Apple shows off iAd mobile advertising platform


Steve Jobs thinks current mobile advertising sucks and Apple's answer for iPhone OS 4 is iAd, an HTML5 platform that gives developers a 60% cut of revenue and provides... what basically looks like ads as apps.

iAd will provide developers with an easy-as-Xcode way to place advertising in their apps, both paid and free. Apple is setting a high bar for their ads, however. No simple Google-style text, annoying punch-the-monkey, or jarring transition out of the app and into the browser, they claim to want great looking, highly interactive, emotionally compelling content that will connect with rather than alienate users. Served every 3 minutes. Yeah...

Functionally these are built in HTML5 (no Flash need apply) and seem to work as apps-within-apps. Tapping on a banner brings up a full-screen ad-as-webapp and examples shown included plenty of animated UI effects and content that ranged from videos to freebies like wallpaper, to free and paid apps you could download from within the ad (no trip to the App Store needed). An exit button is persistent at the top left so users can quit the add at any time.

Apple will be selling and serving the ads, so all we can do is hope they're unobtrusive and actually reach the quality levels presented. For paid apps that also try to include in-app iAds, that bar will rightly be very, very high.


Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Apple unleashes Game Center social network

Next up →

Apple announces iPhone 4.0, beta today, iPhone/iPod touch in summer, iPad in fall

Reader comments

Apple shows off iAd mobile advertising platform


Great. There wasn't enough advertising on the iPhone.
This will make lots of users happy.
Gee thanks, Apple.

So we get multitasking, a crap folder system and adverts. Save for the multitasking this is a massive let down.

The ads are already there, people. They are just implementing them in a way that prevents taking the user out of the app they're in, and gives developers more flexibility. Doesn't bother me a bit.

Hopefully they create a rule for Paid apps which disallow Ads. I wouldn't mind using free apps with Ads though.

This is the worst news I've seen all day. Just what we need...more f**king ads. Apple has found a way to replace the annoying interactive flash ads that haunt me as I browse the web. Just great. Let me jump up and down with excitement.
I don't know if multitasking is worth upgrading to this ad nightmare. I might just want to stick to a jailbroken OS 3.1.2.

@Marc, why is that that is is ok for television companies to show commercials, which are ads, on TV we pay for monthly, but if a developer wants to put an ad in a one time purchased app it is wrong?
And to everyone else saying this will be annoying, look at how the ads are now. Most of the time they are never pressed, and if they are pressed it is on accident. Why is that? Because it usually closes the app. I know for a fact, and is one of the reason why I hate the IGN app, that the ads are very easily accidentally pressed. All Apple is doing here is making a better looking Ad system than what is out there now. Also making it so their Ads open up in the apps, and not in safari like most do now.
There will not be ads opening by themselves every three minutes or whatever like most say. They are clickable like the current Ad Mob ads we see now. We all know the Ad Mob ads are ugly and I personally will be glad to see them go (hopefully)!!

As a developer, this has a lot of potential. I think it will end up successful if Apple allows you to control the ads, meaning I don't want an ad for viagra on my Bible application. :-/ I'm sure it'll be done tastefully. We'll see.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! An ad I have to click through to get to an ap? Its way different from TV. On TV I'm just looking to be entertained and if I waste 10 minutes out of the hour on ads that's no biggie (I mean it is, I DVR every show I watch except live sports and skip through the ads. It ticks me off mightily to be advertised to on cable).
On the iPhone I'm looking to get something done so if I have to wade through ads when I'm trying to get directions to my next meeting, or prior to scanning a business card into my address book or whatever that is a big problem.
In terms of how big a deal Apple thinks it is, look at how much time they spent on it versus the other features. If SJ said 1 ad every 3 minutes, that's what he expects to deliver (and get paid for).

I don't understand where people are getting the idea that there will be an ad pop up every three minutes? I have searched multiple blogs and cannot find anything about this part of iAd.
Just as usual people overlook things and make up their own parts to an idea just to complain.

Again that goes with what I say about people reading something and thinking something completely different..
“Since the average person spends 30 minutes inside apps per day, Jobs figures, one ad every three minutes would lead to 1 billion ad impressions per day over Apple’s 100 million devices.”
Where does it say that there will be an Ad will show itself once every three minutes? Much less make it so that it ruins the user experience.
If you read further down you would find this
"So it's really up to the developer the degree to which the ads are presented. Hopefully they'll keep user experience top of mind."

Also apple said in that article that the Ads themselves in the app would start as a banner ad, much like you see in most free apps now. They only expand when you press them.

I don't really see the point of this. Ads interactive.
Lets say someone actually presses this. They'll probably be so into the games and bios they'll forget what they was going to gain from the ad in the first place.
Or the other scenario, you're going into a RSS app to just read a spot of news. But then you get so distracted by games, you basically forgot that your main goal was to get the snippet and be on your way.
This will in turn cause you to keep your phone on longer, run the screen and processor more, causing battery to drain quicker.

Well if anything works on the 3g or 2gen touch, will be the ads. May be with ads more apps will be free. I doubt it.

According to Engadget
Stevie Boy was pondering how much money he might make at the iAds business, quoth Steve:
"The average user spends over 30 minutes every day using apps on their phone. If we said we wanted to put an ad up every 3 minutes, that’s 10 ads per device per day. That would be 1 billion ad opportunities per day. This is a pretty serious opportunity, and it’s an incredible demographic. But we want to do more than that. We want to change the quality of the ads too."
So, if the quote is accurate, Steve is already counting the money from a billion hits a day. The reason he didn't do it before is because he had no way to monitize it for Apple and, oh, it wasn't high enough quality.