Comedy-magician Mac King and the new trend in iPhone apps

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” says Arthur C. Clarke, the author who gave us 2001: A Space Odyssey. And while devices such as the iPad certainly seem like magic, our trendy technology is now being used to create magic.

A simple search of “magic tricks” on the iTunes store turns up hundreds of applications. For example, magician (and David Copperfield’s executive producer) Chris Kenner has Rising Card ($2.99), an effect where a named card rises out of a pack shown on the screen. Marty’s Magic Coin ($2.99) traps a coin inside your iPod Touch or iPhone only to come out into the real world with a shake of the wrist. And Tenyo, a venerable name in the magic marketplace, has created Magic Shuffle (99 cents), where a named card turns upside down in the screen deck. Any of these apps, and the hundreds like them, can generally be performed just a few minutes after purchasing and downloading them from the app store.

Comedy magician Mac King is now joining the fray with an app for the iPhone and iPod called Campfire Magic. A companion piece to his recent book of the same name, the app acts as a visual supplement to the book’s collection of 50 easy tricks for 9- to 12-year-olds. Here, King is playing the app game by his own rules. Instead of creating an application that turns your device into a show prop, King’s app is educational. It will teach you 11 tricks and tips that aren’t in his book.

Although it would be cool to see what iPhone trick he would’ve invented, King’s app is what we should expect from the man who gave us Tricks You Can Do With Your Head: Hilarious Magic Tricks and Stunts to Disgust and Delight (Three Rivers Press, 2002), which instructs readers how to stick food up their noses and utensils in their eyes. Outside of his show, he’s all about teaching and making the normally restricted realm of magic open to the general public, who can now get more out of their iPhones than a new high score on BrickBreaker.