Planet of the Apps premiered on Apple Music on Tuesday, 7th June. It is a 50 minutes tech-based reality show by Apple as their first venture in video streaming content. Hosted by Zane Lowe, Planet of the Apps showcases the journey of developers pitching their ideas to celebrity judges; Gwyneth Paltrow, Will.i.am, Jessica Alba and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. The judges decide which idea is worthy of moving to the next stage, and mentor the selected founders to improve their pitch for investors. The chosen investor, for now, is Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The show begins with an initial 60 seconds ‘escalator’ pitch in which the startup’s founder descends on a moving ramp towards the judges. As the founders descend during the pitch, the judges decide if they want to give them more time to complete the pitch, if it is of interest to them. Once this is done, any one of the judges can choose to offer in-person coaching to the founders to perfect their pitch.
In the first episode, three diverse ideas were presented; Companion – a personal safety app, Pair – a 3D augmented reality interior design app and Twist – a dating app.
Out of the three, Companion was well received. Designed by two college students, Lexie Ernst and Jake Wayne, Companion ensures that you get home safely after leaving work, a party or the gum late night by keeping you connected to friends who will be able to track your journy. Pair and Twist did not make it through to the next stage due to growth and safety concerns.
The first episode of Planet of the Apps received unsatisfactory reviews because viewers claim that it lacked depth. There was uncertainty regarding the selection criteria of the developers, the re-appearance of winners in later episodes and the role of judges/mentors of the show. The reviewers have unanimously compared the show as a combination of The Voice and Shark Tank of the tech-world, and not in a good way.
The first season of Planet of the Apps will consist of 10 episodes. Apple Music subscribers can watch a new episode on iTunes (or in the Apple Music app on iOS or Apple TV) every Tuesday. The concept behind the show is to encourage youth and adults to come up with compelling, world changing ideas. As engaging as the concept sounds, what’s left to see is that how well this concept is received moving forward.