Despite the economic crisis, Apple reported a 15% increase in quarterly profit this April. So why is Apple doing so well while other companies are faltering? A big part of the answer lies in the fabulous success of the Apple apps store. Apps (or applications) found at the store are programs written specifically for Apple products — usually the iPhone or iPod Touch. Normally these apps are written by third parties who sell them (or give them away for free) at the Apple store. Apple takes 30% of the profits, while developers receive 70%. The Apple store has thousands of these applications for sale ranging from the original to the mundane. Games, stock market quotes, dieting advice, music, communications, just about everything you can imagine an Apple product doing can probably found at the store. I took a look at 3 — well let’s just say interesting — apps for Apples just to give you an idea of what you are missing.

Am I Rich

Do you like to flaunt your wealth? If you are one of those people who enjoys being noticed in your flashy car and expensive duds, this app is for you. For only $999.99 (the most expensive price that Apple allows for an app in its store) you can have a red glowing diamond on your screen! Well, that’s it. The app doesn’t really do anything apart from showcasing your wealth. Anyone who happens to glance at your Apple will know at once that you are one of the elite that paid nearly a thousand dollars for that flashy logo. Why didn’t Prada think of this? I hate to disappoint the filthy rich, but alas, Apple has removed this application from the store, but not before 8 people from around the world forked over the money to download it. Now with scarcity at play, dare I say the value of that lovely glowing diamond has gone up?

Baby Shaker

Another Apple app that I’m afraid you missed. This disturbing little game tried to recreate the joys — err I mean challenges — of parenthood. After downloading the App, you find a stick figure image of a cute little baby. Like all babies though, this one needs attention. As you ignore your iPhone, the baby begins to cry. His cries grow louder and louder until the owner of the phone takes action. Picking up the phone and shaking it violently is what is needed to silence that screaming baby. With over 1,000 shaken-baby deaths reported in the USA each year, it isn’t too difficult to see why Apple removed this app from its store.

Phone Apps

OK, let’s close with something useful. The iPod Touch is growing in popularity in the USA. Although it is not a telephone, it is capable of connecting to the internet via a Wi-Fi connection. By adding a microphone and a free app to the device, you can have yourself a telephone that can make local and international calls for pennies. The three most popular apps for this are SKYPE, FRING and TRUPHONE. While researching reviews of these ingenious little programs, I found that currently SKYPE works the best. With the SKYPE application you can choose among 4 options for making calls. Skype-to-Skype calls are free. Skype-to-any-phone-in-the-USA calls cost just 2.1 cents per minute, or for $2.95 per month, you can make unlimited calls to any phone in the USA. For international calls $5.95 per month gets you unlimited calls to 1 country of your choice, and for $12.95 per month, you can talk unlimited minutes to 42 different countries. Now that’s an app!

I’d like to know:

(1) What Apple products do you use? Have you found a competing product that works as well or better than your Apple device?

(2) Have visited the Apple app store? If so, what applications did you purchase?

(3) Do you have an idea for an Apple application? If so, we’d like to hear it.