GQ Magazine Review

Posted by Zach Sims on June 6th, 2010
iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

Developer: Conde Net
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Re-use Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar


Conde Nast's Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) came out a bit earlier on the iPhone than Wired and could be a harbinger of what the future holds for the many Conde Nast publications headed to the iPad. GQ offers an interesting take on layout as well. Their portrait orientation is a new iPad/iPhone specific layout, requiring users to click on individual articles in order to read them and to display the toolbar and click "back" to get back into the reading workflow. This is somewhat similar to the horizontal and vertical workflow in Wired but it includes the additional step of touching into the story and tapping away from it. Turning the iPad into landscape, however, displays the traditional magazine layout almost as if it were a PDF.

[caption id="attachment_38227" align="alignright" width="225" caption="GQ\'s Story Page"]

[/caption]The occasional interactivity in GQ does very little for the overall presentation and the workflow definitely needs work. It's fascinating - trying to merge photos and text with a traditional and manipulable portrait view and the traditional landscape view. GQ's first attempt at the iPad is ambitious. Hopefully future iterations will improve upon the innovations in GQ and take them to the next level.

Conde Nast seems to be ahead of the curve on adapting their magazines for the iPad - both Wired and GQ are Conde Nast properties. Popular Science publisher Bonnier has adopted a universal platform for all of their magazines, Mag+. Conde Nast would do well to have its magazines collaborate on their iPad applications. Both Wired and GQ have interesting takes on the user interface required for a successful iPad magazine app, but neither fully nails the concept. GQ has a slight advantage over Wired with its integrated subscription store, something Wired is sorely lacking. Wired also exists only as an iPad app, whereas GQ manages to shrink the magazine to iPhone size too, reaching a larger audience and experimenting with different forms of content delivery.

GQ is an ambitious attempt to take digital magazines to a user group that may not be quite as tech savvy as Wired's. They do so, however, with a somewhat convoluted user interface that needs refining.