Apple Launches First IAd for IPad, for Disney's 'Tron Legacy'

Initial IAd for Apple's Tablet Is a Preview of What's Coming Next Year

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The first iAd for iPad will launch this afternoon for the upcoming Disney blockbuster "Tron Legacy." This is a preview of what Apple's mobile ad format will look like on the iPad, and the only iAd planned for Apple's tablet for this year, an Apple spokesman told Advertising Age.

The format, designed to maximize the ad potential of Apple's tablet computer, will be launched widely in early 2011 when other ads start flowing onto the platform.

Like its iPhone and iPod Touch predecessors, the first iPad iAd is chock-full of the rich graphics, touch navigation and video native to apps. The full-screen "Tron" ad, which will run in iPad apps such as TV Guide, includes close to 10 minutes of video, images from the movie, a theater locator with showtimes, and a preview of the movie soundtrack with the option to purchase on iTunes without leaving the ad. For the first time in any iAd, users will also be able to send email straight from within the ad.

Apple's mobile ads have previously only run on iPhones and iPhone Touch devices. The new format for iPad comes just as the tablet is expected to be the "it" gift this holiday season, especially since the product recently went on sale at major retailers like Walmart and Target for the first time. There are so far more than 7.5 million iPads worldwide, though when iAd for the iPad launches early next year, the ads will only be seen in the U.S.

While Apple has not released the total iAd audience, there are more than 125 million of the company's mobile devices worldwide, though the iAd audience is only a fraction of that figure: iAds on iPhones are only available in the U.S., U.K. and France, though they're coming to Germany and Japan in 2011.

"Disney and Apple are excited to debut the 'Tron Legacy' iAd today as a special preview of iAd for iPad, which launches next year," said the companies in a statement for Ad Age. "iAd brings 'Tron's' pulsing energy and vivid graphic style to iPad's stunning display, creating a truly immersive ad experience."

Apple launched iAd--and threw the iconic computer maker into the advertising business--in April, after the company acquired mobile ad network Quattro Wireless early this year. While some marketers and agencies have become frustrated with Apple's control of the iAd production process -- and its expense -- others, such as Nissan are coming back for repeat campaigns.

Earlier this year, Apple told marketers that iAd would roll out on the iPad in November, but marketers have noted that the production of the ads, managed by Apple, is a time-consuming process, though an Apple spokesman says many of the early hitches have been ironed out.

This is the second time that Apple has used a Disney film to demonstrate a new ad format. Disney's "Toy Story 3" was part of the initial launch of the iAd on iPhones and iPods in April. Mr. Jobs is Disney's largest single shareholder and serves on its board of directors.

Research firm IDC projects iAd will close the year with more than 8% U.S. mobile ad market share, to Google's nearly 60%.

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