Our list of mobile news to start your day. Today’s topics: Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad 2; new mobile ad standards from the IAB and the MMA; GetJar makes the case for taking less of a cut compared to Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Apple; and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson’s U.S. fightback — or should we say “Play”back?
— iPad launch: In the countdown to Apple’s simultaneous events today in Cupertino and London to launch the new iPad, there’s lots of chatter flying around about what else might be on the cards:
One Apple staffer, speaking anonymously, has said that today’s launch, product-wise, will not be all that significant — faster, thinner, better sound and more cameras are the main takeaways. More important will be the launch of the iPad 3 slated for this autumn, in time for holiday shopping and as a followup to all the other new tablets (all the Honeycomb devices, plus RIM’s PlayBook and HP’s TouchPad) that will be launching between now and then.
A possible re-launch of MobileMe, to include cloud-based storage and streaming of music and other media, could be a bigger deal. The question is whether Apple will tie that media storage to content purchased via iTunes, or whether it will include content purchased elsewhere too — LaLa, the cloud-based music company that Apple bought last year, allowed for items purchased from multiple places. Such a cloud service will be a big development for Apple, as a new kind of business line, and will give cloud-based, digital lockers a profile they have yet to achieve, despite launches from big names like Sony and an enormous amount of cloud-based media companies on the market already (think Thumbplay, MOG, Spotify, etc.).
The source did not mention iOS 5, although the latest version is “almost guaranteed” to make an appearance today.
Some are speculating that today Apple will also unveil a new partnership with its Geniuses, reportedly to be called “Joint Venture.” This is part of Apple’s ongoing strategy to build up its small business user base — a lucrative area that has been dominated by Microsoft-based resellers for years now. Under the new plan, a $500 annual fee will get you services like training sessions, data transfer assistance, and replacement machines for when your devices to pack up and need repair. The plan is sold when users buy Macs but if it gets unveiled today, it may also be applicable to iPhones and iPads, too.
— With all the Apple-talk, it’s easy to overlook other significant news. Included in this, the Internet Advertising Bureau and the Mobile Marketing Association have released a “standard methodology” for how to measure the effectiveness of mobile advertising and marketing campaigns. Such standards have been a long time in the planning, and while a number of third parties (and mobile operators) already provide tools to measure certain metrics like click-through rates, having a comprehensive policy should encourage more ad spend from brands overall.
— GetJar’s in-app USP: GetJar, currently largest non-native app store, has waded into the in-app purchasing debate. It says it gives the best deal of all to developers because it doesn’t take any cut at all when a publisher incorporates purchasing into its apps. On top of that, a publisher can choose whatever billing platform he wants for its app. One billing provider, Billing Revolution, takes only $0.15 per transaction, no matter the value.
— Sony Ericsson: The company’s much-anticipated “PlayStation” phone, the Xperia Play, will be launching with Verizon later this year and in Europe at the end of this month. The Verizon device will, of course, be a CDMA handset; but in the meantime, the company has had the European UMTS version of the device approved by the FCC. The supplementary documents include what appears to be a full user manual.