iAds and “next-gen” flashlight apps are here

Finally! After week and week of waiting (that’s two whole weeks), they’re finally here – Flashlight apps for the iPhone 4 that use the built-in LED flash! Better yet, I found one that’s free because the developer was smart enough to do the math and use iAds.

Okay, so I’m being a little snarky here, but seriously, I have been wanting a simple flashlight app to turn on the LED flash on my iPhone 4 instead of having to go to the camera app each time. The LED came in handy on Independence Day as I was helping my friend light fireworks. It’s also been useful in corralling the cats at night. Accessing it via the camera app has been inconvenient since it requires switching to video (if not already set to video) then switching the flash to “on”. That said, I’m sure not paying a buck for the convenience of easy flash access either. Enter FlashLight4G.

This app is dead simple and free. Tap the app. A flashlight-looking screen pops up. Tap the button to turn the light on and off. Of the two free ones I found, I chose this one because of the on-off button, which would have come in handy on July 4th.

After loading it, I found it is supported by iAds, Apple’s new in-app advertising system. Feeling both curious and generous, I tapped on the ad banner to check it out and send some revenue to the developer. Very slick and engaging stuff once you’re in it. If the banner lured me in with, say, a coupon for cat food (three cats), I would definitely tap through.

Also important to note here that since Apple charges the advertiser one cent per impression and two bucks per click-through, charging nothing for simple utilities like this becomes more profitable for developers than those that charge a buck. I’ve already tapped through on two iAds in this app, which nets the developer $2.40 (60%). Even without click-through, the developer gets 0.6 cents each time I access the app. Doesn’t sound like much, but if I access the app even ten times a month for a year, that adds up to 72 cents, two pennies more than the 70% cut on a 99 cent app. Thus, the developer will make (and already has made) more money off my unwillingness to pay a buck for a flashlight app than if I wasn’t a cheapskate. Going free and ad-supported with iAds is simply the smarter way to go with an app like this. Hope to see more developers figure this math out for themselves.