PlayBoy launches uncensored iPad app, evading Apple's eyes in the process

While Apple has been staunchly opposed to allowing pornography on the iPad, Playboy has found an interesting way around the restrictions with its release of iPlayboy.
Written by Ricardo Bilton, Contributor

Playboy today announced that iPlayboy, its iPad-optimized app announced earlier this year, is finally available. The app offers access to every single issue published in the magazine's nearly 60-year existence, as well as access to new issues, for $8 per month or $60 per year.

Curiously, iPlayboy makes its appearance almost a year to the day of Gawker writer Ryan Tate well-known email exchange with Apple CEO Steve Jobs. During the conversation, Steve Job's praised the iPad's ability to offer freedom from, among other things, pornography.

This is because Apple, and especially Steve Jobs himself, has traditionally not been too keen on allowing nudity in the walled garden that is the iOS ecosystem. This has created significant hurdles for Playboy in getting its app onto the iPad, as evidenced, certainly, by the fact that the app was supposed to launch in March.

So how did Playboy manage to stand up against the overwhelming ideology of Steve Jobs himself? By completely circumventing it. iPlayboy may look and feel like an iPad app but there is very little about the release that is specific to the iPad. Instead of creating an actual iPad application, Playboy merely created a website and optimized it for the iPad. Users actually access iPlayBoy via i.playboy.com in the iPad's web browser, making it closer to a website than an application.

This was a smart move for a variety of reasons. Not only is PlayBoy able to capitalize on the mass appeal and branding of the iPad but it is also able to do so without sacrificing its most significant asset: nudity.

Apple, in a strange way, wins as well, because it doen't have to backtrack on previous policies as it allows, in a roundabout way, pornography on the iPad.

Playboy's methods also offer other vendors a clear and effective model on how to get their content on the iPad while bypassing Apple's strict application review process: Just go around it. Other publishers are sure to follow its lead.

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