Forget, for a moment, that this article is about finding the most expensive iPhone app and complete the following sentence: For $999, you can…
- Pay for five laptops for third-world children;
- Feed and intoxicate yourself and five friends at a decent restaurant;
- Buy a new wide-screen HDTV
- Pay rent or mortgage for a month in middle America; or
- Download an iPhone app.
Surprisingly — nay, disturbingly — all five are correct answers. You can pay almost a thousand bucks for an app. But this fact merely begs the next question: why would you?
The answer is not always "because you’re an idiot." Lots of these pricey iPhone apps have specific benefits for those who need their particular features; others are just novel ways to spend that Trustafarian tax cut. To sort them out and understand what makes some of the most expensive apps worth the price, read on.
What is the Most Expensive iPhone App?
The most expensive iPhone app is actually a tie between four high-dollar apps. Each application carries a price tag of $999.99 — because, really, that extra penny is where things get out of control. (In the list below, we've rounded all prices down to help readers absorb the sticker shock.)
iVIP Black,$999. This app could be called Groupon for Millionaires. In fact, it’s only for millionaires. And no dollar millionaires; you have to certify your net worth in pounds sterling. The “basic,” un-customized app delivers “privilege rates” for luxury travel, theatre performances, and other treats. Used judiciously, this app could cost out if, say, you frequent ultra-exclusive London clubs. Want a taste? iVIP Red delivers the full app, albeit with no actual membership benefits, for free.
BarMax CA, BarMax NY, $999. BarMax CA and BarMax NY are bar exam prep course apps, for the California and New York bars, respectively. The 1-gigabyte CA app packages thousands of pages of material and hundreds of hours of audio lectures with more than 1,300 actual previous bar exam questions. Right now, each app costs about a month’s rent. In a few years, that will just look like two or three billable hours.
MobiGage NDI, $999. What do engineers use for birth control? Their personalities. What do they use for everything else? MobiGage. MobiGage connects to measuring devices such as calipers and micrometers and automates measurement tasks. The app includes measurement plan creation and reporting, and conforms to industry standards. This version, MobiGage NDI, works with Northern Digital industrial measurement systems; plain old MobiGage will only set you back $99.99.
MortgagePRO, $999. Ever regret not making a mint on some financial event? Well, China may be in the midst of an epic real estate bubble on the order of the one that tanked our economy – especially in Hong Kong. MortgagePRO lets you make money on each mortgage submission or referral. One problem for some readers: it’s in Chinese.
Expensive iPhone Apps
With prices finally in the sub-$999 range, these apps may look like bargains. Yet, of the six apps that round out our "top 10" list, none fall below $399.
iRa Pro, $899. See everything, everywhere, all the time. Well, at least on any networked surveillance camera to which you have access. Two kinds of people need this app: serious surveillance professionals and stalkers. You can view live or recorded feeds in full screen or six-up in thumbnail mode and control panning and zooming with your touch-screen. As the second most expensive item in the App Store, is it worth it? I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.
Intuition Control Solo WolfVision, $499. We’re deep in suit-world here, as should be evident from the phrase “Intuition Control.” ICS WV lets your iPhone remote-control a WolfVision visualizer—a crisp motion camera used in training, presentations, and telemedicine, among other applications. View the live feed, zoom in and out, freeze-frame and e-mail images, or turn the visualizer on or off with a tap. If you’re a WolfVision regular, $499 might not seem silly.
MATG SAP BusinessOne, $449. My Accounts to Go (MATG) is the mobile front-end for SAP BusinessOne’s financial management system. If you’re a sales rep or sales executive, and you want all your account information organized and available anywhere, MATG is the latest, fastest, sleekest way to get the info you need in the field. One issue: MATG can access, but not directly modify, the database. At least, for this price, you can expense it.
Sight Selector Premium, $449. If you make your living fixing vision problems, then you also help patients understand what the problem is and how you’ll fix it. SSP shows crystal-clear illustrations and videos explaining everything from macular occlusion to laser surgery. Of course, the better the patient can see the app, the less he needs the fix. But there’s a sweet spot where he can actually see the problem and wants the cure, and SSP is great for getting him to understand both.
Luci Live, $399. If you’re in broadcast journalism, then you're only one expensive download away from turning your iPhone into your microphone. Think of using Luci Live as calling everybody in your broadcast radius from your iPhone. Luci Live streams broadcast-quality audio from your mobile device directly to the studio, and it's used by BBC, ESPN, RW, and XM. Bells and whistles that were once the producer’s problem are now available to the journalist.
Mona Lisa Secret, $399. Download Mona Lisa Secret Free and see if you like whatever this app does. Suffice it to say, the most mysterious thing about the Mona Lisa is no longer her smile. This app is a high-resolution image of one work of art that responds to finger-dragging. Lots of Mona Lisa “secrets” were widely discussed well before the advent of the iPhone, and it is unclear which one or ones the developer means. So, why would one of the most expensive iPhone apps have a "free" version? Our guess is that the $399 version is a joke, or possibly some sort of byzantine academic kickback scheme.