Top Five Reasons Why Apps are Crap

Here’s what you do. You buy yourself a shopping trolley.

Not one of those scruffy tartan things that little old ladies drag around – I mean a proper retail shopping trolley, like you get at Asda or Tesco. They cost about £150.

Then take your shiny new trolley to the nearest Poundstretcher or PoundLand and load it up with some of the wonderful cheap tat on offer.

Now, go home and use that stash of bric-a-brac to customise your trolley – be creative, make it your own.

You could gaffer tape a hot-dog shaped alarm clock to the handlebar, or attach a framed picture of an Alsatian to the front grill. You could tie an egg-timer to the kid’s seat. Whatever you want – just express yourself.

And this is the true genius of Apple.

This is the kind of deranged thinking that they have managed to get millions of people to buy into. Their customers don’t use trolleys; they use the digital version – the iPad. This is the revolutionary device which has opened up a new frontier in the realm of buying crap you don’t need.

It’s the Innovations catalogue for the Y Generation.

With just one sweaty finger you can wander around the virtual aisles of Apple’s App Store and choose from an infinite selection of digital tat. These tiny bits of software you download are called apps.

Last year apps raked in more than $4 billion for Apple, and with the recent launch of their Mac App Store, it’s estimated that they’ll be hoovering up $27 billion by 2013.

So here’s five reasons why I think apps are rubbish:

1. They’re not very good

There are more than 300,000 apps currently in Apple’s store– about 20 of them are alright. Then you have the remaining 299,980: apps to remember where you parked the car, apps which play samples from Kick Ass, apps which give the location of your nearest spiritualist…

If an alien race ever wanted to justify the destruction of mankind – the apps store would be their star witness. Just spend some time browsing through the descriptions of what’s on offer and you’ll come to the conclusion that it’s time for us to step aside; to let some other species have go.

To get an idea of what’s in the apps store, try this for size. This is the App Store description for one of the more successful offerings:

How fast are your fingers? Put them to the test and find out. iDragPaper is a unique speed game where you basically drag your fingers repeatedly to unravel an entire roll of toilet paper. It’s a race against the clock, to see how fast you can drag out the entire roll. There isn’t much else to the game.

Strategies include using either one finger and repeatedly dragging the paper or using multiple fingers to do the same. In classic mode a bug exists where you could trigger it and unravel the roll automatically, possibly as fast as one second. Normal mode is where you have no bugs and it’s just basic unrolling.

The paid version of the game features a few different themes that you can choose from to spice up the toilet paper, no ads and an extra advanced game mode. In the advanced mode if you move too fast your toilet paper gets ripped off. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

2. They’re killing the web

Remember that old hippie thing called the World Wide Web? It was pretty good; more than a trillion pages of information – the sum of all human knowledge, freely available and accessible within a matter of milliseconds.

But there was one major flaw – it didn’t make any money for Apple, or any of the big corporations. You could happily wander from an Idwal Robling tribute site, to a gallery of kittens in sombreros, to a heated debate on an arc welding forum; and the cash machine in Apple HQ would remain eerily silent.

The solution was apps – a way of commoditising the web. Apps enable companies to break off tiny bits of the internet; stick them into shiny wrappers and flog them back to us.

Most of the contents is already out there – it’s freely available on the internet. So what we’re buying is the packaging. We’re rejecting the offer of free, fresh pineapple and choosing to stock-up instead on expensive tins of syrupy pineapple chunks.

3. They’re a disease

With more and more household goods getting hooked up to the internet, apps are going to become a pandemic; a disease which spreads throughout our homes and gardens. Nothing is going to be safe: Family Guy apps for your toaster, a GPS app for your lawn mower; all yours for a couple of quid.

It’s a way of converting household goods into piggy bank rattlers. Your washing machine can finally start to generate some serious cash for the corporations. And everyone’s a winner because, as a consumer, you’ll be able to download all the latest celebrity themed washing cycles.

This process has already begun with a range of tellys coming out this year which feature their own apps and market stores.

4. They’re bad for the soul

You spend your life doing a job you don’t really like. You make this sacrifice because it gives you enough money to buy stuff: big telly, nice car, exercise machine, bread maker, electronic barometer, carpet bowls set, steam cleaner etc.

But then a terrible thing happens – you start running out of space. Your kitchen cupboards won’t take any more designer juicers.  And it all starts to feel a bit empty and pointless. Why are you working so hard when there’s no gas-powered bottle opener at the end of the tunnel?

Apps provide the answer. The memory available on a tablet or a smartphone is the equivalent of a kitchen cupboard three times the size of Norway. The physical restrictions of space to store crap – are no more. We are set free.

Crisis over. Get back to work!

5. They’re brought to you by Ned Flanders

Another problem with the World Wide Web was that nobody was in control. People were pretty much free to say what they want.

But things have moved on. Now that we pay good money for our apps, we expect to be treated as respected consumers. And the last thing we want is to see a pair of lady breasts when we open up the application of our choice.

Neither do we want to see anything controversial or offensive or which could makes us excitable or agitated. Thankfully Apple understand this and kindly censor the apps which are available to you in the store.

It’s so much more civilised now. We can all relax. We can spend all of our disposable income on crap we don’t need, without fear of being exposed to anything which could tarnish the purity of our beautiful white shiny industrially designed shopping trolley.

  1. Lamest anti-apple rant ever. The iOS store us nothing like a customised shopping trolley.

    If an app is crap then it won’t “sell”. Something useful like Evernote or good games such as Cut the Rope will make money. End of.

  2. So what is your proposition? Everything should be free?

    The web is “free”. Sites like offer free services for users, but in return they show you credit card offers, bank account offers and other financial offers that they get a cut on when you sign up.

    Google allows you to search for “free” but at the same time they collect data and give you targeted advertising for each of your searches.

    Yes out of the 300,000 apps in the app store most are crap. But have you used the internet lately? 90% of registered domains are just parked web pages serving ads and trying to fool search engines into thinking they have content (And are doing quite a good job at fooling Google.)

    I think you are targeting your hate at a single device when you just hate the idea of consumerism in general. Which I do agree with but for the majority of people it is not going to change.

    • Aye, you’re right, Jason.

      It’s more of a general moan about consumerism. It’s just that, for me, the iPad is kind of a poster boy for digitial consumerism.

      It’s a device that seems designed to channel the user into buying stuff. It’s got no camera, no phone. You cant’ play flash games. It’s quite restrictive in how you get things on and off it.

      So it’s a bit of an empty vessel, it needs filling with content. That’s why I liken it to a trolley.

  3. Totally agree but the phenomenon is not confined to Apple. (I don’t own an Apple product!) It’s amusing that since tablets are such an immature technology there has been such a regression in capabilities. Games which are not much beyond “Pong” and “Aps” which are beyond primitive.

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