Ingenuity and progress update: iFart

Posted by Rob Walker on January 5, 2009
Posted Under: Progress

So maybe you already knew this, but I just noticed that the number-one selling paid app for the iPhone is: iFart.

It makes a variety of fart noises.

There’s a YouTube demo here, if you need one. The app costs 99 cents.

According to WiredNews, sales hit 10,000 a day in late December. Also this:

That’s pretty impressive, considering Apple previously didn’t believe fart applications met the standards of the App Store. In September, Apple rejected a similar novelty app called Pull My Finger on the grounds that it had “limited utility.” Just recently Apple reversed that decision and approved a number of other fart apps as well.

Take note that there are “a number of other fart apps.” I suppose that when trendmeisters earnestly ruminate on the new downturn-era insistence on only spending on things that have real value and utility, they’re talking about … iFart. Therefore, I look forward to the digital sneeze-powder or 21st century fake dog-doo that will lead us back to better economic times.

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

You seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the supposed “New Thrift,” but fail to articulate why, exactly, it bothers you so. Do you not believe that there’s been enough evidence for a true shift in values? Regardless, I’m not sure you’re making your case by noting that 10,000 people bought a $.99 cent application for their iPhone — even the journalists and trend companies selling the Big Frugal Shift aren’t saying that *all* spending is coming to a halt, just that the culture is starting to emphasize different values, especially in regard to luxury goods. So it seems like you’re propping up a strawman to knock down an argument that never existed.


Written By Ryan on January 5th, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

“Do you not believe that there’s been enough evidence for a true shift in values?”
I don’t believe there has been any such evidence. Lower spending reflects lower spending, not changed values.
But I already wrote about my point of view in Consumed.
As for this post: I’m making a joke, not an argument.

Written By Rob Walker on January 5th, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

I saw this mentioned in the NYT weekend article about bragging rights that apps enable – it was kind of an intriguing yet shallow piece – and they referred to the app without printing its name or fully describing its function (but enough to get the point). I think the family-newspaper-ese amused me more than the existence of the app itself.

I remember an INIT called MacPuke in the old System 7 days. I snuck it onto my grad school officemate’s computer and next time he restarted the computer made – duhh – puking noises. I was amused as all hell! But I was a lot younger then!

Written By Steve Portigal on January 5th, 2009 @ 6:42 pm

“I don’t believe there has been any such evidence. Lower spending reflects lower spending, not changed values.”

I agree, mostly. Lower spending is far more a result of economic insecurity and collective fear about the future more than any cultural trend toward a “New Frugality.” But I also think that this Thrifty trend (or whatever you want to call it) has some validity in that there are a lot of people suffering now and showing off how much money one has through conspicuous consumption is considered more gauche or tacky than it was previously. For instance, Tina Brown’s Daily Beast recently ran a story about affluent people “shopping stealthily,” that is, requesting that stores like Hermes and Barneys pack their goods in discreet bags without the logos on them so they won’t be seen as being luxury consumers. I don’t know if that’s quite the “value shift” that it’s purported to be, but it’s surely indicative of something interesting going on in the luxury space (which, unsurprisingly, has been crushed worse than any other sector in this recent downturn).

Written By Ryan on January 5th, 2009 @ 9:58 pm