Playboy magazine has arrived the iPad, at last, fully uncensored for your reading, and I guess viewing, pleasure. As with all good things in life, the app won’t come for free: $7.24 a month if you commit to buy a yearly subscription, $17.95 a month for a monthly subscription and a whopping $0.95 if you just want to try it out for 3 days. No, there is no free trial.
It all began with a tweet in January by Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy, announcing that there would be an app by "March". That latter promise didn’t materialize and we’re only seeing a release now, but nonetheless, I’m sure we’re almost all too excited to even notice the two-month delay.
Based on a demo found at the app’s website, i.playboy.com, the app is actually a website. That might have been caused by Apple’s restrictions on well you know what and other possibly susceptible content. Subscribed users can simply head over to the website whenever they feel like it, which is just as practical.
The web app itself enables subscribers to look through every issue, from the latest one to those from the 60s and 70s that would likely be nowhere to be found, other than collector’s offices. Once you’ve picked the edition you want, you’ll be brought to a contents page where you can look at the contents of one particular issue, from interviews to columns and other articles. All issues are of course searchable, which is also more convenient than looking through an dusty old drawer.
There’s, of course, also the enhanced experience that comes with having all the content online. Scrolling is fairly simple, and as stressed by the demo itself, pinch and zooming functions are available, so you can look at Playboy’s "legendary photography in more detail". You’re also able to search within the magazine itself, as well as look at a scrollable table of contents by simply tapping the screen from anywhere inside any issue. Browsing to another issue altogether is also a few taps away, without the need to return to the index.
This app definitely has its core market. Other than pr0n fanatics, collectors and fans of 20th century culture will feel at home here. And maybe more importantly, this proves Apple’s original vision for iOS development, web apps, is viable and, maybe more importantly, isn’t subject to Apple’s strict approval process. If other developers get on board, we could see a trend shift. And it would have been Playboy to have started it all.