While I don’t condone this decision - lets get something straight (pointed out in original post/story) - this will be via a purchase in the iBooks store, not as an App.
Apple approves each and every app by hand. iBooks, not so much...
I don’t think Apple had a decision in it at all. Although the apps are in a closed system, the web is wide open. Apple declined to comment because it’s not any of their business.
All Playboy is doing is optimizing a web site for the iPad.
BTW, other comments about Playboy and whether or not it was literature. There were definitely some great stories in it. I first read Jean Shepherd’s writings in Playboy. “Wanda Hickey’s Night of Golden Memories” was one of the funniest short stories ever written. Fahrenheit 451 was originally published in serialized format in Playboy magazine. There were also quite a few Playboy interviews that were excellent. The worst of Playboy’s writings was Hefner’s insufferable Playboy Philosophy. Hefner hired some top rate people for the text portion of the magazine, and often didn’t even read the fiction.