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Apple to announce iAd / AdKit 'mobile advertising system' on April 7th?

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Since Apple's acquisition of Quattro Wireless in January, both parties have been keeping mum on plans for Madison Avenue domination, but now MediaPost claims to know a thing or two about the newlyweds. According to the report, Apple will apparently unveil "a new personalized, mobile advertising system" which will go by the underwhelming name of "iAd" on April 7th. The article speculates that the service could be heavily focused on location-aware advertising, though that angle could hit some snags as apparently coffee-partner / arch nemesis Eric Schmidt and a little company called Google hold patents on said functionality. Of course, something that drives a wedge between these two players wouldn't exactly be a surprise at this point -- and we'd be happy if Apple doesn't cash in on those ad-supported OS ideas it's recently had.

Really, we're not surprised to hear this may be coming, as a tipster just pinged us with info that an "AdKit" reference has shown up in a special file on Apple's public "Phobos" server. This file, which is called StoreBag, provides a public XML interface into iTunes. That interface describes how applications and web browsers can "call home" to either retrieve iTunes information pages or to request that iTunes jump to a given product listing.

What you see here is a key-value pair from that file. The URL string that follows after the "adkit-product-url" key suggests that Apple is about to introduce a way to link ads with product URLs. How will this URL work exactly? It's hard to say without any further details, which are regrettably sparse on the ground, but it suggests that ad sourced product links can be used in a similar way to affiliate-driven links.
<key>adkit-product-url</key>
<string>http://ax.itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/adkitProduct</string>
Not much else is known about Apple's first venture into the ad business at this stage, but Steve Jobs has allegedly told some executives that this will be "revolutionary" and "our next big thing." Frankly, we're starting to get a little concerned with just how often the folks in Cupertino are bandying around the word "revolutionary" -- but we'll hold our judgments until after this announcement happens (if it happens at all).

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