$1,000 iPhone App No More; Mourning “I Am Rich”

Richred1

Ladies and gentlemen of the Cult, I bring you bad news: As of 2:18 p.m. Pacific yesterday, I Am Rich is no longer available from the iPhone AppStore. At the behest of VentureBeat and many other bloggers, Apple has yanked a brand new app in the prime of life. Yes, I know. It’s tragic. Never again will you get to spend $1,000 NOW JUST $999.99!!1! for an utterly useless program that just displays a red gem to flaunt your wealth to passersby.

Now, I Am Rich was obviously intended by author Armin Heinrich to be either a joke or a piece of art, and it wasn’t particularly successful as either. It’s sort of one-note, you know? But its removal actually reflects an extremely obnoxious habit that Apple has had as of late: they’ve been pulling apps, including the extremely popular NetShare and Box Office, neither of which appears to violates Apple’s SDK (not that anyone knows, thanks to the blanket NDA…)

Jason Kottke puts it well:

Excluding I Am Rich would be excluding for taste…because some feel that it costs too much for what it does. (And this isn’t the only example. There have been many cries of too many poor quality (but otherwise functional) apps in the store and that Apple should address the problem.) App Store shoppers should get to make the choice of whether or not to buy an iPhone app, not Apple, particularly since the App Store is the only way to legitimately purchase consumer iPhone apps. Imagine if Apple chose which music they stocked in the iTunes store based on the company’s taste. No Kanye because Jay-Z is better. No Dylan because it’s too whiney. Of course they don’t do that; they stock a crapload of different music and let the buyer decide. We should deride Apple for that type of behavior, not cheering them on.

Hear, hear!

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  • Inglesh Profeserr

    My only problem with I Am Rich was my fear that I could have accidentally purchased it. My daughter has a Touch and was using my iTunes account to download all the free apps she could. It would have been really bad if she’d purchased I Am Rich in a frenzy of downloading. Otherwise, I thought it was pretty funny that Apple let that one through but withdrew Box Office.

  • PowerBookMac

    What would stop someone from using the same (or really really close) graphics and icons and putting a FREE app out there called I Am Smart? That would be the immediate end of I Am Rich, and make the dopes who had bought it feel really (REALLY!) dumb.

  • Peter

    I don’t have that many, but I know several people who have accidentally purchased applications. Realistically, this might be as much a flaw in Apple’s store function, but if/until that gets worked out, in the mean time apps like this shouldn’t exist (and shouldn’t have been let into the app store in the first place).

    Plus if anyone disputes the charge on an item like this, Apple could get stuck eating a pretty big error.

  • keith

    I think Apple should fully have the right to decide what gets sold on their platform…it’s THEIR platform. It would be nice, however, for them to, perhaps, pre-screen apps so consumers like us don’t get upset when they pull cool apps…we just won’t know they exist through an authorized channel…there’s always the jailbreak option, right?

  • Itchy

    So I am Rich is too expensive for what it does and therefore it is illegal to sell according to Apple. Man, I know lots of folks who feel that Photoshop CS3 is way too expensive – is it legal to pirate it then?

About the author

Pete Mortensen

Pete Mortensen is a design strategist for consulting firm Jump Associates and the co-author of Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy, a book and blog that are significantly more interesting than you might initially think. Pete's particular Apple avocations are both around design--interface and industrial. Follow him on Twitter!

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