Magna Carta Holy Grail
What is it? It’s the official app of Jay Z’s new album, and it allowed Samsung Galaxy users to get the album for free before the official release dropped.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: This app has three main problems, but Jay Z isn’t one of them. I can confirm that the actual album is pretty good! Not Blueprint good, but good. As a Galaxy owner, I’m not going to sneeze at a free album I would have purchased anyway, but the Magna Carta app manages to fall short in three notable ways.
1. Privacy concerns: The app wants to get all up in your personal information. Even if this app is the most benign of digital creatures, it represents a dangerous recipe—an amoral corporation need only hook up with a beloved celebrity to gain a treasure trove of data from a rabid fan base.
2. Horrible UI: Although the app allows users to download the album directly to their phones to play in any format they see fit, the app itself has an annoying interface that can play only one track at a time, making the delivery-by-app method all the more curious.
3. A terrible precedent: It would be a bad thing if albums became app-based. From a consumer angle, we want all of our music collection to live in one central hub, be it iTunes, Spotify, or some other music player. We don’t want to encourage cloistering of our tunes.
Still curious? The app has since been removed from Google Play, but the album is available on iTunes as well as all the other usual outlets.
What is it? This app judges your overall smooching aptitude while promising to “improve your kissing skills so that you can kiss her more. The better kisser you are, the better are your chances of impressing your lover.”
Why this app shouldn’t exist: First off, germs are a concern. Furthermore, the last time I checked, kissing occurs in three dimensions. So unless you are romantically attracted to slabs of Gorilla Glass, this app will not help you master your tonsil hockey skills.
What is it? An iOS app that purports to help you control your dreams via audio cues set to go off at just the right time. You place the phone on the bed next to you as you sleep so that the app can monitor your movements throughout the night. When the app is confident you’re in a state of REM sleep, it cues up a preselected atmospheric soundscape to help “create your desired dream.”
Why this app shouldn’t exist: Even though the app is free, it follows a freemium model by allowing users to purchase specific “dream influencers” that range from $1 packages (such as Ocean Sounds) up to $4 for a more suggestive 50 Shades of Grey soundscape. But you can already find various ways to customize your phone to play sounds while you sleep—for free. Set up your dreams to include kitties, volcanoes, or your favorite podcast crew. It’s all up to you.
What is it? A Japanese perfume manufacturer’s roundabout way of texting scents by way of a physical, perfume-filled reservoir accessory connected to the phone. You can prompt the perfume to release a small spritz of scent by another device remotely, so you are—in theory—texting a scent.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: There is literally no situation in which this technology would ever be applicable. Not one. You are perhaps racking your brain to think of one, but stop. There is none.
Still curious? The app is still officially in development, but you can learn more about the technology and download the SDK here.
What is it? An app that measures how long the app can stay airborne.
Why this app shouldn’t exist: Technically, this app is supposed to measure how far you can jump in the air, not your phone. The developer’s description explicitly warns users not to chuck their phone into the air, but that message is somewhat negated by the app’s happy little flying-phone mascot. And while a developer shouldn’t be held responsible for all the ways people will misuse its apps, the mixed messaging probably makes the following behavior inevitable: