Apple throws down gauntlet

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs announces iAd

On Thursday, Apple announced plans for a software update for the iPhone, iPod and new iPad. Earlier in the week, I posted an article containing a wish list of what I hoped this update would include (click here to read it). Some of the things I hoped would be included, have been, like multitasking (although only for iPhone 3GS, not the 3G version). However, in this update, Apple will launch something new and very exciting for business.

They will be introducing a mobile advertising platform called iAd. This platform will be the biggest direct competition that Apple will voluntarily enter in against Google. Currently, the mobile advertisement sector is very young and relatively small, but the expectations by most are that it will become very big and important in the next few years. The iAd platform is said to be capable of displaying rich and complex types of advertisements on smart phones and other mobile devices which currently is only partially being done. They have the advantage of having the iPhone, iPod and new iPad all successful and widely distributed which will help them start off with a high level of credibility and respect in the market.

Their main competitor, Google, is not nearly as big as Apple in terms of mobile hardware out on the market, but they are the undisputed kings of online advertising. It is a great battle that will ensue as Google’s strength is online advertising and Apple’s strength (one of, anyway) is mobile product popularity and distribution. Therefore, online mobile advertising is truly the only space where these two companies can compete with each other in a fairly even playing field. In all the other spaces that these companies compete in like smart phones, internet browser and app store, there is always a clear leader between them and it leaves the other trying to play catch up. However, in this space we will be able to see who really will win when the playing field is more or less equal.

Later this year when Apple launches its iAd, the battle will begin and everyone will be looking and perhaps picking sides. I will be looking at the outcomes very closely and with lots of interest.