GQ, Other Conde Titles to Launch iPhone Editions

By Steve Smith

éIn short order this year the iPhone has become a place where magazines are planting a stake in the ground for moving their brands aggressively into mobile devices. Condé Nast already has apps for its, Lucky and Epicurious brands, but next month the full “Man of the Year” issue of GQ will premiere on the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, the company announced yesterday. Not only will the full issue be rendered in a magazine reader on the phone, but Conde Nast says the Audit Bureau of Circulation will regard the paid downloads as digital replicas of the print edition and therefore have them count toward the circulation of the December issue of GQ. The issue should be available via the Apple iTunes App Store when the print issue hits newsstands on November 18 for a $2.99 price.

Much like a digital magazine format on the Web, the Condé Nast Nast magazine reader will reproduce the magazine but also will include hot links to Web sites, video, and e-commerce opportunities. The reader was developed in-house by Condé Nast Nast Digital.

This is not the first time magazines have tried to replicate themselves on mobile. Digital magazine providers such as Zinio and Texterity have had mobile magazine readers on the iPhone Web platform for a while. Cliché Magazine lets iPhone users leaf through facsimiles of recent issues and even pull them from a newsstand. It is an open question whether readers want the full issue of a magazine on their phones. Several developers have tried such models already on the iPhone, with no obvious examples of success. In fact, when the iPhone first appeared on the scene, Apple touted its “full Web browsing” as an appealing feature. But it turns out that most users of the lush and large iPhone screen prefer their content reformatted for the smaller, portrait orientation of a mobile screen. Content that requires pinching and pulling, zooming and repositioning is not the most convenient way to consume it. Creating a reader that preserves the design sensibilities of the original print product while maintaining iPhone navigability will be a challenge.