What is the fart app for Apple Vision Pro?

18.45, Tuesday 16 Jan 2024

What I mean is: what’s the app that you download, makes you laugh, you show your friends, it makes them laugh, and it couldn’t have been done without the core technology of the platform?

The app that is so dumb but it’s costs just $1 and it makes the developer a bazillion bucks.

That app is the fart app.

You know the one I mean. An app that has a big button and you hit the button and it makes a sound of a fart and that’s it. It’s in the first 10 apps that anyone downloads.

I want to know what it will be for the Vision Pro, Apple’s big bet on spatial computing and augmented reality, which goes on pre-order in a couple days and will be in people’s hands on people’s faces on 2 Feb.

The fart app wasn’t literally a fart app for iPhone.

There was an app where koi carp swam peacefully in a pond, and if you touched the screen the water would ripple and the fish would swim away.

Another app looked like a glass of beer and when you tilted the phone the beer would tilt too and the level would go down. Maybe there was a belch at the end?

Talking Carl had a little cartoon something that repeated whatever you said only in a squeaky voice.

Then sound board apps to make stupid sounds.

These apps weren’t trivially easy to develop with the incumbent Nokia smartphones. The app platform was too cumbersome; the sensors too scarce; the screen dim and slow to respond.

Then we got an explosion of fart apps. So to speak.

But I would argue that having a “fart app” (literally or of that category) is critical.

  • You show your friends what your new gadget can do - those breakout iPhone apps required capacitive touch, gyroscopes, a good mic and speaker, etc - and you get to make them laugh. Showing off! But also, virality!
  • It creates understanding. Nobody can understand a new capability without trying it. A fart app shows a consumer some new complicated technology in a frame that they grok instantly.

The experience is roughly: person A says to person B, oh you got that new thing. Person B says, yeah check this out. Person A tries it, gets what is unique about the thing, laughs, all within about 3 seconds.

So what is the fart app for Vision Pro?

Maybe in the app you pretend to be Godzilla and stomp on cities.


Here are my notes from trying a Meta Quest 2 VR headset (Apr 2022). For me the magical moments came from scale.


  • You are tiny and looking at something huge; or,
  • You are huge and looking at something tiny.

Scale and height are the visceral responses available with mixed reality that you can’t get from screens. They make you gasp and make you laugh.

I was endlessly tickled, with my Quest 2, with a mountain that got halfway up my chest and I could kneel down to peer in the caves, and awed standing in a towering cathedral and looking up, up, up.

So imagine this, dear app developer:

Use the new Google Maps API with photorealistic 3D tiles.

Display the local city on the floor in the user’s living room. Looking through the Vision Pro the tallest buildings should come up to their knees.

As the user walks and stomps, the buildings smash to pieces. Cartoon figures run around and cartoonishly scream.

Kinda macabre sure. Kinda hilarious also. Only possible with a mixed reality headset.

A one-shot app, that’s all it does. I think it would work.

Ok I admit this isn’t an entirely new concept: I remember once hearing about a Google Maps-style VR app with “Godzilla mode.” I never tried it, I don’t know what it did. I heard people loved it.

I remember the idea and imagine it anyhow.

Anyway it’s more about scale and spatiality than stomping buildings.

A 3D cosmos in your home where you can grab galaxies and set them spinning, or run your hands through stars like sand – that would work too.

There was that breakout VR app where you walk the plank 80 storeys in the air. That touches the same nerve but is more about jump scares than laughing.

Walking like a giant across a tiny forest where all the trees giggle infectiously as you squish them underfoot – I’d play that and show my friends.

Anyway. Something to figure out, develop and ship in the next checks notes 2 weeks. Yeah maybe not for me though.

Two points and I mean them profoundly: don’t take technology too seriously, not even your own; and, how are people going to get it, instantly, no thinking?

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