The first episode of Apple’s new reality show, “Planet of the Apps,” has arrived — and it’s a total mess.
The show is a “Shark Tank”-style competition among app developers vying to gain a mentor who will turn their app into the next Facebook, along with a bag stuffed with venture capital money; In other words, the Silicon Valley dream.
This is the first original TV show made by Apple and it features celebrity judges, along with DJ-turned-host Zane Lowe.
Of course, making good television requires different muscles than building beautiful hardware. And Apple’s inexperience in this realm quickly shows up in a variety of clumsy, comical and at times cringe-worthy scenes throughout the 60-minute show.
Business Insider watched the first episode (new episodes will be released every Tuesday). Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly from Apple’s first foray into TV entertainment:
“Planet of the Apps” is hosted by Honest Company founder Jessica Alba, musician Will.i.am, Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, and VaynerMedia founder and CEO Gary Vaynerchuk — and therein lies one of the major problems with the show.
None of the hosts has ever developed an app. With the exception of Gwyneth Paltrow (whose company, Goop, built a travel app called G.Spotting), none of the hosts own companies, or are affiliated with, companies that build apps. None of the hosts even really work in tech at all, unless you count Will.i.am’s Buttons headphones or Gary Vaynerchuk’s early tech investments in Facebook and Twitter.
So, why are these four judging a show about making a hit app? That’s the biggest mystery of “Planet of the Apps,” and one that the judges themselves seem stumped by. At several points throughout the first episode, the judges bow out of mentoring a company because they have zero expertise in the field.
The format of “Planet of the Apps” isn’t unlike “The Voice,” in that each contestant or group of contestants has a set amount of time to pitch their product, then each judge says whether they’re interested in mentoring the aspiring entrepreneur by hitting a “Yes” or “No” button on an iPad.
Oddly, the judges’ decisions appear on a digital circle on the floor — red means “No” and green means “Yes.” If the contestants get all reds, they can’t continue pitching their app. If they get just one yes, they go stand in the middle of the circle and tell the judges more about their product.