SI's Nina Agdal
The 2016 Sports Illustrated (SI) swimsuit issue’s new virtual reality app and it is attracting major interest in the market that initially thought this whole virtual reality thing was just a phase.

SI's VR app is just the latest attempt in the magazine’s campaign to keep its swimsuit issue fresh at a time when models can post photos from their latest photo shoots to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook every day.

Available today as a free download for Android and iOS, the SI app is an attempt to keep the swimsuit issue brand relevant throughout the year rather than just in the winter when the magazine traditionally comes out.

The app features four main sections: "Swimsuit Issue 2016" gives you access to all of the 2016 issue’s shots, while "Collection" serves as a library of all the previous models who have appeared in the issue over the years, as well as a number of their photos. "Swim Daily" imports content from Sports Illustrated's Swim Daily blog (including photos, news, and updates on what the models have been up to recently).

Then there’s the "Virtual" section, which will probably be one of the biggest draws for the app. This feature lets users strap on a Google Cardboard-style VR headset and watch two- to three-minute clips of Nina Agdal and former cover models Hannah Davis and Irina Shayk doing their thing on a beach in the Dominican Republic.

Some of the clips show the models posing and staring directly at the camera, which gives the whole experience a more intimate feeling. Other clips see the user standing in the center of their photo shoots, with the models in front and the entire crew at the back.

Naturally, SI isn't just giving this content away. Downloading the app gets users access to a good amount of galleries from the 2016 issue and the "Collections" section, as well as a handful of VR clips. If they want access to all of the 2016 issue’s content and the entire VR catalog, they will have to fork over US$ 4.99. If the user only want the VR content, they will have to pay just US$ 1.99. Of course, if they are an SI subscriber, they will get everything for free.

Sports Illustrated will also sell 500,000 premium newsstand editions of the swimsuit issue, complete with a foldable cardboard VR headset.

In order to use the VR feature, they will need an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus or newer handset running iOS 9 and above. If they are an Android user, SI recommends newer handset running Android 5.0.1 or higher.