Magic is a start-up that offers to bring you anything you wish, no questions asked. By sending a text along with your request, it is possible to get anything done, for a price. It’s yet another app that is fuelling the new on-demand urban economy, think Uber, but for anything you can think of.
Unlike traditional apps, Magic is a text-based service that does not exist on any particular interface, and it does not have a website or app. These so-called “invisible apps” present an interesting alternative to our traditional conception of smartphone apps, as their purpose is to maximize their utility to you without cramming your phone’s memory. They can be seen as representing the rise of services that pull away from previous models, where apps compete for your attention as well as a place on your home screen. Invisible apps release an element of control back to the user, with services such as Magic only being accessible through text message, sent when you want, without push-notifications or updates. Because after all, there comes a certain point where you just no longer want to “sign in with Facebook”.
While on-demand delivery apps such as Magic may be a lifesaving tool when you’ve forgotten to pick up some groceries, or have no time to pick out your spouse’s anniversary gift, these sorts of services are not always viewed positively. We’ve heard it before, that technology is making us anti-social, that people would rather sit with their eyes glued to a smartphone than chit-chat with their dinner date. In fact, if the instant gratification economy could get anything and everything done for you or delivered to you, why leave the house at all? The concern is that with on-demand services available to us over the internet or on our smartphones, people will no longer have the need to go out to the supermarket, the bank, and we will live ever more indoors, and on the web.
However, there are a wide variety of on-demand apps being developed in the past couple of years (such as Postmates, MakeSpace, and Breather), that like Magic, aim to cater to the needs of busy, urban professionals that have money to spend and no time to spend it. Thanks to these technologies, the luxury of having time freed-up by others taking care of your errands, is extended to anyone who has a cellphone. Along with the price of your request, Magic also includes a service charge, delivery fee, and a tip, so often you would be spending more money than if you had just gone out and done it yourself- but hey, that’s the price you pay for having the world at your fingertips.