Apple has announced that the GPS feature in iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS may be accessed only to provide what the company describes as “beneficial information.”  The restriction means no advertising using Apple’s Core Location framework.

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Apple‘s iPhone Dev Center describes the framework as a tool that “allows you to build applications which know where your users are and can deliver information based on their location, such as local weather, nearby restaurants, ATMs and other location-based information.”

Apple’s App Store Review Team will not post the app to Apple’s store if the software enables a mobile advertiser to target messages based on an iPhone user’s location. The reviewers will return the app to the developers for modification.

It appears that Apple placed limits on outside developers to avoid competition with its internal strategy to infiltrate the mobile advertising market. Apple has not announced its advertising plans yet, and thus it is hard to know the company’s plans.

But recent developments suggest that the strategy exists and will soon be made public. On Jan. 5, Apple purchased the mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless . That gave rise to speculation that Apple would allow app developers to use Quattro to integrate the company’s advertising plans into Apps Store software.

There is also speculation that Apple wants to retain control over location-aware advertising in order to gain an edge over competitors such as Admob,which Google purchased.  Apple now has patents on location-based services, so Apple may be girding for a mobile-ad fight with its sometime-ally, sometime nemesis.

About 

Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.