updated 09:45 am EDT, Fri October 8, 2010
Includes pay barrier, altered content
Several months after revealing plans, publisher Hearst has finally launched the iPad version of its men's magazine, Esquire. The inaugural issue is enhanced in several ways, like other high-profile magazines converted to the iPad format; the cover appears out of a video of feature subject Javier Bardem for instance, and interactive elements let people examine things like the construction of the new World Trade Center complex. Some other touches include animated illustrations, and a complete copy of Ivan Turgenev's First Love.
There is no free sample of the magazine however, as the app itself is a $5 download. Esquire publisher Kevin O'Malley claims that "we have to have to reshape expectations" about digital prices. Each subsequent issue must also be paid for individually, as while Hearst is thought to be interested in offering a cheaper subscription option, the App Store currently doesn't support subscriptions and a Hearst workaround has yet to be announced.
The first iPad issue is also, unusually, not a one-for-one mirror of content in the print copy. O'Malley notes that as a result, digital sales cannot be lumped in with newsstand figures. The benefit to readers is a reduction in ad clutter, as there are just two ads in the present iPad edition, both from Lexus.