How Playboy pulled a fast one on Apple

By Rosa Golijan
I just flipped through a stack of pornographic magazines on my iPad*and not even Steve Jobs himself could do a thing to stop me.*How on earth did Playboy manage to make its entire uncensored archive* 682 magazine issues* easily accessible on Apple's porn-unfriendly platform?

Easy! It entirely bypassed Apple's notoriously strict App Store guidelines and made an old-school Web app.

Web apps are how developers got their products to iOS users before Apple finally made an SDK software development kit**available in 2008. They're simplified*Javascript,*CSS, or*HTML5 apps which are run directly in browsers.

This means that you won't be downloading anything from the Apple App Store in order to access Playboy's newest offering. Instead you'll be heading to i.playboy.com (in case you can't guess: that link is not safe for work or young eyes). There you'll be greeted by an interface perfectly formatted for the iPad and an invitation to log into Playboy's subscription service.

Of course, if you haven't already subscribed to the archive, you can also do so at this point. It'll set you back either $8/month or $60/year depending on which option you choose.*

Either way, the next screen will allow you to select any Playboy issue you want and browse through it* from cover to cover. The digital archive appears to use scans of the original magazines, which means that you get every story* in case you're really looking through the nudie mag just for the writing* and even every single original ad:

There's a downside to this particular aspect of the archive though: Centerfolds wind up with actual ... centerfolds in spots where images didn't quite match up.

I doubt that things would be too different with a "real" iPad app so we can't really label this quirk as a weakness of the Web app* which Playboy could also update at a moment's notice to fix these image annoyances.

What is an actual weakness of the app is its need for a 3G or Wi-Fi Internet connection in order to access content. Other than that it's as good as a "regular" iPad app might be.

Playboy: 1. Apple: 0.