Is Apple iPhone the Key to Unlock Mobile Search?

Apple unveiled its much-anticipated iPhone yesterday at CES to the delight of gadget-lovers everywhere. The device is a sleek mash-up of iPod, smartphone, and Internet access device, running on Mac OS X. MocoNews has plenty of details (as well as every other tech blogger on the planet). For search marketers, the most relevant part of the iPhone is its rich local search capabilities.

The iPhone, expected to ship in June, will come bundled with Google search and maps, and Yahoo OneSearch, Go and mail. If the device catches on in nearly the way the iPod has, that means that local search on mobile devices is about to become a very big deal.

The Kelsey Group's Mike Boland says, "Adoption of mobile local search to some degree has been held back by the inferior user experiences of most mobile devices -- which come back to a lot of these design challenges. Apple's cache with consumers from the iPod and iTunes should ensure a healthy demand for this phone. Time will tell how well they embrace it, and if it does anything to push forward mobile local search in general."