The Planet Of The Apps – 3 Apps That Have Taken Over The World
“There’s an app for that.”
If you said that phrase to a friend just ten years ago they’d have looked at you like you were speaking another language.
The concept of having a device in your pocket that could allow you to shop, travel, exercise, train your pet, even monitor your bowel movements would have been an entirely alien one. Today, that phrase is something you hear on a regular basis. Apps are, after all, such an essential tool for any smartphone user whether you use apple, samsung or any other device, you’ll find an increasing plethora of apps with more being created than there are children born it seems we’re soon on the verge of a total app takeover with haunting similarities to The Planet Of The Apes.
Here are three that have taken the world by storm so far:
In 2011, a 21-year-old student of Stanford University stood in front of his class and announced his idea for a new product: A picture-based instant messenger named Snapchat. The unique selling point was that Snapchat would automatically destroy the photos a few seconds after being sent. It would do so by using a piece of code that follows your “snap” through cyberspace and wipes it out just seconds after it’s delivered, like the digital equivalent of a Tommy Gun toting mafia hit-squad.
The idea was instantly shot down by his class, but the student in question, Evan Spiegel, remained confident in his creation and today Snapchat is one of the most used apps on the market.
Snapchat has not been shy of controversy though. Critics have called it nothing more than a sexting tool and a vehicle for child pornography. Experts, meanwhile, have speculated that Snapchat cannot actually demolish the photos, a revelation that stunned hormonal 14 years old’s across the globe.
This doesn’t seem to have harmed the app’s popularity for the moment though with 150 million “snaps” still sent every day. The only problem Spiegel and his 24-year-old co-founder Bobby Murphy face is how to make money from it. The pair have investors, but no real way to monetize the product, effectively meaning their cash is disappearing faster than, well, a Snapchat photograph.
Facebook made them a $3 billion offer and days later Google offered $4 billion, but Spiegel remained as bold as that day he stood in front of his class and turned them both down.
2. Candy Crush Saga
London based developers King struck chocolate gold with their delightfully simple and thoroughly addictive puzzle game Candy Crush Saga.
The aim of the game is to match three of the same coloured sweets in a block of confectionery for points. As you proceed, the puzzles they get significantly harder with obstacles, time constraints and limited moves adding difficulty.
It is essentially the gameplay of Bejewelled meets the design of Candy Crush meets the life-consuming addictiveness of crack cocaine.
The game’s compulsive playability is a fact that King have successfully exploited with their controversial bait-and-switch tactics of generating money. Having lured their users in, they are suddenly faced with near-impossible levels (any tips on 65, send them this way please) from which the only escape is paid add-ons like extra lives and more moves. It makes King £400,000 a day.
1. Angry Birds
No app has taken over the world quite like Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds. It challenges its users to catapult their ammunition of colourful furry animals at slimy evil pigs by tactically determining a trajectory in order to hit them. As the levels get harder, you have to make the most of the game’s environment — including walls, boulders and boxes of dynamite — to overcome a variety of obstacles.
Rovio once bizarrely attributed Angry Birds’ success to the “emotional connection” players had with its characters, even though the birds only really serve a purpose in the seconds between entering the catapult and hitting a wall. In reality, it’s more likely that Angry Birds reached its staggering 12 million purchases because the game is simple enough to draw users back, whimsical enough to remain endearing and strategic enough to hold your attention.
Its popularity continued to soar when a fake trailer for an Angry Birds movie went viral accumulating 23 million YouTube hits. What the trailer’s makers did not realise was that under the sunny skies of Hollywood, California something just that stupid was actually in development: Sony Pictures were in fierce talks with Rovio to develop an Angry Birds animated movie (exciting news for the exactly zero players who thought, “this is okay but what I’d really like is a some more character development”) which is now scheduled for a 2016 release.
With developers constantly looking to make the next Snapchat and smartphone users keeping their eyes open for the next Angry Birds, the interest and demand for apps has never been greater. As such, they’re sure to become an increasingly integral part of the way we live our lives, and we’ve all watched enough science fiction to know what happens when we let technology take over: humanity is doomed to be imprisoned and made slaves by these apps. The end, it seems, is nigh.