iPhone 3.0: News May Be Better For Marketers Than Consumers

God bless Computerworld for its comprehensive takeaway from Apple’s iPhone 3.0 software announcement made yesterday. I didn’t get to hear the presentation firsthand and so was glad to read one comprehensive report that summarized what everyone else has been saying. My takeaway: iPhone 3.0 might be better news for marketers than for consumers.

With the upcoming “In App Purchase” feature, Apple seems to lead the way for mobile monetization. It lets developers charge users after they bought the app, enabling a potential stream of revenue. In plain English, it lets a business charge customers for new content. How much of a game-changer can this be? Think about the languishing print media industry, specifically newspapers and magazines. Instead of relying solely on ad sales and print subscriptions, publishers can generate revenue with digital subscriptions to content–breaking news, exclusive features, and the like–sent conveniently and instant-gratifyingly to the consumer’s cell phone.

Sadly, Apple’s most loyal customers–those who stood in line for hours to get the very first model–will lose out. They won’t get the much-demanded MMS ability that, for myself, was a dealbreaker when deciding on a new phone last fall, and that will finally appear in handsets with the the third-gen iPhone software. (Don’t forget MMS as a marketing tool!) Those clamoring for the ability to run applications at the same time–say, IM and Internet browsing–will also be disappointed. (So much for using IM and web in marketing campaigns to reach the consumer on a single platform.)

Of course, there are other, hyphenated improvements that iPhone owners can anticipate for the expected June release of 3.0: Cut-and-paste, turn-by-turn navigation, peer-to-peer connectivity. So I guess consumers, or at least iPhanatics, will be satiated.

But with In App Purchase, it’ll be marketers and content sellers who will rejoice come June.