‘I Am Rich’ developer sold 8 copies for $999.99 each before Apple censored app

“Now that the phone is affordable enough for a wider audience, a new status symbol has emerged: a seemingly useless application called ‘I Am Rich,'” Mark Milian reports for The Los Angeles Times.

“Its function is exactly what the name implies: to alert people that you have money in the bank. I Am Rich was available for purchase from the phone’s App Store for, get this, $999.99 — the highest amount a developer can charge through the digital retailer, said Armin Heinrich, the program’s developer. Once downloaded, it doesn’t do much — a red icon sits on the iPhone home screen like any other application, with the subtext ‘I Am Rich,'” Milian reports.

“Apple apparently had some problems with I Am Rich. After initially approving it for distribution, the company has since removed it from the store. Heinrich, a German software developer, has yet to hear back from Apple concerning the removal. ‘I have no idea why they did it and am not aware of any violation of the rules to sell software on the App Store,’ Heinrich said in an e-mail with The Times today,” Milian reports.

“But Apple couldn’t pull it down before curious aristocrats — eight of them — had purchased it. Six people from the United States, one from Germany and one from France dropped a grand for the gem in the first 24 hours it was available, Heinrich said. That’s $5,600 in revenue for Heinrich and $2,400 for Apple, which collects 30% of each sale for ‘store upkeep,'” Milian reports.

“In the e-mail, Heinrich said there seemed to be a market for the program. ‘I am sure a lot more people would like to buy it — but currently can’t do so,’ Heinrich said. ‘The App is a work of Art and included a ‘secret mantra’ — that’s all,'” Milian reports.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we, and others, have already said: “I Am Rich” did exactly what it was advertised and designed to do and the price was clearly marked. Unless the app was somehow physically harmful to iPhone and/or iPod touch (highly unlikely), then Apple’s position is simply indefensible and they should make the “I Am RIch” app available again immediately. Apple is completely in the wrong about this and is sliding rapidly down a slippery slope. Which app will Apple decide they don’t like next?

Maybe next week PETA and Greenpeace will join forces to gin up a nice email campaign aimed at Apple that complains of a frivolous game that depicts poor, defenseless monkeys trapped in clear airless balls that frequently roll off the edges of extremely high floating platforms resulting in untimely, and likely horrible, animated monkey deaths which has the net effect of reducing users’ overall compassion for animals while also advocating the pollution of the world’s oceans with balls full of splattered monkey carcasses. Then what? Hello, Apple? Does it sound farfetched? Then you must not have lived in the USA for the last 3+ decades. Regardless, it illustrates the point quite nicely.

As Jason Kottke recently asked, “Is paying $5000 for a wristwatch or $50,000 for a car when much cheaper alternatives exist really all that different than paying $1000 for an iPhone app?” No, it is not at all different.

To anyone who claims to be “offended” by this app, we hope you are wearing the cheapest watch in the world and driving the cheapest car (and using the cheapest computer, listening to a cassette walkman, eating the cheapest food, etc.) or you’re a hypocrite. Forget about what the app does and what it costs. Those things are meaningless and only obscure the central fact: It’s not up to you, or Apple, or anyone but the buyer to decide if an app is worth buying.

Anyone who supports Apple’s pulling of “I Am Rich” should immediately turn off their computers, grab their placards, and sprint to their nearest Macy’s to protest the sale of Louis Vuitton handbags. Quick, get going! The world needs you to save them from themselves.

Again, what Apple and anyone else personally thinks of the app is meaningless to the salient point here — although Apple and anyone else are certainly entitled to whatever opinion they have of the app and those who buy the app, of course — barring sale of the app is plainly wrong. Look around, Apple. You’re headquartered in Cupertino, not China.

Our Take from yesterday is here.

SEE ALSO:‘I Am Rich’ application for iPhone, iPod touch disappears from Apple’s App Store – August 07, 2008
$999.99 app for Apple iPhone, iPod touch allows owners to proclaim ‘I Am Rich’ – August 06, 2008

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “El Guapo” for the heads up.]


  1. Sorry MDN, but you (and others) are 100% completely wrong on this issue.

    If a retailer is stocking a product with basically scam-like intentions, let’s it in the store anyway, and then receives serious complaints from the few customers that actually bought it, they have every right, nay a *duty* to remove said product.

    The “I Am rich” app was bought by very few people, purchased mostly by mistake (as the scammer intended), and at least one or two of those “customers” (victims) pointedly asked Apple to remove the app from the store.

    Why wouldn’t Apple remove it?

    I’m going to remind all you idiots of this when Apple refuses to remove some application that *you* find offensive and deceitful later on.

    This is retail, not the human rights court, and the customer is always the focus, even when they are wrong.

  2. Agree with MDN’s take. Apple should not have removed the app as it does not violate Apple’s own guidance. Yes, Apple should refund the customer(s) who accidentally purchase this app.


  3. How the hell could Apple consider this app a bad deal when they get an easy $2,400 percentage of the sale? Are they going to start censoring artists in iTunes – or excluding them altogether if they aren’t up to Apple’s standards?

    And to those who say Apple has the right to decide what goes in the AppStore – they absolutely do. However, as the saying goes, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

    Apple has the power to modify or shut down the AppStore at will, granted, but that kinda defeats the point in providing it in the first place. Obviously exclude apps that break the iPhone, but why touch anything else? Apple may as well provide ONLY Apple made iPhone apps and absolutely, positively nothing else…

    Let the buyer decide if it’s worth their time and money, and Apple wins too with the kickback, for one.

    I Am Rich was an amusing harmless little app. Well done to Mr Heinrich!

  4. I understand your point but there is an issue.

    As a full time support professional I can tell you that many many many of my clients allow their kids to buy whatever they want. ( thinking the most damage they can do is a few dollars $100 on the outside )

    Also many clients have the auto 1 click buy.

    Angry customers for some BS app is something Apple should avoid. Period.

    Apple is not the free press right to speech blah bla blah THEY ARE NOT. PERIOD,


    Apple made a good call.

  5. Celebrating one’s affluence is an american pastime!

    Apple makes three-hundred dollars with each sale and for them to pull this app for any reason is absurd. Fire the person who made the call to pull it!

  6. thelonousMac;

    Please define “AT&T;’s hidden charges”, won’t you?

    I’ve owned my iPhone for 6 months, yet haven’t paid a single copper more than what AT&T;said they’d charge me.

  7. Why does everyone assume the app was purchased 8 times by mistake? What if there really are excessively wasteful people with money out there who wanted to be able to say “I purchased the $999 app”?

  8. @Demon

    Do you find some music artists offensive? Have you ever contacted Apple to remove them from iTunes, hmm?

    How hard can it be – if you don’t like the app – don’t buy it! How the hell can a color shifting screensaver be offensive? It’s not porn, or even nazi propaganda! And if it’s the price, well, there’s a market for everything, even if you aren’t prepared to part with your cash, which is perfectly your right.

    Applauding Apple for a move like this is asking for the AppStore to become a real bone of contention with developers the next time they pull this stunt for another innocuous app. What a great way to market your new-fangled store…

  9. To MDN_Please:

    Obviously, so far, 8 people bought this little app in about 8 days. It is not like a thousand people took the bait, bought it, realised that they were duped and called Apple for a refund. Most surely, this app caused no trouble for anyone involved. Chances are, one of the eight people was pissed that the app didn’t to a thing at all and they might even have contacted Apple. As in every retail business, customers who aren’t satisfied with their purchase often return the merchandise and get their refund. While with software (especially downloaded kind) this isn’t normally done, Apple has a track record with iTunes for having this done occasionally, on an individual basis. Even if every single one of these eight people asked for their money back, this is still by no means grounds for a product recall.

    Let’s imagine a retail store selling toys. Let’s picture a Star Wars light saber on the shelf, and on the box, there is a picture of Luke Skywalker holding it. Unfortunately, the angle and the way he holds it is such that the saber looks very much like an extension of his, well, private part. Customers (parents) begin to complain. How long would it take before this toy is removed from the shelf? Surely, a lot more than eight people and a lot longer than eight days. And clearly, the “I’m Rich!” application is not that offensive.

  10. @ Jeremy

    Sorry Jeremy, but you (and others) are 100% completely wrong on this issue.

    The App in question did EXACTLY what it said it’d do, in EXACTLY the way the developer said it would, and no matter how many times you deny it, the act of denying a fact doesn’t suddenly make it “not true”.

    I’m going to remind all you idiots of this when Apple removes another application that that does EXACTLY what the author said it’d do later on.

    This is retail, not the human rights court, and the customer is always the focus, even when they are wrong.

  11. I wonder if any of those eight customers thought the price was $9.99, only to see their credit cards charged with a cool grand. I realize it was “clear marked” as $999.99, but the human mind can make assumptions and become blind to the obvious.

    That’s probably why Apple took it off (temporarily). To add a special “are you sure” dialog for purchases costing over certain dollar amount, say $100.

  12. MDN is full of it.

    Apple needs to keep some level of control of what goes in the Apps Store.

    This kind of scam stuff will draw hundreds of similar shit apps and degrade the store. It will resemble the Fisherman’s Wharf down in that shithole San Francisco, with cheap ass T shirt shops and crapy trinkets, filthy scam street performers and scumbag homeless and beggars in tow.

    All comes with the territory.

    Keep that shit OUT of the Apps Store.

  13. iphone image is now one of ANYONE can afford it

    pulling the 1k app is good.


    What if Apple released any app that cost 999 dollars

    And called it I dare you to buy this???

    Is that good for Apple?

    Perception is everything and Apple not allowing their amazing platform to have an app that is a scam.

    fine by me!!!

  14. @Moo
    You are exactly right. There are people out there to whom $1000 is pocket change. Again, this is not a scam. Just because you don’t like something (Are you listening, Jeremy?) that doesn’t give you the right to deny it to others. The programmer didn’t violate Apple’s rules. This issue here is that Apple cannot arbitrarily remove apps with no cause. If they do, they will rapidly discover that no one wants to develop apps for them anymore.

  15. I have no objections to wealth but I can’t understand why anybody would want to brag about it. And buying an “application” (really, just buying an icon) to shout to the world that you are rich as about as objectionable as you can get. At least expensive fast cars / big houses / luxury holidays / smart watches have some other main function in life and are not just for the sole purpose of saying “I’m richer than you”. It smacks of elitism. Yuk. Maybe those that show off about their wealth deserve to be fleeced of their excessive cash.

  16. I have yet to hear (read) a valid argument for pulling this app. If you took the time to read the text that accompanied the AppStore page for this application, you would have found the following:

    I Am Rich
    Armin Heinrich
    (two out of five stars, from 275 reviewers)
    Price: $999.99

    Art & Livestyle (sic) – not for everyone

    The red icon on your iPhone or iPod touch always reminds you (and othes when you show it to them) that you were able to afford this.

    It’s a work of art with no hidden function at all.

    After pressing the (i) on the main page, a secred mantra will be shown. This may help you to to (sic) stay rich, healthy and successful.

    If it’s to (sic) expensive for you – check out my other apps – they are all much cheaper.

    Besides somewhat poor English (author is a non-native speaker), the description desribes exactly what the application does. There is nothing offensive or deceptive about it.

    Can we have some valid arguments now for pulling this app?

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.