The announcement from Apple today about the new OS 4 for iPhone was pretty much as expected with the main developer interest being multi-tasking (only on 3GS and newer devices). More interesting was the announcement about iAd, Apple’s new mobile advertising platform that aims to integrate advertising more tightly with the whole iPhone experience.
This is potentially great news for developers. Up to now we’ve been largely limited to advert banners that cause our applications to quit and whizz off to a mobile web page. Since many users are probably clicking the adverts by mistake, as they are often close to a tab or navigation bar, this is really annoying for them since the application has now quit to launch the web browser. This means many developers are reluctant to put advertising on their applications, the users don’t like the experience, and all in all it’s not a recipe made in heaven.
iAd aims to change that by keeping the adverts within the application experience. This is potentially great news. Users won’t be so annoyed because they will now have an easy way to simply click back to where they were in the application. This in turn means developers are more likely to be able to earn a small crust from their free apps (Apple are taking 40% of the advertising revenue and giving you the other 60%). The likelyhood is that the quality of the adverts may also improve to become more engaging and this could lead to a win win situation all round.
What we would not like to see would be ads in PAID apps, that is likely to really alienate users, but I’d be willing to bet that the better the advert experience is for the user, the more we will see careful deployment of advertising in these as well.
It should be an interesting summer …