Taking another crack at the $1.23 billion market for ads on tablets and mobile phones

According to several sources, Apple has hired Adobe vice president Todd Teresi to head its iAd mobile advertising service, a position that has been vacant since last summer.

iAd was one of those projects Steve Jobs launched with great fanfare but which hasn’t quite panned out — at least not yet.

He pitched it in April 2010 as a high-end alternative to AdMob, the mobile ad company that Google GOOG snatched up for $750 million before Apple AAPL had a chance to buy it.

In response, Apple bought Quattro Wireless for $275 million and put its CEO, Andy Miller, in charge of  a service Jobs described as delivering ads as fun and interactive as a good iPhone app. For this, clients were expected to pony up a minimum ad buy of $1 million.

By Aug. 2011, Miller was out and Apple was selling iAd packages for as little as $300,000. In December, the
Wall Street Journal
ran a piece that described the project as a disaster. “It hasn’t really worked,” IDC analyst Karsten Weide told the Journal. “Apple we believe will, over time, fade into the background.”

According to the chart that accompanied the Journal‘s story, however, Apple had already captured 15% of a market that eMarketer estimates reached $1.23 billion in 2011, up from $743 million in 2010.

Before joining Apple, Teresi headed Adobe’s ADBE media solutions division.