|Apple Launches Planet Of The Apps|
|Written by Alex Denham|
|Thursday, 08 June 2017|
Apple has launched its new reality TV show, Planet of the Apps. The show has been described as a mix of Shark Tank and The Voice.
The aim of the show is that app developers compete to win the support of a mentor who will then back their app, helping with both money and know-how on developing a market beating app. It sounds like a great idea, but the opening episode is worth watching mainly for the sight of mutual incomprehension between developers and judges.
The first episode of the show was premiered on the second day of Apple's WWDC conference, after which it was made available for free on Apple Music and iTunes. The next nine episodes will be launched weekly, and will be limited to subscribers of Apple Music.
The original idea came from Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame, who came up with the concept and pitched it to Apple. He is one of the show's judges, along with host Jessica Alba (founder of Honest Company), Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, and VaynerMedia founder, Gary Vaynerchuk. One problem this raises is that while each of the judges is undoubtedly successful and charismatic, they're not known for their long history of developing winning apps, or even having companies that develop apps.
Each would-be entrepreneur introduces the idea of their app while moving down a long escalator for a minute - presumably like an elevator pitch, but made more visual. If at least one judge likes their idea enough to vote 'yes' while they're moving down, they get a chance to tell more about their idea. For much of the time, the judges looked either bored or confused while the pitch was being made. At various points they also backed out of potential mentoring situations because of lack of expertise.
However, two of the judges did agree to help contestants to the next stage - that of meeting a venture capitalist in the hope of securing funding. Jessica Alba mentored Andrew Kemendo, developer of an app that uses augmented reality to help people choose furniture, while Gary Vaynerchuk mentored Jake Wayne and Lexie Ernst for their app which tracks your location and shares it with a chosen 'companion' so you can stay safe. In fact this app already had a sizable user base before the show, and the venture capitalist liked it enough to back it with $1 million in funding.
The verdict of most people we've spoken to who watched the show was that the makers of Shark and similar shows needn't lose sleep if this is the best Apple can do. It's not funny and mainstream enough to be of general interest, and doesn't do the tech topics well enough or in enough detail to appeal to techies. Of course, thinking Apple's missed the mark is a dangerous idea - Apple has a long history of polishing ideas until they really are attractive. For the moment, watch Episode 1 for the amusement.
or email your comment to: firstname.lastname@example.org