Make us your home page

Inner Four establishes tech credentials with Apple iPhone apps

I'd try to wow you with the fact that Apple is on the verge of its billionth iPhone application download. But I'm way too late. A billion downloads of application programs, or "apps," took place months ago.

Don't know what I am talking about? Listen up. Apple's iPhone is a huge technological and cultural phenom. So are many of its thousands of apps. They are specific software applications that allow the iPhone to act like a handheld computer. Apps are extremely popular and, for software developers, a way to make money — a lot of money if you're good and lucky.

The trick is: What turns iPhone users on? What makes them willing to buy one 99-cent (and up) app over another? Many apps are very useful. Many more are pure whimsy or sophomoric. Tons of iPhone users already have apps that turn their pricey smart phones into virtual fishing rods, sheets of Bubble Wrap and makers of strange bodily noises.

Which brings us to Tampa's Inner Four Inc., a company that has about 150 apps for sale at Apple's App Store. I'd never even heard of Inner Four until it got some attention Monday in Digits, a Wall Street Journal blog.

What caught Digits' eye was not a fancy app, but one that took about an hour to create.

It's called Mirror Free, a joke app so lame that it's offered for free. One app reviewer slammed it as the worst application program ever created for the iPhone.

No matter — and here's a quirky lesson about apps. Mirror Free's a hit. It dominated the App Store's free app rankings for much of last week, despite the product's own description: "Honestly, don't download this. It is just a blank screen with a frame."

Indeed, Mirror Free provides a user with a blank iPhone "mirror" that's simply your reflection when looking into the iPhone screen. The screen is surrounded by a golden frame. Tap the screen for different frames.

That's it.

Now Inner Four, based just north of the Tampa Bay Downs racetrack, is no slouch. Its 150-plus apps for sale for iPhone users offer a diverse range of choices:

iReceipt: Lets a business traveler record expenses, take a photo of any paper receipt, e-mail a text-generated expense report and download receipt images to a PC.

Death Clock: Calculates your approximate death date down to the second, using body mass index, birth date, medical history and habits.

101 Burps: "Relive the memories a hundred times," this app description says.

I left a phone message Monday at Inner Four's automated phone service to try to reach John Swartz, one of the company's founders. There was no callback before deadline.

One app that Inner Four thought would be a laugh backfired. The name — Teen Torture — did not help. It used the iPhone speaker to broadcast high-pitched frequencies inaudible to most adults but unbearable to people under 20. Europe was most critical.

Inner Four in January issued a statement citing public confusion over the name. Teen Torture was "originally chosen merely to get people's attention, not to in any way condone or suggest actual torture of anyone." Still, it pulled the app off the market.

Not to worry, pranksters. Inner Four still sells an app called Mosquito Sounds that generates similar high-pitched sounds.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at

Inner Four establishes tech credentials with Apple iPhone apps 07/20/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 20, 2009 10:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Tampa Bay a top market for homebuyers on the move

    Real Estate

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, ATTOM Data Solutions says.

    The Tampa Bay area is among the top markets for homebuyers who are likely to move in the next few months, a survey found.
[Associated Press file photo]
  2. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA


    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  4. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  5. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]