updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu October 22, 2009
Ad-supported Mac OS a possibility?
Apple has been exploring the possibility of embedding advertising within Mac OS X, or other platforms, a newly-published patent application reveals. Originally submitted in April of last year, the application credits CEO Steve Jobs and several other people with the invention. If implemented OS users would be presented with one or more ads, which would temporarily disable some aspect of the software before allowing people to continue on.
The ads would generally take the form of pop-up windows, appearing at predefined times, such as once an hour. Tracking data would then be collected, such as when an ad was displayed, and what response a user took. Images supplied with the application suggest options such as rating, sharing or repeating ads; OS users might also be able to temporarily delay ads, to avoid interrupting some tasks.
The purpose of burdening users with ads would be to offer an OS for free, or at least at a discount. In the latter case, users could pay to extend their time with software, or to disable ads completely. Control of ads in Mac OS X could be handled through a Menu Bar item, which might also display the amount of time remaining before the next ad appears.