Top Apps For The 1%

There’s been an interesting phenomenon occurring lately, thanks to the increasing ability of companies to reach and serve ultra-niche audiences — the rise of the app for the 1 percent. Now more than ever, you can download apps that you can’t actually afford to use.

The democratization of the app store, of course, has meant services that used to only be available for the ultra-rich are now within reach of ordinary users. Think Uber, for example. Once upon a time, it would have been unheard of for most people to call a black car, and yet Uber makes such a service a somewhat affordable, if still luxury, option. A once-in-a-while thing.

But then there’s that whole other side of the spectrum, in which a whole new breed of apps and startups have emerged over the last few years that aren’t for the 99 percentile of users at all. These are apps developed specifically to appeal to a select group of individuals who want the finer things in life.

It used to be that mobile apps for the extremely wealthy were largely a joke. The famed “I Am Rich” app, launched first on iOS and later cloned for Android and Windows Phone 7, was one example of a mobile application targeted solely at those who could afford to waste money on it. Now they’re becoming commonplace, and that’s offering regular users a view into just what they can’t have.

With that in mind, here’s a list of the best apps and services you probably can’t afford to use. Happy window shopping!

It doesn’t get much more 1 percent than an on-demand private jet service. And, well, that’s what BlackJet is. Ostensibly, the company hopes to bring the cost of private air travel down by making it more efficient. That might be true, but with a $2,500 membership fee and one-way flights that run thousands of dollars a piece, BlackJet is still priced out of range for most of us used to flying coach. But if you’re used to flying private jets, it’s supposed to be, like, a really good deal.

Even before American Express took a stake in luxury destination travel site Inspirato, it was positioned to be out of reach for the hoi polloi. Even just the name — Inspirato — sounds like it was translated from some foreign language to mean “you can’t afford this.” Anyway, this is a company that specializes in offers on exclusive vacation homes and resorts. But what do you care? You’re never going to use it.

Onefinestay is a site for people who are so rich that they’re like, “Fuck it, I don’t want to stay in a hotel. I want to stay in another rich person’s house.” It’s like some bizarro Airbnb, where you actually pay more to sleep in someone else’s bed and raid their fridge. That said, you know the sheets are clean — they bring in their own linens — and you get a free iPhone during your stay. How baller is that?

You know what’s more personal than a car? A boat. Seriously, if I ever had a boat (and here’s betting that’ll never happen, because boats are expensive), the last thing I’d do is let some stranger off the Internet borrow the damn thing. And yet, there are people in the world who would do just that. I don’t understand how they can live with themselves.

Sotheby’s Catalogue
Yes, an app for perusing all the fine art stuffs that you can buy at auction. Sotheby’s Catalogue makes me wonder why I’ve even bothered to continue writing this list.

Tiffany & Co. Engagement Ring Finder
Fuck you, Tiffany & Co.! (See also: Diamonds Are Bullshit)

VIP Black
At first glance, iVIP’s VIP Black just looks like the next version of the “I Am Rich” app. You pay $1,000 and then what? Discounts, I guess. Only for those who have $1,000 just lying around to find out.

Would any list like this be complete without Dave Morin’s “custom-designed, one-of-a-kind bespoke app” to communicate and collaborate with his assistant?