updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu May 20, 2010
iAds could be linked to localized marketing
A pair of patent applications have been newly published by the USPTO, showing potential plans for the Apple TV, as well as iAd. For the former product, Apple is suggesting a way by which the set-top could take commands from remotes by other manufacturers, rather than just the stock Apple one. An essential part of the scheme would involve a "Learn Remote" menu option, through which people could train an Apple TV to link commands with a remote's unique signals.
The second filing is more abstract, documenting a contextual advertising system. This would involve offering unique pricing, based on marketing factors that indicate a person's likely responsiveness to an ad. Part of the patent depicts an iPhone app dubbed "Local Ad," which could be used to fetch and view ads and coupons from local businesses; the technology could also be inserted into Maps or Safari.
Targeted people could receive advertising via Wi-Fi, RFID tags or a camera scan of a barcode or matrix code. The RFID tags would require receivers not found in current Apple handhelds. To direct ads, advertisers could supply specialized information such as the GPS position of a restaurant, times when meals are served, and keywords for Internet search. Customers could in theory complete entire transactions through the proposed system, based on the custom-tailored pricing.
Ad delivery could potentially be linked to particular network infrastructures, such as a transit authority's Wi-Fi hotspots. In such a case the ads could also be made more practical, for instance by providing a subway map, special discounts, and the names of local businesses.
The ad system is directed mainly at Apple handhelds, but could theoretically involve Macs, Apple TVs and even AirPort routers. The technology would likely be an extension of iAd, Apple's controversial advertising platform.
[via Patently Apple]