When Apple launched the iPhone back in 2007, it was clear that this was a sophisticated device that would change the world. For the first time, we had a computer small enough to put in our pockets. Here are the top ten iPhone novelty apps of all time.
The miracle of the iPhone meant that we wouldn’t just be able to talk to friends wherever we were — we’d also be able to see them, message them, and even play games with them.
So it wasn’t long before we were also sending each other digital farts, pretending we were goats and using our phones as lightsabers. The early days of the iPhone were the glory days of novelty apps.
The utter splendor and happiness from the iPhone hasn’t gone away. Here are the top ten iPhone novelty apps of all time.
Top of the list is an app that caused a stink by blasting to the top of the charts on Christmas Day 2008. The app lingered in the top ten delights for more than a year and recently — it’s come sneaking back out. iFart offers a range of different fart sounds and features and has been used by stars as big as George Clooney, Kathie Lee Gifford, and Lance Armstrong.
Virtual pet friends were all the rage in the early days of the iPhone, and dominating the pack was Tom the Talking Cat. You could talk to him, poke him, feed him, and of course, hear him fart. Just like a real cat.
Not all novelty apps are useless. RunPee will tell you the best time to run for a pee when you’re watching a movie. No need to hit pause and make everyone wait. Just check the app, cross your legs until you reach that quiet moment, then run and pee. The app will even tell you what you missed.
But some apps really are useless. iShaver Pro puts a virtual electric shaver on your iPhone. You can choose a hair color, pick a shaver, select a length, and even add a vibration. Turn it on and bristles flow across the phone. What you won’t end up with is shorter hair.
iFart isn’t the only app that can make a noise. Ham Horn takes the idea of a virtual air horn and adds rap. Pick a noise or record your own, then blast your friends. They’ll love it.
Technology can be a frustrating thing, and that’s true of your iPhone too. Crack & Break It! lets you take out that frustration by smashing stuff, including your phone. Touch the screen to add cracks or break virtual light bulbs and glass blocks. You can even hear them break. Very satisfying.
The iPhone generated some classic casual games: Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, 2048… Milk the Cow. Tug on a virtual cow’s udders as quickly as you can to fill a bucket with fresh milk. It’s what you’ve always wanted to do.
The first novelty apps were simple things. But as the iPhone developed, new technology allowed for new possibilities. Nintendo used Augmented Reality (AR) to organize real hunts for virtual Pokemon and created a global phenomenon. 2020CV Inc. used the same technology to turn rolled-up paper into a virtual lightsaber. It’s not recommended for people with short arms.
One of the criticisms of early iPhone apps, even the official ones, was their skeuomorphism: new applications were designed to look like old tools. The Notepad app, for example, looked like a block of yellow, lined paper, complete with torn pages. Actor and typewriter aficionado Tom Hanks took that poor design choice even further by helping to develop an app that recreated the look and feel of a typewriter, complete with sounds and carriage returns. Just don’t apply whitener to the screen.
And finally, what is an iPhone for if not to extend horizons, to see the world in an entirely new way, and experience new things? And what better way to do that than as a goat? Goat simulator lets you skate, play football, and wreck stuff — all as a goat.
Even Steve Jobs didn’t think of that.