TC50: With Penn & Teller, your iPhone does card tricks too

Magicians Penn & Teller are launching an iPhone application at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco today. It’s a way for iPhone users to perform card tricks and, in the process, convince everyone that they’re friends with the famous illusionists.

Basically, you have your friend pick a card from a deck, then you give them your iPhone with the app turned on. The app looks like your standard SMS text message interface, where they’re putatively going texting back-and-forth with Penn & Teller to guess the card that they picked. There’s a lot of sarcastic, funny patter, as the app asks questions about your card, then finally guesses what it is. You win!

The proper Penn & Teller thing to do at that point: Collect any bets, then show your audience how the trick works. What your friend didn’t know was that as you were activating the app, you also entered the card’s suit and value. Penn & Teller’s app, despite making lots of noise pretending it was calculating a guess, had started out already knowing what your friend’s card was.

As you can probably guess, Penn & Teller are trying to create a new company just to market themselves on the iPhone. The app is available on the App Store now.

“It’s not so much a moneymaker for us, as a public service to get guys laid,” Penn Jillette said.

Click here for more startup news coming out of the TechCrunch50 conference today.

[Photo: Penn & Teller]

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