Peter Kafka at All Things D has some sources that tell him Apple's somewhat unexpected iPhone 4 event this Thursday will be heavily focused on advertising. Allegedly, Apple will announce an entirely new mobile ad network, probably the product of their deal with mobile advertiser Quattro Wireless. According to this oddly prescient story from MediaPost, Steve Jobs has described the new mobile ads as "revolutionary" and "our next big thing."
The platform is supposed to be called "iAd," although nobody really wants to believe that. Of course, given the iPad (and, now that I think about it, the iPod--I'd totally forgotten how silly a name that is), Apple's naming department can't necessarily be trusted to come up with anything that clever. Regardless, a mobile ad platform is an important but necessary step for Apple: They've got the hottest app platform, the hottest hardware, and even a brand-new product category in the iPad. Even better, they've got access to a ton of data from all those users, which could be very appealing for targeted advertising.
Google is sure to welcome any announcement with enthusiastic applause and sighs of nervous relief. After all, if Apple announces a competitive, innovative, and/or wide-reaching mobile ad platform, Google can't very well be accused of antitrust violations, right? Google, of course, is currently under investigation for antitrust rule-breaking thanks to its acquisition of AdMob (which the company actually bought right out from under Apple).
So everyone's hoping for something big on Thursday: developers could get more money, advertisers could get more money, and Google could avoid being blocked from making outrageous amounts of money. Everybody wins!