Planet of the Apps

The Outline has got this video picking apart Apple’s incredibly shitty Planet of the Apps. Like most things from The Outline, it’s not that great because it mixes useless cheap shots poking fun at Eddie Cue and the way will.i.am excitedly describes things, with legitimate issues the show has. The Outline also pokes fun at the boneheaded business ventures will.i.am and the other investors are involved in. Which, even as dumb as those are it’s good to see more people of color making money off of the notoriously racist as hell technology business. I’d almost say that monetizing tech assholes is worthy of congratulations in any other context, but we’re here to bury Planet of the Apps.

Planet of the Apps is a reality show about business people pitching their app ideas (in various stages of development) to celebrity investors similar to Shark Tank, which is a show I hate watch because practically everyone who appears on it is either the worst kind of libertarian (Kevin O’Leary) or the worst kind of libertarian disguised as a shitty neo-liberal (Mark Cuban) who epitomize this old Twitter joke:

I gave Planet of the Apps a chance when it debuted and could barely get through the first episode. From the moment it starts with the Apple Music logo you’re left wondering “how does this fit into Apple Music?” and that question is never answered. Picture MTV switching to reality shows before they became popular for music videos, that’s what this feels like. Apple Music hasn’t earned the ability to go off music programming when it’s still in its infancy as a music outlet.

What is even going on with that name? It’s clearly a chuckling reference to Planet of the Apes, but the show is so self-serious it doesn’t fit at all.

That’s why this show starts off as ridiculous in pretending to have some kind of legitimacy to a viewer, and then just completely trips over its own banana peel by showing how thin the facade of these celebrity investors is. When it comes to their knowledge of business, tech, and success Gary Vaynerchuk, Jessica Alba, will.i.am, and Gwyneth Paltrow seem to be woefully inept.

Gary Vaynerchuk tries to monetize an app about personal safety and gets freaked out because Google has a half-assed attempt at competing with it. Gary’s freak-out just appears to be how that guy operates, which is pretty sad.

will.i.am takes the cake when he asks if what is obviously an e-ink display on a backpack is e-ink. E-ink has been around for over a decade now. Were the studio lights too bright for him to see what was going on?

None of the celebrity investors on this show seem to know why they are successful, which isn’t very surprising, but they sure do know how to take advantage of their unlikely success to fail in other businesses.

I don’t envy any of the app creators having to deal with the celebrities trying in futility to help them, if that is even the end goal of anyone on the show. All tech investors are there to make as much money as possible, or to fail as spectacularly as possible, instead of creating a viable product. I have been one step removed from, or involved with, a number of SV businesses that were close to some kind of success as a platform that squandered their opportunity because the investors and leaders wanted to cash out.

After the celebrity investors get bored with their lame guidance and won’t continue funding these apps, the show hurls the app creator before actual silicon valley investor groups as a secondary level of shark tanking and the show tried to present these external investors as a technically knowledgable group of  savvy businesspeople.

This show attempts to demonstrate tech savvy and business success for Apple’s App Store with Apple’s clean aesthetic but makes everyone involved look as greedy and disgusting as they truly are. For example, when monetizing safety is revealed to be rooted in creating fear of your neighbors and community. What kind of ghoulish asshole wants to be involved in that?

Reality shows are almost universally shallow and disgusting, I can’t make it through most of them, but they should at least be entertaining. Planet of the Apps isn’t entertaining beyond the curiosity of watching Apple struggle and fail at something so spectacularly.

This show succeeds in one thing: proving that success in any creative endeavor is difficult, especially when you’re attempting to make money at the same time. I still don’t know how this is supposed to fit into Apple Music, besides adding a perceived value to the subscription, and I have no hope that Apple will ever produce an entertaining television show. For a company that is so proud of all the times they say ‘no,’ they’ve created something that is remarkable for existing at all. It’s a car crash I am happy to look away from.

Author: Jack Slater

A Philadelphian exiled to Hawaii. You can follow or contact me on Twitter where I'm @TimeDoctor, via the contact page, or via e-mail to zjs AT zacharyjackslater dot com More here.

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