Playboy's new iPhone app: Pay for all the non-nudes fit to print

In a move that lives somewhere between progressive and repressive, Playboy offers a new iPhone app without its signature flesh.

A sanitized scene from the new Playboy app. Playboy/iTunes

Naked bodies are everywhere these days.

Why, even Vevo is participating in the promulgation of topless women in the new Robin Thicke music video. It was even on YouTube for a short while.

It's perhaps wise, then, to admire Playboy's post-modern confidence in launching a new iPhone app that seems to have decided that nudity is anything but new.

As the Los Angeles Times disrobes it, Playboy realized that Apple's app store bodyguards wouldn't allow an app that featured such threatening items as nipples accompanied by smiles.

So the legendary bunny-pushers put their ears together and decided that the only way to get an iPhone app approved was to have no nudity at all.

This revolutionary thinking led to summary approval of a very summery little app that offers "exclusive content you can only find on the App, plus the best articles from the latest issue of Playboy Magazine."

Please don't worry though. You can lean into this app and still see pictures of girls. To quote the iTunes description: "Content includes NON-NUDE girl pictorials and original lifestyle content (Food, Drink, Style, Travel)." (The capital letters are not mine.)

The L.A. Times quotes Scott Flanders, CEO of Playboy Entertainment: "We've rebuilt Playboy for iPhone from the ground up to attract the new generation of Gen Y fans who enjoy the indulgences of the artisanal good life and modern culture."

Is there a soupcon of a suggestion in those words that the younger generations are more interested in food than sex? Might the good life no longer entail the pursuit of what used to be pejoratively referred to as "tail"?

I ask this question as I have been deeply embedded in an article from the Atlantic today that suggests the biggest problem with today's so-called "hook-up culture" is that the hooking-up lacks a certain hook.

Indeed, it seems that the rather transactional nature of the modern sexual experience tends to make it not much of an experience.

It's more akin to two high schoolers having a quick cigarette behind the chemistry building.

Might the content of Playboy's new app -- though foisted upon it by the moral colonels of Cupertino -- actually reflect a genuinely altering attitude toward sex and therefore toward the Playboy brand?

The chutzpah ingrained in this app is quite something. It's not merely that it offers PG versions of comely ladies, spiced with the deeper thoughts of Matt Damon, Quentin Tarantino, Lena Dunham and, um, the former model Padma Lakshmi.

It's that Playboy still wants you to pay for the thing.

A subscription of $1.99 per month, $10.99 for six months, or $19.99 for a year will bring all the non-nudes that are fit to print.

It will be pulsating to see whether this demure offer entices those who believe that being a playboy means a lot more than hob-nobbing with the disrobed.

 

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