Next week Apple will host its annual software-developers conference in San Francisco—and while there's always speculation around the event, this time many are wondering if CEO Steve Jobs will reappear to unveil a new iPhone.
One thing's for sure—Apple has released new features within the iPhone OS that are going to be relevant to publishers. "The iPhone has redefined mobile and now the iPhone is going to give publishers the technology to redefine publishing news and advertising delivery," said Art Howe, CEO of Verve Wireless.
Verve is a wireless technology developer that provides applications—mobile publishing systems for one—to publishers and media companies. The company works with 1,500 publishers and broadcasters to help them put their content on mobile platforms.
E&P spoke with Howe and Verve chief marketing officer Greg Hallinan this morning about what the new iPhone OS means for newspapers since Verve coordinated with Apple in order to advise its clients.
The first big shift: The new technology has the ability to deliver user-location information at the browser level. For example, when a user accesses a newspaper Web site, the browser knows the user's location. The newspaper can send relevant content and, more important, relevant targeted advertising within 2 blocks on a person's location. "This makes local advertising on mobile highly potent with high CPMS," Howe said.
Second: There is a new capability for publishers to charge for subscriptions or micropayments through one application. For example, a user could be reading about the new quarterback in town and with one click can purchase premium content like an exclusive video interview the quarterback. Prior to this, a developer would have to create a whole new app for the premium content and then communicate that to the consumer. This prevents publishers from having to get into the business of creating say, half a dozen apps, explained Hallinan.
Thirdly, the new iPhone is going to have streaming video capabilities where a user can watch something in real-time as opposed to downloading the video to the device. Think premium content again say involving streaming a high-school football game.
Lastly, the iPhone is going to enable rich media through text messaging. This allows publishers, for example, to send out colorful coupons.