misread the price as say $10.00) and the developer pays the refund fees.

If the developer suddenly noticed he had to pay a few thousand dollars in refund fees more than he'd gotten from idiots buying the software, I'm sure he'd pull it himself.

* Daring Fireball? Tiemann's Blog? Not sure.

Fritz said...

Ann,
Your nephew will be on the 13th hole on PGA TV in a few minutes. PGA.com live stream par 3's.

EnigmatiCore said...

It's a flashy shiny thing that lets people know one has excess disposable income.

But enough about the iPhone, the application is a wonderful idea that should not have been removed. The only problem was the price- not nearly high enough. If it was priced 1000 times as much, then it would be as Steve Martin said. Paraphrased, "one sale, good-bye!"

Rohan said...

I rather doubt Apple or the developer want to eat the support costs or Visa chargeback fees to deal with this app.

Smilin' Jack said...

Apple removed it. But why?

Because they're ashamed that they didn't think of it themselves. A ridiculously expensive icon with no functionality--it's the apotheosis of Apple!

LutherM said...

The article is from The Times of London, a Murdoch sheet. The author, Lilly Peel, wrote "Cheaper than a Porsche, and ARGUABLY AS TASTELESS" (emphasis added).
MURDOCH employees seem to have a problem with discerning good taste.
A PORSCHE ain't even similar to some gimmick made by Steve Jobs' little company.

The Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet is, as Keats described

"A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness"

Palladian said...

"A ridiculously expensive icon with no functionality--it's the apotheosis of Apple!"

Oooh, sounds like somebody's jealous! Hey, the new iPhone is priced so the rabble can afford it. You can finally get one!

Beth said...

Rabble here. Got my iPhone a week ago, a day after the phone I'd had for four years fell apart at the hinge. It's delicious and I love it.

Conceptual art? Okay. If the concept is "I'm a stupid fuck with nothing better to spend money on and no taste whatsoever."

Original Mike said...

A fool and his money ...

Mark said...

The icon should have said "Wow, am I stupid or what"

Palladian said...

You're the good sort of rabble, Beth.

Here in New York City, one still has to wait in line for 2 hours to get a new iPhone. I'm stuck with my old, dented one.

Beth said...

Well, thanks, Palladian. I like to think so.

We took a trip to the Baton Rouge Apple Store for ours. The ATT stores in New Orleans all had 7-10 day waiting lists. Got there at 8 am, and the 30 minutes in line were just long enough to pick out a couple of cases and a Bluetooth headset.

My office mate got one, too; this is fun for me because he's always teased me about being an Apple user. We're the commercial: he wears a suit and tie every day and I am, shall we say, more comfortably dressed. Now, he's a big iPhone geek: the first few days he called me more than 50 times, including a few calls after midnight, to talk about apps and mail settings and what case to buy. I feel like an evangelist!

A rabble rouser, as it were.

Beth said...

Wait - how do you dent an iPhone???

Dave said...

Well, I bought the application and I am very happy with it. But then I like spending money on frivolities that most people cannot afford.

(If you don't detect sarcasm in this comment, allow me to announce that this is intended to be sarcastic, as I want to save you from indignation. Thanks.)

Ann Althouse said...

I think a non-stupid person could buy this. If other people know it costs $999, and it's visible on the home screen, just think of the conversations you could start. A man could signal to women that he has money to burn.

"You have the I Am Rich app!"

"Yes, I thought it was amusing."

"But it costs $999 and it does nothing."

"Oh, it glows a bit. I find that charming. And it made you talk to me. You know, you glow a bit and are really quite charming..."

Beth said...

Ann, are you saying that would be anything other than a stupid conversation? It's like an illustration of how stupid people mate! And then they'll breed more stupid people with money to spend on being stupid! It's like an endless regression of rich and stupid.

A much smarter conversation would be "You paid $999 for a gaudy animated gif to flaunt your wealth? How'd you get to be so rich when you're so stupid? That has to be a good story."

Beth said...

Of course, I have a few stupid apps on my iPhone. Just offering full disclosure, you know.

blake said...

You know, there are some people for whom $1000 is nothing. They feel about it the way that you'd feel about a penny or a dime dropped in the street, or $10 for an electronic bauble. It's worth more to buy it than to think about whether it's worth it to buy it.

That said, yeah, it was probably the likelihood or actuality of chargebacks that got them.

blake said...

Of course, the stinger to Ann's conversation is that the guy used the $1000 he needed for his rent, because he KNEW it would attract just exactly the kind of girl he wanted to meet.

So, he's borderline homeless, but it was worth it.

Smilin' Jack said...

Here in New York City, one still has to wait in line for 2 hours to get a new iPhone. I'm stuck with my old, dented one...We took a trip to the Baton Rouge Apple Store for ours. The ATT stores in New Orleans all had 7-10 day waiting lists.

Coincidentally, I just ordered a new phone myself today. It'll be delivered to my door in a couple of days. With my calling plan, it was free.

Of course, I can't watch full length feature films on my cell phone like you guys--I'm so jealous.

Conceptual art? Okay. If the concept is "I'm a stupid fuck with nothing better to spend money on and no taste whatsoever."

I'd say it's more "message" art. It's an enhancement of the message sent by the iPhone itself.

...just think of the conversations you could start. A man could signal to women that he has money to burn.

It doesn't seem conspicuous enough for that. Some large, heavy gold chains worn around the neck would be much more effective, as well as more tasteful.

Randy said...

You know, there are some people for whom $1000 is nothing.

True, but that does not appear to be the intended market here. The kind of person who wants others to think that dropping $1000 on such a silly thing means nothing to them sounds more like it.

Beth said...

Some large, heavy gold chains worn around the neck

Adorned with a single shark's tooth? Yikes -- I've met that guy.

LutherM said...

Ann;
I CAN ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEE THAT I WOULD GENERATE MORE CONVERSATION WITH A
Porsche 911 Turbo Cabriolet
(and it is certainly more valuable than over 130 "I AM RICH" i phones)

Revenant said...

And then they'll breed more stupid people with money to spend on being stupid! It's like an endless regression of rich and stupid.

I, for one, plan to get rich selling them stuff.

Palladian said...

"Wait - how do you dent an iPhone???"

By dropping it down the stairs. The aluminum on the back of my 1st generation iPhone got dented. But hey, it still works!

Pogo said...

"Wait - how do you dent an iPhone???"

By dropping it down the stairs.


Jeez.
I was hoping for something more romantic.

'Is that your iPhone, or are you just happy to see me?'

Beth said...

Revenant, good plan. One of the oldest tropes in literature is "something shiny" - if you offer it, someone will buy it.

Beth said...

Palladian, that's a good ad for the iPhone. I wonder if the 3G model is as sturdy; it looks to be more plasticized.

I bought an incredibly cheap little USB drive that's come out of its case, and lasted through a wash and dry cycle in my pants pockets and still works just fine. I love sturdy technology.

Beth said...

And finally, Ann: I love Koi Pond.