September 19th 2012 saw the release of the much anticipated iPhone 5, leading to thousands of people queuing outside stores around the world to be the first to own one of these new devices. After just three days Apple announced they had sold 5 million iPhone 5 handsets.
Apple’s iPhone’s are often seen as the market leading innovator; developing phones with all new mobile technologies included and at times the development of brand new systems. As such rumours were wide spread in anticipation of which features the iPhone 5 would include.
When it arrived the features included in the iPhone 5 made mixed reading for advertisers. The phone, as had been expected, contains the ability to operate on a 4G network, representing the next step in telecommunications networks.
‘4G is built specifically to handle mobile internet and data more efficiently, allowing faster and more reliable mobile connectivity’ (Olaf Swantree, CEO Everything Everywhere, 2012). This is great news for mobile advertisers, allowing for the development of greatly improved advertising platforms within mobile devices, apps and on mobile internet.
Advertisers have long been shouting about the virtues of mobile advertising and with data usage on mobile phones increasing by 250% year on year, the development of the 4G network and the introduction of a market leader in to the 4G handset market will ensure the possibilities of mobile advertising continue to develop.
Forty countries around the world currently have an operational 4G network, including possibly surprising developing states such as Angola. Everything Everywhere are the only company to hold any 4G network spectrum at present in the UK, with an auction of further space to occur later this year.
Mobile online advertising in the UK may therefore find itself in a certain degree of flux for the last months of 2012, as companies weigh up the benefit of developing their message to higher quality output when the potential audience may remain relatively low. This though will change following the expansion of 4G distribution.
A similar story is also true for traditional internet systems. The UK Government have announced that it will invest £114Million into introducing ultra-fast broadband to 10 cities across the UK. This will also lead to the development of wonderful new ways for companies to get their message to potential customers, but the fragmented distribution of this high quality internet may mean at first that the development of ads to compliment it may be lost on a wider audience without the ability to view things at such high speeds or in as clear an image.
The iPhone 5’s inclusion of 4G technology was a boost then to the advertising industry, however Apple’s failure to include another widely expected feature, NFC technology was a major blow to some advertising platforms.
The outdoor advertising market in the UK especially had placed a great deal of confidence on the newest round of mobile phones including this touch in mobile payment system. The technology can also be used by advertisers to drive the audience to touch-in to an advert, in a similar manner to that of QR codes.
Like QR codes, NFC technology is added to individual advertising campaigns, rather than to the outdoor site itself, meaning that no investment was required by outdoor media owners in preparation for the technology. However, a great deal of these media owners had hoped that the development of the technology and the hoped for inclusion of such technology on new mobile phones may drive more investment to outdoor advertising.
Such technologies can be seen as a fad within advertising, but the fact that the iPhone 5 did not include the technology will have come as a blow to outdoor media owners and aspects of the media industry looking to exploit the technology.
The iPhone 5 as such offered a mixed bag for the media and advertising world in terms of its features.