September 2, 2013
Fast Flashlight – It Does What It Says
iOS developers tap tap tap of Camera+ fame have released a new, cutting edge and dead simple app which features flat design and does just one thing; turn on the flashlight.
What follows will be the most ridiculous, inane and undeniably the most fun app review I’ll have ever written.
There’s something about human beings — call it the eternal struggle, call it the human condition, call it our knack for being easily distracted — that causes us to take a sophisticated piece of technology and computer-driven wizardry and turn it into a bleeping fart machine.
When Apple first allowed developers to create and sell apps for the iPhone, the App Store was almost immediately flooded with the representations of zeroes and ones, the clear product of some insomnia-addled nerd’s tireless work. There were plenty of apps, yes, but most of them were tip calculators, flashlights and, yes, fart machines. Some of the more clever developers found ways to fool people into thinking they’d built a fingerprint scanner app which only lets the owner unlock it with their own particular skin ridges and ripples.
Turns out Apple might have the last laugh on that one, functional as their rumored scanner technology may be.
Many of these apps, as you may remember, were lumped into this horrendous “101 Apps In One” apps and often included a level, a “mirror” and other foolish, single use apps. I say “single use” because you probably tried them once in a quest to see if there really were 101 apps and if they were all operational. If you’re anything like me, you made it through app 35 before realizing you just wasted 99 cents on little more than the sticky kind of shame that will follow you to your grave. It’s a similar shame to that of always knowing, always remembering that terrible thing you Googled that one time.
So, why a flashlight app? After all, Apple is FINALLY adding a native flashlight into iOS 7 (what took you guys so long) and those who needed a flashlight (read: every iPhone owner) have already found their solution to illuminating a dark room. Me? I use the built in flashlight in Launch Center Pro.
According to a blog by developer John Casasanta, tap tap tap built the app because no other flashlight app did just that — turn on the flashlight.
I suppose the developers of these other flashlight apps had a meeting at one point wherein an accountant raised a concern they had about people not wanting to drop 99 cents on an app that ONLY turns on the LED light on the back of their phone.
“I mean, we have to put something, ANYTHING else in there, right? How can we bloat this simple software into something more closely resembling an overgrown cave troll?” I imagine them saying.
Oh, to be a fly on that wall.
Frustrated with the options available, Casasanta had built the app for his own personal use over a year and a half ago and, for some reason which he never fully explains, decided to sell it on the App Store. He kind of had to do a little work to get it there, too. Because of all the stupid nonsense apps, Apple placed a temporary ban on Flashlight apps, so tap tap tap bought out an existing flashlight app, (oh to be a fly) stripped away the cruft, and reentered the new hotness.
According to previous blogs, tap tap tap aren’t fans of the new “flat” design of iOS 7, so there’s a little gentle ribbing in the blog post.
“We’ve truly embraced the flat design fad for this one. It can be none more flat. If you look closely at the reflection, you can see the shark being jumped.”
The screen is nothing more than a black screen. No buttons. You have to hit the home or power buttons to extinguish the flashlight.
The previous sentence, by the way, could very well be the extent of my app review. It’s as brilliant and simple as “tap this, press home.”
To prove just how fast and simple Fast Flashlight is, tap tap tap also included the entirety of the source code in the app description.
It’s available now in the app store and if you don’t already have a flashlight solution and can’t wait until iOS 7 is released, go give it a try.
Image Credit: Ingka D. Jiw / Shutterstock