GQ Magazine’s new iPhone app seems to offering a glimpse into the future of what we think of as a magazine. Released by Conde Naste, GQ’s Man of the Year issue is now available, in its entirety, as an app that you can purchase (for half the normal magazine price) from the iTunes store to be viewed on your new or refurbished cell phone. For an industry that has seen subscriptions steadily declining as web technology advances, this app should symbolize the leather used to re-tie the wagon to the horses.
The natural question to ask about a magazine app is, “How does it differ from just going to GQ’s website?” If you’ve ever gone to a magazine’s website, you know that the sites don’t give away all of the content from that month’s mag because if they did, there’d be no reason to buy the printed issue. The goal has been to give you a taste of each article to entice you to actually go buy a copy of the real thing. This GQ app marks a total change to the paradigm.
This GQ app actually is the magazine, which you can flip through on your touch screen just like a real magazine. It’s actually more than a magazine because all of it’s content is “live,” meaning that the advertisements now move and talk if you click on them, they’ll take you to their source. The release of this app makes me wonder why anyone would want to actually produce printed magazines anymore. Think about it; they can charge half the price of a printed copy because they’ve saved money on printing, warehousing, and shipping, and readers now get more out of the product because they can actually interact with it. In reality, apps like this save trees and reduce household clutter. It seems like a win-win situation. That being said, I can’t shake this lingering feeling that I will miss the actual pages in my hand. I mean, do I really want my iPhone on the toilet with me?