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Is Steve Jobs' next Big Thing 'iAds', a new Mobile Ad Platform?

According to MediaPost, Apple has a big surprise coming on April 7th.  That’s when they unveil their advertising platform built on top of their recent Quattro Wireless purchase.  The move would put Apple and Google at odds in yet another area, the digital advertising space.

The new ad platform, which will be officially unveiled to Madison Avenue on April 7th, has been described as “revolutionary” and “our next big thing” by Apple chief Steve Jobs, according to executives familiar with the plan.

MediaPost quotes insiders who say the launch of Apple’s advertising platform could rival product launches like the iPad, iPhone and the App Store.

Mobile advertising is the next big thing and with Apple’s almost 100 million GPS-enabled devices, you’d think that Apple would have a distinct advantage coming into this field.  But Google is the online advertising incumbent and they have a secret weapon:

One of popular scenarios is that Apple will offer a hypertargeting capability that would enable advertisers to target ads to consumers based on their geographic proximity, paving the way for a new generation of location-based advertising. But some observers believe that could be trouble for Apple, because Google recently won the patent for systems that serve ads dynamically based on a user’s location, and given the current relationship between the two digital behemoths, such a move by Apple would likely invite litigation from Google. Another potentially telling patent move is one that Apple registered for in 2008 that potentially could control ads served on virtually any screen connected to an operating system that would turn the content or application off if the user isn’t paying attention to the ads.

Whatever happens, this could be the next big revenue generator for Apple and its mobile devices.

“Everyone will be following this very closely,” says Josh Lovison, the mobile lead at Interpublic’s Emerging Media Lab, adding: “Given the way that Apple is able to package things up, with very slick presentations, it will be interesting to see what they do with that advertising.”

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