Rumor: "iAd" Mobile Advertising Platform Is Apple's Next Big Thing

MediaPost reports that Apple's next next big thing, after iPads invade the world next weekend, will be iAd, a mobile advertising platform to be debuted April 7. Coffee dates and patent suits aside, this could be the true Apple-Google battleground.

Of course, if you've been reading the tea leaves, Apple's move into mobile advertising is anything but surprising. In January, they bought mobile advertising company Quattro for a reported $275 million, after Google snatched AdMob out from under them months before.

More recently, we saw glimpses of Apple's mobile advertising future in an "App Store Tip" they published which discouraged developers from creating apps that "use location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user's location." Because that's exactly what they want to do themselves, of course.

MP's sources say that Steve Jobs has described iAd as "our next big thing" and "revolutionary," natch.

MediaPost's version of how this will unfold is a little weird. They're reporting that iAd will make it's debut April 7, which is only 4 days after iPads start making their way into the grubby hands of fanboys everywhere. Apple, a company that has hype down to a science, is surely cognizant that launching an iAd revolution on April 7 runs the risk of eclipsing the iPad revolution that potentially just got its legs days before. Such are your troubles when you deal in revolutions. Also, uh, iAd? Then again, we thought iPad was pretty dumb in December, too, so...

Regardless, it's been clear for a while now that Apple seeks to take control of mobile advertising the same way they did digital music. Google got search ads down pat, and now they're sitting on a boatload of cash. Their acquisition of AdMob got them a good foothold in the mobile advertising game, but that sizable slice of the pie is still very much up for grabs. And you can be sure that Apple's going to be grabbing for it, whether it's with something called iAd or not. [MediaPost via Boy Genius Report]