I was reading a very interesting article at TUAW that discusses how well “crap apps” are selling — you know, fart apps, belch apps, and the like. The main thrust of the article was that there are so many of those apps because they sell so well — indeed, much better than useful, needed applications — presumably so that we have something of novelty to show our friends. But will this category of apps have legs?
I was one of the “iPhone naysayers” who stuck to my Treo while laughing at the crazies who were waiting in line all night outside Apple stores. Then, someone showed me their iPhone and I fell in love with the Google Maps application. Once I got my iPhone, I began showing it off to others as well – and always had some neat feature to show them. I recall the jailbreak app “Tickle Me Elmo” that entertained my kids (and more than one teenager) fondly (or, at least, they do). My kids love “Smack Talk” now, and even my one year old will request it. These are fun apps – mindless, humorous, entertainment to be sure.
But consider the “crap app” — whose purpose in life is to play the sound of a fart, a burp, or vomiting; emulate urinating; or simulate kicking someone in the balls. Track your bowel movements? There’s a “crapp” for that.
But these all beg the question: Junior high school kids aside, who could possibly use these apps more than a handful of times? Either I’m getting too old to appreciate the crapp-ier things in life, or the iPhone’s sales demographics are much younger than I thought. Or there’s the other possibility — once the iPhone reaches critical mass and everyone’s seen a fart app or two, will there still be a call for crapps? Will they still outsell office suites, SSH apps, and games? I have to believe that once the extended novelty wears off, that the purchases of (and thereafter the supply of) crapps will subside. One has to wonder if Apple has a plan to rid itself of the thousands of apps that will eventually be found sitting there, clogging the app store, with zero sales. If they don’t, now’s the time — I think a lot of crapp will be waiting for it. Eventually.