April Fools' Day pranks that came true

April fools' Day is celebrated all over the world on 1 April, when people mark the occassion with pratical jokes and general silliness. These kind of pranks are particularly popular in the the tech world with Pocket-lint even pulling a few of its own jolly japes in years gone by. The irony is that some of these have actually ended up coming true. Read on for our round-up of the best.

Tauntaun sleeping bag

Star Wars fans (the Pocket-lint team included) couldn't believe their eyes when ThinkGeek introuduced a cuddly sleeping bag in the shape of a Tauntaun - the furry snowbeast that Han Solo uses to save Luke Skywalker from a frosty death in The Empire Strikes Back. Complete with printed internal intestines and a plush lightsaber zipper pull, the portable bedding looked like a dream come true for Star Wars aficionados so we weren't the only ones that were gutted when we found out that it was actually just an April Fool.

However, the product proved so popular, with thousands of fans trying to order it, that the team at ThinkGeek actually managed to get clearance from the notoriously litigious Lucasfilm to put the sleeping bag into production for real. Yours for $99.99.


This one is from the Pocket-lint archives - a mobile phone app that promises to let you see where you're going while you're looking at your phone, while texting or sending an email. Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted that the app developer Looflirpa is April Fool spelled backwards.

Since that jape in 2009, numerous genunine apps have surfaced that do actually let you use your phone's rear camera to let you see where you're going, while overlaying your text or email screen so that you can see both things at once. Text Vision will set you back just 59p from iTunes.

iCADE iPad Arcade Cabinet

Another one from the funsters over at ThinkGeek, the iCADE was announced on 1 April 2010 and comes in the shape of a retro-styled tabletop arcade cabinet that connects to your iPad using Bluetooth. Needless to say, this was another completely made-up product.

But once again, the product proved so popular that ThinkGeek partnered with ION and Atari to make the gadget a reality. Classic games, such as Asteroids, will available with iCADE support built-in and an API will soon be available to third-party games developers. The iCADE will be available in June 2011 for $99.99.


Virgle/Expedia flights to Mars

In 2009, Google issued a press release outlining Virgle - a joint venture with Virgin, dedicated to the establishment of a human settlement on Mars, with the first manned flight pencilled in for 2016. Needless to say it was merely a jape. In 2009, Expedia offered flights to Mars for just £99, having dropped its interplanetary booking fee, slashing the price by nearly £3 Trillion. Not a bad deal except, of course, for the fact that it was all total nonsense.

Admittedly, this hasn't exactly come true, but you can now book a place on a flight to space, courtesy of Virgin Galactic. No launch date has been confirmed, but the first flight is estimated to take place in 2012. Tickets cost $200,000 with deposits starting at $20,000, so the first flights will be full of rich folk including a healthy smattering of celebrities. We don't wish to sound negative, but it's got 'disaster movie' written all over it.


Mobile phone add-on for iPod

Another one from the Pocket-lint vaults, this time we duped many of our readers into believing that Apple was to introduce a mobile phone add-on for the iPod, and was set to become a big player in the mobile phone market.

This was way back in 2004, and was a total fabrication, created by our esteemed editor. However - fast forward a few years to 2007 and Apple announced its very first iPhone (pictured above). And the rest, as they say, is history.


New York Times iPad app

The pranksters at TechCruch seemed to have missed the memo about April Fools' jokes being funny when they wrote a completely feasible story about the New York Times introducing an iPad app, when it had done no such thing. The joke was that TechCrunch used an old NY Times article from 1996 announcing its website, changing the words 'website' to 'iPad app'. Hilarious, no? The NY Times failed to see the joke and asked them to remove the post.

The following day, the NY Times announced the launch of a genuine free iPad app, making the initial gag seem even less amusing and more like a savvy piece of SEO.

Do you know of any other tech pranks that came true? Let us know in the comments box below.

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