By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, August 5, 2008 at 4:16 pm
iPhone developer Armin Heinrich has released an application for the iPhone with two noteworthy characteristics:
1) Its primary function is to display a handsome glowing red jewel on your iPhone’s screen:
2) It sells on Apple’s App Store for $999.99, thereby explaining its name: I Am Rich:
(Okay, it does have one other feature: If you touch the “i” in the lower right-hand corner, you get “a secret mantra…[which] may help you to stay rich, healthy, and successful.” Unless Heinrich decides to hand out reviewer’s copies of I Am Rich, I may never learn what that mantra is.)
Heinrich, incidentally, also sells an iPhone calculator app which, at $4.99, most likely appeals to a wider, less well-heeled audience.
Apple’s policy for approving or rejecting iPhone apps has been a bit fuzzy: It keeps approving and unapproving Nullriver’s NetShare tethering utility, and pulled the seemingly innocuous Box Office movie info app. It seems possible that whatever person or automated system put I Am Rich on the App Store was asleep at the proverbial wheel. But if I it stays up–and I have to confess that the jokester in me kinda-sorta hopes it does–one thing’s clear: Practical jokes are acceptable.
At first, all this reminded me of the days when lots of wiseacres put stuff on eBay ranging from babies to kidneys to pieces of space station Mir to their own souls. The auctions sometimes got bids in the thousands, tens of thousands, or millions of dollars; eBay tended to look askance at such hijinks, and shut down the sales as quickly as it could. But those auctions differed from Heinrich’s offering in at least two crucial ways: The items in question were usually illegal or impossible to sell, and “bids” were clearly pranks that eBay would never have enforced.
Heinrich’s app. on the other hand, is real and seemingly clearly explained, and the App Store presumably automatically charges your credit card once you agree to buy it. Wonder if anyone who isn’t rich has been silly and/or bold enough to make the purchase?
(Via Daring Fireball’s John Gruber on Twitter.)
Further thought: Other than me, most of the people who are blogging about this seem to think it’s an obnoxious travesty, and possibly insulting to iPhone developers who are trying to sell real apps. The non-jokester in me see the point. Betcha it gets pulled down–if nothing else, the hassle of dealing with anyone who “accidentally” buys it isn’t worth the pain for Apple…and neither is the distraction from all the useful, worth-the-money iPhone apps out there.
Further further thought @ 8:19pm: Hey, let’s conduct a poll!
Further further thought @ 4:26pm on 8/6: I Am Rich is now missing from the App Store. Big surprise!