Episode 35: Gym Babes, the pinnacle of iPhone App innovation

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Every now and then, an iPhone application hits the marketplace and causes an absolute stir.

Gym Babes is one of them.

It is, quite simply, one of the most innovative concepts I’ve ever seen.

It’s patently useless.

It won’t tell you the time in Tokyo.

It won’t find your last train home.

It won’t pay the London Congestion Charge automatically according to your location.

It won’t let you book a hotel room.

It won’t enable you to converse with a Mongolian Monk about the next moon cycle.


And there is a but!

It will let you watch a choice of two reasonably attractive women running on a treadmill, formatted in glorious iPhone format.

What’s more you get a choice of whether you’d like to see the lady run, walk or ‘slow-mo’.

And there is, of course, some fairly dodgy — yet highly appropriate — accompanying music.

Why is this good? Why is this the pinnacle?

Well, the concept. It’s simply marvelous. How simple can you get? Run the application, select a girl (there’s a choice of two at the moment) and you see a perfectly formatted close-up portrait video of that girl running, along with the dodgy music. It does what it says on the tin.

Then there’s the innovation. Somebody at Vertex, the developers, came up with the concept. They got out their cash, hired some developers, took the time to film the movies in high quality and format them correctly for the iPhone experience, and they sent the app out to the marketplace. I love what this says about entrepreneurial possibilities in the iPhone App Era.

It was so simple for them that I bet they were able to create the whole thing, including videos, for a few thousand dollars.

The barriers to entry are so low that this concept was able to be turned from idea to reality.

I also really, really like the fact that this does not exist for the Nokia Ovi Store. I like this, because it’s a constant and continual reminder of just how far the Ovi Store and Symbian platform has to go.

Why did Vertex, the company behind the app, create it for the iPhone? The process was simple, assured (although getting through the Apple censors must have been a bit of fun) and there’s fiscal reward.

I’m sure I actually *bought* Gym Babes. But it’s actually free now. I think that’s because we should shortly expect the ability to ‘access’ other models with some in-app payments.

And finally, it’s got to be the best, best value application — on the planet — for showing to your mates in the pub. Males will burst out laughing and draw nearer. Females will, I suspect, take one look at the screen and think, ‘heh, ruuubbbbish,’ but, I hope, value the concept. (For it can’t be long before the author of Gym Babes releases Gym Boys featuring some hot Latin chappies pounding away. (On the running machine)

Some will comment that this application adds next to no value to the mobile experience. I disagree. It’s all about the innovation and the complete lack of barriers to entry. The fact that somebody was able to envision the concept, get it programmed and get it into the store speaks volumes about the market position of the iPhone platform. It’s so straight-forward, so predictable, that people are now able to concentrate on delivering entertainment applications like Gym Babes.

Years ago this simply wasn’t possible. It’s was just too difficult to deliver the Gym Babes experience *easily* (without a degree in Nuclear Physics) on many of the mobile platforms of yesteryear.

The fact that we’re able to see — in a Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs viewpoint — silly, semi-pointless and hilarious services like Gym Babes hit the marketplace can only be a good thing. Pitched correctly, I think the developers of Gym Babes can make a ton of money. Some males will take a heck of a lot of private value from oggling the Gym Babes girls. You only need to look at the continued success of Page 3 semi-naked girls in the United Kingdom to see there’s a ton of demand for soft-porn. Gym Babes is light-as-a-feather. Apple wouldn’t have carried it otherwise. I think the vast majority of users — at least initially — will be like me. Downloading it to show off to people, to get a reaction.

My favourite thing to do with Gym Babes at the moment is to stand in a crowd of mobile geeks and declare, loudly, “I’ll show you why Nokia Ovi Store is going nowhere.”

(That definitely gets attention in the UK, anyway, there are still Nokia fans here)

I then produce my iPhone to the expectant crowd and fire up Gym Babes.

The fact Gym Babes isn’t on the Ovi Store speaks volumes, *VOLUMES*, about how utterly inaccessible (and sadly, how irrelevant) the Symbian development platform is to most developers.

We’ll know the Ovi Store has arrived when we start seeing applications of this quality and this limited feature-set appear and start generating revenues for it’s owners. I think, unfortunately, it’s going to be a long, long time before anyone creates this kind of experience for Symbian.

Meantime, if you’ve got an iPhone, you need to have Gym Babes on it. So you can show it to people.

Here’s the direct iTunes link: Gym Babes

Now, enjoy Episode 35.

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