iAds: More Significant Than You'd Think

This is quite possibly the feature with the most impact out of anything Apple announced in recent history. What’s the obvious next step when you’ve got the majority of the smartphone and tablet browsing populace using your closed OS? Show them ads.

On the iPhone it’s easier to read content in a well designed app than it is to use Mobile Safari to browse a web page. Once you’re in an app however you lose all web advertisements, but your attention is still held captive by whatever is going on in the app. This is where iAds come in.

Apple now has its own advertising network and it’s a big one at that. There are nearly 100 million devices that run iOS in the world today and no other non-independent (read: Google, HTC or Microsoft owned) network is allowed to run ads inside iOS apps. All the developer has to do is allow ads and the rest is handled by Apple. Apple will sell the ads and share some percentage of the revenue with the developer.

The idea here is that iAds could allow developers to keep the prices of their apps low while still making enough money to continue to operate. Assuming the revenue is high enough, iAds could eventually be a significant source of advertising revenue for content providers as well.

If it wanted to Apple could even sell ads in books. It’s not too far fetched to see a contextually relevant iAd popping up while you’re reading something in the iBook reader. And Apple controls the entire platform so there’s no hope for an iAd blocker.

Given Apple’s focus on maintaining user experience I wouldn’t expect the company to sell tacky ads or make iAds too distracting. In fact, out of all of the ad networks out there, I’d trust Apple to have the end user’s experience/interests at heart more than anyone else.

If iAd revenue gets high enough, Apple could eventually drop the price on iPhones in order to get more advertising eyeballs.

This is a huge middle finger to Google. There’s no room for Google’s contextual ads within iPhone apps and Apple has already announced that Google-owned AdMob is forbidden from displaying ads in the iOS. If Android doesn’t equal the iPhone’s popularity Google will be at a significant disadvantage in the advertising space. By now it should be very clear why the two biggest smartphone platforms are competing so aggressively here. It’s not about selling phones, ultimately it’s about controlling mobile eyeballs for advertising. This is also what makes me the most uncomfortable about Apple. If we plot out a future where Apple controls the majority of the mobile market, controls all mobile advertising, and controls what apps you can run we’re yielding as much power to it as we have been giving Google.

Hating on Microsoft for being big brother was the thing to do in the 1990s, but what we’re creating here with Apple and Google has the potential to be much worse. I don’t need to point out the irony but we actually need more players in the smartphone space now to make sure that no one company gets too powerful. I’d say we’re already at that point with Apple and Google, we need Windows Phone 7 and MeeGo more than ever.

Multitasking iPod App Changes


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  • jigglywiggly - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    I haven't used my iphone 3g in a while. I have been using the Droid and HTC EVO 4g.

    These features have all been implemented better in Android anyway lawl.
  • Rnair - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    I wonder why the other sites are not as objective! I understand IOS 4 and its pros and cons a bit better now :). Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    I could only imagine how "objective" other sites are.
    Anand's site doesn't dare to display iSomethings in a bad light. Check recent article on android devices,

    iphone is visible next to android phones, when it has advantage, but "incidentally dissapears" when it would look terrible (screen contrast).

    What a shame... :(
  • deputc26 - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    Yeah i noticed the selective presence of the iphone in that android review as well. Reply
  • Affectionate-Bed-980 - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    You mean Anandtech only knows phones that are sold in the US? The rest of the phones fail to receive coverage. We all know how biased and limited the US cell phone market is. It only glances at part of the industry and only reveals part of the entire market. There's much more out there. Thank goodness for the N900 review, but honestly, if you want to do smartphones, do it like other sites do. Cover EVERY phone. Reply
  • medi01 - Wednesday, June 23, 2010 - link

    No, being oriented to a particular market is ok for me.

    But showing iSomething when it has advantage (even when it is irrelevant), but "incidentally" hiding it (the author explained it like: "oh, it was probably in my pocket", that explains it, right?), when it sucks balls (contrast, for starters) is a shame.

    So it seems that we have Mr Jobbs corporation, that sells a fraction of Nokia's market share, but that enjoys free, positive or very positive but god forbid negative, coverage in press.

    I recall anand's site as rather objective (even though they seem to aggressively punch AMD quite a bit more than deserved recently, it was rather subtle, compared to what other sites do), so it's VERY frustrating, that it also bends to a Mr Apple's will.

  • Rnair - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    I agree that the smartphone is getting more and more complicated. Good for us teck geeks :).

    But, Is it time to get back to the roots and introduce a version that is more basic, anyone for an iphone mini (an ala kin) ?
  • eirikma - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    ...then windows 95 is a cluster operating sytem. Even old versions of symbian does better than that.

    Any smart phone user who've tried using a computer knows that there are limits to how many thing you can do at once. When things stop working, you have to close down something. It is actually that simple - you don't have to "invent" absolutely everywhere.
  • SkullOne - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    Yeah but this is Apple we're talking about. If they didn't invent or improve upon it then it sucks. ;) My Droid has never run out of memory with its multitasking and I have it doing quite a bit at times.

    Apple didn't do multitasking "the right way." They did it half-assed and claim that it's magically delicious.

    All I can say is it's about time iOS finally caught up to Android...oh wait they're still behind because Android 2.2 is upon us bringing JIT compiler and Flash 10.1.

    I'll keep my rooted, overclocked Droid with Froyo ROM thanks. Hope iPhone users enjoy iAds. AdMob in apps on my old iPhone 3G drove me insane, glad my Droid doesn't have that problem. It's nice actually having control over the hardware you pay for. ;)
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - link

    Multitasking is not at all what I expected and am very dissapointed. This is one feature I have been waiting for several months.

    I found the memory problem myself using Safari and multiple tabs. Some of the multiple tabs would dump whenever you scrolled through them, and then all of them would dump when you would switch to another app and back to Safari. I cleared out all the "multitasking" apps and opened up Safari again. I reloaded all tabs and they stayed fully loaded when I switched to a system monitor app to look at my memory.

    Before clearing out the "multitasking" apps I had 5mb of free RAM. After clearing out the "multitasking" apps, I had 125mb free. They really, really need to give you the option to chose what to multitask. Why do I need Phone, Settings, Contacts, Clock to go in the "multitasking" bar? It makes no sense. Apple is 1 year behind others in implementing multitask and it surely is not as good as the competition.

    I wont even go into being pissed that they haven't fixed the basic phone alert functions and other simple things you could do with most other free phones never mind smart phones.

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