iAd: Opportunity for developers, a black eye for Google and Adobe

This week during its event to preview iPhone OS 4, Apple announced an advertising service called iAd.  At first glance iAd could be considered just another mobile Ad network such as AdMob which as recently acquired by Google, and JumpTap, but it goes beyond that. Apple acquired Quattro Wireless, another major player in mobile ad space, a few months ago and it seems that they lost no time in merging this new business into their existing strategy.

iAd not only offers a mobile advertisement network, but it offers it integrated with the operating system in a way that guarantees that the user experience will be consistent and that the user will not be irrevocably deviated from what he was doing by simply clicking on an ad.  This is no small issue, mind you.  Think about it for a moment and consider how many times you may have avoided clicking on a ad on the Web that was moderately interesting because you didn’t want to leave the page your were reading.  Now shift this to applications… Would you want to quit the application you are using to go to ad content?

Apple addresses these issues with iAd by providing the base infrastructure for integrating the ads directly in iPhone OS.  This means that regardless of how the ads are created users can be assured that clicking on an ad is not going to throw them off of the applications they are using and that they will be able to return to their exact point of origin when they are done with the ad content.

The point about being over with ad content is actually quite interesting as Steve Jobs demoed in the event ads which would take you to watch what could only be described as TV commercials and to interactive applications including rich information about the product or company being showcased and even a game.

The fact that all the interactive content for those ads was entirely done using HTML5 was not to subtly commented by Jobs in one more jab at Adobe. The possibility of adding such rich ads into their applications and in a way that is bound to make users more inclined to click on the ads is likely to appeal to a lot of developers that have ad supported free applications available on the App Store.

Steve Jobs also made the assertion that in the mobile computing space ad revenue didn’t come from search but from applications as users spend most of their time within the apps, making in-app advertisement the best option for those interested in reaching a larger audience in the mobile space and for developers and content providers interested in generating revenue through ad placements.

I can see how this option might interest any number of magazines that are coming out with their iPad editions, which are in essence native iPhone/iPad applications, and which can supplement their own ad deals with iAd or even more to smaller publications which might not find as easy as the larger ones to get good ad deals for their electronic editions.

The demo of iAd was very impressive as far in-app advertisement goes as the ads shown were like TV commercials combined with small interactive applications.  You can get a better notion of what I’m talking about by watching the the video below, available from YouTube.  It’s eight minutes long and contains the iAd demo from Apple’s April 8th, iPhone OS 4 event.  In the demo you see Steve Jobs going through three different ads, one for Disney’s Toy Story 3 movie, one for Nike and for Target.

Once you have watched the video, you will have a better appreciation for what Apple is about to do to the mobile ad market on iPhone OS based devices.  These ads look awesome and offer possibilities for immediate, impulse buying.

Another aspect of iAd that I found very interesting is the opportunity it offers for creating brand awareness.  In the Toy Story demo ad they offer the option of downloading a set of posters which can be immediately set as the device’s wallpaper.  I can already see the children running around and comparing which picture of  of Buzz or Woody they are using as backgrounds on their iPads.

The fact that Apple is staking out the ad business in iPhone OS based devices is a strike against Google as mobile Internet usage continues to grow. (Well, Google started it with Android.)  The way Apple is going about it, by providing a base framework using HTML5,  is also a good demonstration of how Adobe’s Flash is on its way to becoming irrelevant as the services it offers become directly available from Web browsers.  With one punch Apple seems to be giving both Google and Adobe a black eye.

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5 Responses to “ “iAd: Opportunity for developers, a black eye for Google and Adobe”

  1. I cannot see where is the oportunity for developers. I think Apple strategy is not great for developers, neither for users. Theres a lot of dissapointed people rigth now. Apple lost a big battle with the new policy for SDK 4.0

  2. Mauricio Longo says:

    To a lot of developers that rely on in-app advertisement to generate some revenue from free apps, having a service which makes people feel more comfortable with clicking on the ads is a good thing. If the ads look good and are interactive, it might get more people to click on them, which again is good for developers.

    iAd has nothing to do with whether Apple lets you develop for the iPhone/iPod/iPad with tools and languages not Objective-C/C++ and C, which I think is what you and many others don’t like.

  3. The money for this adds will go to the bank account of this developers? Or will be another extra incoming for Apple? Apple behavior is like a octopus. Shame on they, i bet they will loss a lot of developers in the mid term.

  4. Mauricio Longo says:


    This was made clear in the presentation. Apple gives the developers 60% and keeps 40%. While I’m not really fluent on this numbers at the moment, I’ve seen it mentioned as being a split which practiced in this market. Apple is not forcing anyone to place ads in their applications and if they do, it is not forcing them to do it with Apple.

  5. Bill Wilt says:

    Wholly Smokes, Jobsman!!!

    “…you can even BUY something when you’re within the store within the ad within the app within the iPhone (& iPad?) that Jobs Built.”

    I once, long long ago in a life in Early Web, asked a newspaper publishing guy just what it was that their advertisers really wanted. I suppose his first answer was based on the fact that I then worked for a digital color prepress company and his paper was in black & white.

    He said, “To have their ads in color!”

    “Not really. Why would they want their ads to be in color?”

    “Because they look much more real,” he answered.

    “Mmm, they do, but I don’t think that’s the reason.”

    “To get more people to come to their stores?”

    He was guessing. This was an editorial[-side person, after all. What’d he know from advertising? (Of course, I were one once my darned-self, so it’s possible for editorial types to learn something new.

    “Let me give you a hint: advertisers advertise BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MAKE SALES!

    “Imagine if,” I continued with my 2-x-4, “imagine if the newspaper COULD GIVE ADVERTISERS A WAY TO MAKE SALES FROM RIGHT WITHIN THE NEWSPAPER. Whadoyouthink they’d think of THAT?”

    So, now, here appeareth iAD:

    And with it:

    This is the thing

    that’s in the box (from USPS, UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL ….)

    with the receipt

    that covers the sale

    of the thing you bought

    while in the store

    that was in the ad

    inside your app–say eTimes or eInquirer or eTribune or eMotherJones or eSpiegel or eNemesis

    that was on your iPhone (& iPad?)

    within the “house”

    that Jobs Built.

    And it’s only taken 30 years!!! (from Apple I, II, web, WiFi, HTML to HTML5, Unix, 68nnn, Intel Quad…skipping a few key developments & implementations along the way).

    Like I wrote above,

    Wholly Smokes, Jobsman!!!

    (Hip hip, Hoooraaaay!–and we ALL can be publishers/advertisers now, too. HTML5–Sorry John (W.), you retired too early.)

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