While all of the current wave of Apple pre-launch hype is focused on next week's iPad launch, it is rumoured that Steve Jobs' "next big thing" is going to be a personalised mobile advertising platform, possibly called 'iAd'.

Online Media Daily reports that Apple's new mobile ad platform will be officially unveiled to the ad execs on New York's Madison Avenue on April 7 and has been described as "revolutionary" and "our next big thing" by Steve Jobs.

Jobs on Madison Avenue

As ever, Apple is not responding to requests from press for further information, but the fact that Apple bought mobile advertising developer Quattro back in January for nearly $300 million surely means that the Cupertino computing giant has some plans in the mobile ad arena.

"The war has been mounting ever since Google introduced its Android mobile operating system to compete with Apple's iPhone, and agreed to acquire mobile ad firm AdMob for $750 million, but it is expected to reach ballistic proportions following Apple's April 7th announcement, which insiders say will be every bit as important as other recent marketplace introductions, including the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and iPad launches," writes MediaPost's Joe Mandese.

"Apple appears to have been more successful in its revenue diversification, developing substantial software and service businesses, including iTunes downloads, iPhone wireless subscriptions, and App Store downloads. And while advertising has always loomed as a huge possibility for Apple, it had essentially been unexploited as a business model until Apple acquired Quattro."

Jobs and Schmidt spotted in coffee shop

Is this why Steve Jobs was spotted chatting over lattes with Google chief and former Apple board member Eric Schmidt the other day?

The smart money is on Apple offering advertisers a hypertargeting capability for location-based advertising so that consumers get ads based on their locality at any given time.

"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."

Via MediaPost.com