Two weeks ago, developer Armin Heinrich released an iPhone application called “I am Rich”. This caused quite a stir in the Apple community. The application costs $999.99, which is the maximum an iPhone can list for on Apple’s site. Eight people bought the application the day it was released. The real kicker is that this application is “a work of art with no hidden function at all” according to the author. In other words, it does nothing useful except show that you have enough money to blow $1000 on an iPhone app.
When you run the application, a gem shows up on the screen. This is to “remind you that you were able to afford this”. You can press the i button on the main page to get a secret message from the author. This application is pretty much a simple screen saver. It was listed under the lifestyle category on Apple. Given that the app costs $1000, and Apple takes a 30% cut of the revenue, the author made $5600 on the first day of sale.
Apple removed the application from its site the day after it was released. The author publicly stated that he did not know of any rules that were broken by the application. Some people thought it was some sort of scam. Two buyers complained that they purchased the app in error. They were refunded their money by Apple. The author has stated that he did not want to collect the price from anybody who purchased his application by mistake.
I do not think it was easy to accidentally buy this application. You have to choose the application, click on the price, then click Buy, and finally enter you password. I guess there may have been some one click buy option selected. One of the purchasers from the USA was Debbie Norom. She said the press has made fun of her for being stupid to purchase such an application. However Debbie said she was looking into reselling the application on EBay for a profit.
On the surface this application may sound like a fluke. However I for one think this was a great idea. The author was not charging $1000 for a weak screen saver. He was selling the idea that people want to demonstrate that they are large. Some people agree with me that this is worth $1000. I bet Armin Heinrich is pleased with all the publicity his iPhone application has gathered. I wonder if he shall capitalize on this with some follow up apps. I need to get an iPhone myself to check out some of his stuff. The iPhone 3G only costs 200 bucks right?
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