GQ Magazine made its foray into iTunes in December, with their first full-content, made-for-iPhone version of the Men of the Year Issue. Now, the recently released GQ January 2010 issue is here. So how does the digital incarnation of Gentlemen’s Quarterly stack up?
First off, given the pricing of GQ January 2010 – and assumedly all issues to follow – it’s nice to see that the app is not just a pared down version of its newsstand sibling. This is the full-length, full-featured magazine. Condé Nast, the publisher behind GQ has opted for a pay-per-issue distribution style rather than a one-off payment as has been the case with other high profile releases, such as The Guardian, with each issue of GQ weighing in at $2.99.
When you initially open up the app you’re presented with a Table of Contents that lists all of the articles and regular sections found in GQ. You can scroll through the list, picking and choosing what you’d like to read.
Once you’ve chosen a section, tapping once anywhere on the screen will bring up the user interface, which consists of just 3 buttons: Home, View Media and Font – making navigation a cinch. “Home” naturally takes you back to the Table of Contents, “View Media” will display the image gallery associated with that article, and “Font” simply adjusts the print size for easier viewing. On some stories, the media bar also brings up links to extra audio, video and there are also embedded links to online stores – creating options for enriched content simply not available in print.
Anyone who has ever read GQ, or really any magazine for that matter is probably asking “But what about the advertising?”. Well, the full page spreads are gone, and thankfully so, but there are still ads – and they are somewhat sneakily hidden too, interspersed throughout the photo galleries. The ads are not overly obtrusive, but it seems that for such a low-cost distribution method as an iPhone app, the argument to justify the inclusion of advertisements isn’t as strong as for print.
On a similar issue, while I understand the need for cross-promotion, the in-your-face link to subscribe to the GQ Print edition at the bottom of every article in the magazine does cheapen the overall look of the app.
Content wise, this month GQ Magazine features:
- Rhianna interview, photo shoot and exclusive in-app video
- Style and fashion tips for 2010
- Guide to the best new restaurants in America
- D.C.’s best and worst dressed leaders
- Round-up of 2009’s most Oscar-worthy movies
- Office wardrobe advice
- Commentary on culture, politics, sports and new gear
The bottom line is, if you like GQ Magazine and don’t mind reading off your iPhone, then you’re going to love this app. The editorial is still sharp, the content interesting and the media crisp and well-presented.
GQ January 2010 requires the iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with both iPhone and iPod Touch.