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Apple Wants You: For a Reality Show

Taking reality TV into the world of app programming, Apple is looking for 100 of the world's most talented App Store developers to be featured in a new series called Planet of the Apps.

Propagate, Apple's partner in the project, this week issued a casting call for talent to be featured in the "new unscripted series about the world of apps and the developers who create them."

"Over 2 million apps are available on the App Store, with new apps published every day," said Ben Silverman and Howard T. Owens, co-CEOs of Propagate. "Planet of the Apps will give app creators the chance to break through and share their ideas with the world. This is an exciting format that taps into what is driving culture today. We can't wait to see the groundbreaking ideas accepted for the show grow into viable businesses."

Along with at least their 15 minutes of fame, the project's "Planet of the Apps" site says developers will be vying for real-world benefits such as:

  • Mentorship: Hands-on guidance from some of the world's best experts in tech and entertainment.
  • Funding: Those who make it to the final round will meet with top-tier VCs investing up to $10m over the course of the season.
  • Marketing and Promotion: Featured placement in the App Store at the end of the show. Also, the potential to reach millions of viewers around the world on Apple platforms.

It will be interesting to see how Apple/Propagate inject drama into the series while documenting software development, a process the general public might see as about as exciting as watching paint dry or grass grow. I happen to know a "reality TV" participant who was featured in a show that I thought was actually pretty dramatic and interesting -- until he defied a signed agreement and privately spilled the beans that it was all made up, with a cadre of producers and assistants staging every last bit of interesting action. That pretty much ruined my appreciation for the whole "reality" genre. The new apps show, though, does promise to be "unscripted."

Coming Soon
Coming Soon (source: Prospect Productions LLC)

It's surely going to be more interesting to a mainstream audience -- if that's the target; details are skimpy -- than numerous live-coding efforts such as, TOPLAP and others, which likely appeal only to hard-core programmers.

Interested rock star developers (bizarre appearance and prickly personalities might also be valued) can apply through Aug. 26. "To apply, you must agree to have an iOS, macOS, tvOS, or watchOS app in a beta or functional state by Oct. 21, so you can show us what you've built," the site says. Potential contestants are also invited to submit a one-minute video providing details about themselves, their creations and so on.

"The inaugural season will take place in Los Angeles and film over a non-consecutive period from late 2016 to early 2017," the project says. "If you are not able to take off work during this period, please do not apply."

In addition to the online sign-up, the project is enlisting partner Product Hunt for a tour of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Texas, and New York to stage events where interested parties can "meet other tech entrepreneurs and hear from the team behind the series." Dates of the appearances will be announced on the site.

More information is available in the project's FAQ, though details such as exactly when the show will air -- and where it will be broadcast -- and who will be the tech experts and mentors, are not yet available. As they say in biz, stay tuned.

Posted by David Ramel on July 14, 2016