For me, the most interesting part of today’s iPhone 4.0 announcement event was the announcement of iAd. It was the last of the seven “tent poles” – and certainly the most strategically interesting.
Don’t get me wrong – the other iPhone 4.0 enhancements (for both end-users and app developers) were important. But the introduction of a new advertising platform – iAd – was especially important.
As he was building the rationale for doing so, Steve Jobs talked about how mobile handset users tend to search less and tend to spend more time in mobile apps. iAd is intended to enable app developers to insert powerful, interactive, emotional ads into their apps – and to participate in a majority (60%) of the advertising revenue stream.
At today’s event, Jobs demonstrated several ad mockups that incorporated interactivity, video and emotional levers. It was impressive.
The question that’s open, of course, is how this ecosystem actually gets off the ground – how it gains some semblance of balance – enough of those powerful/emotional ads from advertisers balanced against enough advertising opportunities from app developers. This kind of ecosystem demands that kind of balance to be successful.
I’ll be watching with keen interest how this all evolves.