iPhone app version of GQ is good, but needs improvement

Dec 28, 2009
Shine

GQ launched its initial iPhone app version of the popular magazine for its annual “Men Of The Year” issue to much online fanfare. They must have liked the results, because they’ve done the same thing with their new GQ January 2010 issue. Reading GQ on your iPhone is actually easier than I would have expected, but its […]

GQ launched its initial iPhone app version of the popular magazine for its annual “Men Of The Year” issue to much online fanfare. They must have liked the results, because they’ve done the same thing with their new GQ January 2010 issue. Reading GQ on your iPhone is actually easier than I would have expected, but its still like reading a mini-magazine. Although the iPhone app is new, there are many ways it could be improved.

First of all, the GQ iPhone app is a big iPhone app. It will take up a lot of room on your iPhone, so if you’re already full, you’ll have to do some editing. At the iPhone app home page, you can browse the headlines and sections, but you don’t get a full copy of the magazine. This is interesting to me, because you can get 12 copies of the print magazine for $12, or $1 per issue. Yet, each digital issue on your iPhone will cost you $2.99. It would be one thing if you could download a year’s subscription at the print subscription price, but you’ll end up spending more, viewing the magazine is a less-than-desirable way and getting less content for it on its iPhone app version.

The iPhone app does have some interesting features, though the layout of them is pretty plain. I was hoping to use my fingers to scroll through the pages of the magazine, but each article is housed in it’s own link, meaning there is no page flipping. Yet, the way you can read the articles makes sense. You can increase the text size and each article is easily readable, but it lacks the beautiful pictures that make a glossy magazine a whole package. Even though it’s less appealing, you do get the extras, such as video and audio files from interviews.

Overall, I’d hope that in the future, you will get full access to the online version when you download the iPhone app. GQ should throw its iPhone readers a bone and give them a price cut, or invest in more content that is limited to the iPhone version. Still, I think it shows an exciting future for digital magazines and ways for readers to get their content on the go.

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Matthew Hendrickson

Matthew Hendrickson is a freelance writer and Editor and Chief of Jettison Quarterly. He lives in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood and has a degree in journalsim from Columbia College. He has written for the Chicago Journal, The Chicago Reporter, and ChicagoTalks.  His three-part story about lead poisoning rates in Chicago was featured at Propublica.org and IRE.org.

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