Playboy Arrives on iPad, Cut and Covered

By Steve Smith
08/11/2010

Following the model of limited content and no nudity it initiated months ago with its iPhone app, Playboy projects the same approach larger on the iPad. The $4.99 Playboy HD downloadable digital version of the magazine for Apple’s Tablet gives you much but not all of the current August issue in a format customized for iPad swiping. Those who always read the magazine ‘just for the articles’ may be enthused (albeit put off by the price point), but anyone looking for gatefolds and skin will be grousing about it in the iTunes review section.

The app was developed by Jump Games and turns the major features in the issue into a set of oversized thumbnails. Front matter like After Hours and Mantrack product overviews are here, as is the monthly Playboy Interview, 20 Questions and the larger journalistic features. To be sure, Playboy has put in almost all of the issue, but it leaves out most of the pictorials and cartoons as well as anything more than attractive headshots of its Playmate of the Month. All this for the same price as the hard copy issue.

Most of the articles look good enough and are converted to vertical scrolls of the major sections. The World of Playboy feature is rendered with large images of the usual Playmates and overjoyed young male celebs with their kid-in-a-candy-store grins. There is very little interactivity, however. The stories don’t link to any dynamic digital content. We heard a rumor there was a video in here, and after a lot of digging we found one 30-second clip of the month’s playmate being interviewed. Really?

Playboy’s situation is not to be envied in the App Store. Apple itself seems to be banning nudity, so the publisher has to come up with something that appears to deliverer value without delivering the ‘goods’ as many readers define it. The result is almost a full issue at a premium price. The problem for Playboy is that the missing pieces are so obvious because they are so well known.

Given the amount of video assets, lush imagery, musical history, cartooning and legacy at its disposal, there has to be a great Playboy app waiting to be made. Our guess is that Playboy even could get away with a non-nude version to satisfy Apple’s prudish ways. But they would need to over-deliver their other strengths – which are there but not on show in this app.

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