Apple to launch mobile ad platform next week

It may be a blessing or a curse depending on the outcome. Apple has got another launch up its sleeve, hot on the heels of the iPad, and this time it’s focused tightly on the advertising community. The name is not known, although iAd has been touted as a possibility. More clear is its purpose – a proprietary Apple platform for mobile advertising; and also the date on which it will be unveiled to Madison Avenue – April 7.

Mobile may be the new digital, but it suffers from being a minuscule market (about $330m in the USA) in part because of the absence of a dominant platform. So yet another one on the market is not, to all surface appearances, going to be terribly helpful.

Or is it? These days, Apple is arguably better at platform-building than producing state-of-the-art gadgetry, which is saying quite something . It’s just possible that iAd will do for the mobile competition what iTunes did for the record industry and the rest of the MP3 market. Certainly the launch comes at an interesting time, with the mobile sector being refreshed by a surfeit of apps launches (not least Apple’s own) and the relentless march of the smart phone down market. Not least, there is the possibility of a clash of the titans with Google, which has waded into the market with its Android mobile operating system. More on this here.

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