Some time ago I received an email or tweet (I can't remember which) that said that a new sex magazine would be coming to the iPad. My immediate response was to guess that the app wouldn't be something that would go through Apple's app review process. That was confirmed in a later correspondence.
This morning M.G. Siegler and I received word through the same tweet that the aforementioned launch had taken place: SEXt Magazine. (Siegler, as you may know, is a columnist for TechCrunch.)
If you are familiar with HTML5 magazines or apps for the iPad you should be pretty familiar with how this all works: you visit the main website and from there create an app icon for your iPad. Opening up the app then takes you to what looks like a standard magazine app. But in this case, when you press "buy" you won't be going through the Apple iTunes system but whatever system the app producer is using.
SEXt says it is inspired by iPlayboy (the Playboy archive site). As for the app icon, well, as you can see above, it's well, well...
I can't tell you how the actual digital magazine is, the publisher did not give me a free account so I will leave that up to you to decide (I'm a little poor following the Christmas holiday – or that is my excuse, and I'm sticking to it).
So go ahead and comment here, and remember, you can always post a comment as "Anonymous"!
While the subject of this particular magazine may be an obvious example of why a publisher would take an HTML5 app approach to publishing to the iPad, there are other reasons why a publisher would go this way, as well.
The first one that comes to mind is in the area of B2B publishing.
The Apple Newsstand is simply not currently friendly to B2B publishers who employ a qualified circulation approach. With qualified circulation, the most important thing is to qualify the reader by having the reader fill out a questionnaire which will determine if they fit the proper profile the magazine is pursuing – construction company executives for one magazine, nurses and doctors for another, for instance.
Apple won't share user data, of course. But the fact is that Apple doesn't have the kind information B2B publishers want, in any case. It's not just the name of the person, or their credit card number, that B2B publisher wants, but their job title, the name of their company, its size and whether the potential reader has the authority to buy or specify the goods and services being advertised inside the magazine.
Another reason to go HTML5 would be create a consistency between platforms. A perfect example would be those magazines that today are producing native tablet designs for the iPad, but producing a replica for Android.
Finally, there is the issues of politics, sex and satire, where Apple sometimes gets things very wrong... or at least wrong for a while.