Saturday, April 10, 2010

There's an Ad for That!: Apple's Amazing Innovation Juggernaut

Apple was on a tear this week. Last Saturday, they had a very successful launch of the iPad, opening up a whole new category for exploration and innovation. Our lives, in short, just got even more interesting and better. Then later in the week, they gave a preview of the new iPhone operating system, which powers not just the iPhones but the iPad as well.

Among the new features was an ability for application developers to include advertisements that run inside of applications. This takes the amazing evolving world of mobile applications to a new revenue-generating level.

The opportunities are going to be pretty incredible. Advertisements will be able to use the GPS capability of the iPhone. So, if you are using an app that looks for restaurants, and you are standing in Marquette, Michigan, well then I would hope that Jean Kays Pasties on Presque Isle Avenue would drop you a nice little note inviting you in to try one of the Upper Peninsula's true delicacies.

Think of how this is a change from Google's search-based advertising. With Google, ads are focused on the search terms that you type in. With Apple, the ads are tailored based on the app you are running (and there are thousands of those) and then the infinitely variable physical location. Plus who knows what else?

The other thing that Apple did was to take another step in the standards war going on over HTML and Adobe's flash. Apple will restrict developers to using programming languages approved by Apple, and that is presumably not going to include Adobe's package that converts Flash based apps to run on the iPhone. I am not quite sure what is going on here, but certainly Apple's control of the entire vertically integrated package of software and hardware has been key to its success so far. I can see obvious potential for some third party programs and languages to impinge on the overall value of a device, from the consumer's perspective. Whether Flash presents those problems, or if something else is going on, that I cannot say.

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