Today during its iPhone 4.0 developer preview, Steve Jobs announced Apple’s much-anticipated mobile advertising platform, iAd. This has been expected since Apple acquired mobile ad platform Quattro Wireless, after having AdMob snatched away by Google (though the FTC may recommend blocking that deal).
Apple will sell and host the ads, giving 60% of ad revenue back to developers, and Jobs says that developers can add ads to their apps “in an afternoon”. Unlike most mobile ads, which kick users outside of the application they’re currently using, iAd keeps users in the same app. In a jab at Flash, while showing an ad, Jobs said “Oh, by the way, all of this is done in HTML 5.”
It sounds like Apple won’t be too restrictive on who can build apps: Ad agencies will be able to develop these interactive ads, as will app developers. Though I imagine they’ll have to go through a review process similar to native apps on the App Store. Update: During a Q&A Apple said it would use a “light touch” and that there were obviously some ads they didn’t want to have shown, the same way a TV network doesn’t want some ads shown.
The obvious consequence of this new platform is that ads from other ad networks may well become second-class citizens, perhaps not just from Apple’s perspective but from a functional standpoint. Details are still scant, but if iAds are the only ads on the iPhone that can access the iPhone’s API, then ads from third party networks may be less interactive, and may not be able to as effectively determine the user’s location. Assuming developers embrace iAds and the iPhone continues its strong growth, this could have a significant impact on Google’s mobile ad efforts in the future.