back to article Apple ad-addled OS scheme resurfaces

Steve Jobs & Co have renewed their interest in developing an operating system that can disable "one or more functions" of your Mac while an ad is being played. "Jobs; Steven; (Palo Alto, CA)" is the first-listed inventor in a filing published Thursday by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The application, "Advertisement in …


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  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    such as the operating system, for free

    I think that's called Linux, isn't it?

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      I love how

      I love how you Linux fanbois never miss a trick to get some "free" advertising! ;o)

      I wonder what Steve is planning down in his white shiny underground bunker? Ad-ware isn't their style, ads popping up doesn't suit there clean user interface dose it. Hmmm!

      It just works, accept when the adverts are on!

  2. Hud Dunlap
    Jobs Horns

    that might actually get me to switch to a PC

    If I don't want to watch an ad I don't want to have to watch the ad. That's why DVR's are so popular.

    it almost seems like Apple is preparing for a day when an anti-trust suit makes them divide the software and hardware groups into two different companies. If that happens they will need a different revenue stream.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      The article talks about getting an otherwise paid for free update for MacOS in return for having to watch ads.

      That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. If I don't want to fork out $129 for a new version of the OS, I don't have to.

      Mind you, $129 is a bit of a bargain compared to a Windows upgrade, especially when you discover that your old scanner, printer, graphics card, cpu, motherboard, whatever doesn't actually work with the new version.

      If you want free updates, run Linux. I know I do.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    f**k that

    if i buy a phone, it comes with the OS and i expect OS updates. if an OS upgrade is required (this is apple, be under no delusions, if you want app updates/stop the annoying iTunes nag screens you will have to update) i'm not going to pay for it. nor will i surrender my phone to crippling ads.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    What a revolting idea. Who in their right mind would submit to being controlled in such a manner?

    If you forget the Ad aspect of it, what they're proposing is an OS which periodically locks up and interrupts what the user is doing. I would junk any OS which behaved like that. Not that I'm an MS hater, but that's exactly why I have avoided Vista - having seen how it treats my wife.

  5. IR


    So are they trying as hard as they can to crash the company again?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Evil, just evil!

    Can see it now, you go click print, up pops an ad and you end up still cursing the bloody thing for the next 10mins while you get brainwashed by Jobs' Ads while all you want is you damn print. Great idea isn't it :P

    People claim MS is evil, then again MS doesn't go after it's users and just it's competitors. Shame Apple always continues to go out of it's way to find new ways to shaft it's users!

  7. Anonymous Coward


    Sick of annoying pop-ups in Windows? Get a Mac! The pop-ups are built-in, so you know they're legit!!

  8. JasonH
    Jobs Halo


    Or perhaps for the next (much rumoured) version of Apple TV perhaps?

    This would make sense in a cloud-streamed TV service environment, where Apple could deliver highly targeted advertisements to victims^H^H^H, *ahem*, customers, in a powerful and granular way. One source TV program, but different adverts shown dependent on geography, viewing style and previous preferences/selections.

    An advertiser's dream, giving Apple the revenue stream to bulk-purchase the content needed to differentiate themselves from other up-and-coming competitors in this market.

    Or there again, perhaps not.

  9. Doshu
    Jobs Horns

    Fuck. No.

    I'll gladly pay (more) for all my stuff rather than see more g*ddamned ads. Too much of that sheite around already.

  10. TC1
    Jobs Horns

    Hacketty hack hack hack...

    If they're gonna offer a free Ads supported version (which will end up hacked to buggery) then fine... whatever.... but if this is gonna be implemented on a paid product, just like the flipping adverts on paid DVDs that cant be skipped... I DONT THINK SO... It won't be long til we see WGA style crap and all manner of hackery to kill it.

  11. Combat Wombat

    Do not want !

    So what happens is I get an OS update that makes me play ads, or it bricks the machine?

    Can I set up a script to make the ads play when I am at lunch, or on the john?

    I am just waiting for Apple to come up with a chip that zaps you if you aren't sitting at the machine watching the ads as they play.

    Call it iownyou and I am sure the fanboys will line up to get the new jobisian control device installed.

    I hate advertising in all its forms.

    Fire, because we need to cleanse the ad industry off the planet with it.

    1. Matt 13


      why do you think all new apple products will have a forward facing camera... video chat?? or... using facial recognition - the adverts pause if it detects your eyes moving away from the screen...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Go for it....

    Will be great if Apple Patent this and all similar concepts.

    1. Nick 6
      Jobs Horns


      They may just be choking off a revenue stream for competitors.

      One thing would be worse than advertising, it would be endless smug Apple adverts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      you might be on to something

      That way most compu-garbage will end up in a single spot (Apple products) and we'll know what to avoid. Like a landfill, but smellier. Good call.

  13. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Given that ...

    OSX is basically a pretty GUI running on FreeBSD I think this is a bit cheeky. I wonder if there's a server based version in the pipeline ...

    I can't wait until this idea spreads ... maybe I'll get a free car if I consent to watching a few ads before the steeling wheel unlocks?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      I don't think it is FreeBSD underneath

      I'm sure that last time I saw relevant slides, the Mach kernel stuff underneath supported the BSD subsystem but the BSD subsystem wasn't below CoreFoundation, on which Cocoa and Carbon sit.

      That aside, I'm not sure Apple are likely to use this on the desktop as they don't pitch anything there at people who count the pennies. It's more likely to be for one of the iOD devices - maybe you can have your carrier subsidised iPad, but at a cost?

    2. Anonymous Coward


      > OSX is basically a pretty GUI running on FreeBSD

      That's wrong in so many ways I can't even work out where to begin.

  14. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    What could possibly go wrong?

    So far, I've not seen a single bit of technology that could be abused... and wasn't!

    'Hello... Yes, Ambulance... What, no I don't want life insurance. I need an ambulance, like now... What do you mean reset to the start of the sponsors message...'

    and so it continues.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    I'll buy it!

    I will put up with this advertising crap as long as Apple PAYS ME TO USE IT!. My hourly rate for this type of gig is $50.00.

    FOAD Apple and mr jobs.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    They are waiting till most macs have front facing cameras so they can make sure you are actually watching the ads as well! Even apple could probably buy a company that has written software for that.

    1. Mike Taylor

      Face detection

      Don't most modern phones have face detection already? I think your excellent idea is already possible!

  17. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Just ideas

    Many tech companies are patenting ideas, this is just another idea. Often some time passes before they are relevant or useful.

    Who remembers BT's hyperlink claim? just shows how an idea could be profitable.

  18. ozor
    Jobs Horns

    Theres An ADD For That

    nothing further to add

  19. Tom 35
    Thumb Down


    They removed it from the Patent application is not the same as saying they don't want to do it. They may have been forced to remove it due to some one else already having a Patent.

    Maybe the stupid unskippable "you wouldn't steal a car" things Hollywood likes to stick on DVDs... :P

  20. Antti Roppola


    In 1997 no less:

    "At VaporSystems, we have a different philosophy; VäporOS will be entirely advertiser-driven "

    I wonder if satire qualifies as prior art?

  21. JaitcH
    Jobs Horns

    The Jobs guy IS crazy

    What happens when a Apple computer is in a LAN environment without InterNet?

    Because of the risks associated with InterNet access, companies often have a 'firewall' that is actually an 'air gap' - not actually connected to the InterNet. What will happen to an advertisement controlled OS if it can't connect to Job's ad server.

    If, on the other hand, the OS can work without InterNet, and not show adverts, it means you can simply block Job's URLs and not be troubled with this crap.

    1. wayward4now

      Jobs is as Jobs has always been

      He pulled a similar trick back in the Apple ][ days with "Apple Corps". I got a letter from a nasty attorney telling me that my 150 member Apple User Group, in the Bay Area of Houston, (BAAUG) HAD to sign up for Apple Corps and HAD to collect dues, so everyone could get a shiny magazine, OR cease and desist using the word Apple in our user group name.

      I wrote back and informed them that since we had some of the astronauts and their kids in the group, did they REALLY want to mess with me? So, we boycotted the local Computer Land dealer, who already threated to sue us/me as a member was selling boxes of floppy disks for half the price he charged. Seems like Apple wanted to OWN us and do as they pleased. Well, the Computer Land eventually went broke, and each of our members migrated to the IBM XT. I'm truly sorry I ever spent hard-earned 1978 dollars on the damn thing, as I just encouraged him. It's all my fault.

      Those that ignore the past are condemned to repeat it.. Now, just look at the Mac users all out of luck. The Woz was god, Jobs was the guy with the seersucker sport coat, straw hat and bamboo cane going "Huzzah! Huzzah! Lookee HERE! Lookee HERE FOLKS!", pounding the bass drum. If any of you hand this man another dime, you're just encouraging him to continue in his EST style tactics.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    Two secs after this got released, it would be hacked and disabled. This is just typical of money grabbing corp scumbags stopping at nothing to get a few extra pennies!

    "Oh Steve is so great!' "Steve is such cool tech-head!" "Steve understands me!"

    Bollocks! Steve is a buisnessman! Steve doesn't give a monkey's what you say, think or do, so long as you buy his kit, pump up his stock price and increase his bank balance. When are you fanbois going to learn this?

    Oh, I write this as a Mac owner! I like OSX, think it's fun to use, I just despise the fanbois with a passion!

  23. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Jobs Horns

    It begins...

    It appears to be an OS forcing people to watch adverts to do what they want.

    A way to take revenue from MS and Google at once.

    Well fortunately it won't work because companies won't use it and risk losing working time watching adverts and home users won't want to watch ads when they can play games or go on FB

    Unless they're patenting the things trojans and viruses do to build their own i can't see any need to copyright something noone else would be stupid enough to want

  24. skellious

    Soon there will be nothing but ads...

    Clearly it is a plan by extraterrestrials to get us so used to watching ads that we wont notice when they start brainwashing us... or maybe they already started? You'd have to be a bit spin-cycled to accept ads in your OS....

    I love the ad-free BBC, and I love not having ads on my OS. If I choose to go to a website or buy a magazine, then I accept there are ads. I don't LIKE them but at least I have chosen to view them in return for the content. (revenue streams etc etc) this is why I don't run ad-blockers. But the day I willingly accept an OS with ads is the day I give up on life.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "this is why I don't run ad-blockers."

      Is there any moral difference between blocking ads and simply ignoring them?

      I don't think there is... and since I ignore adverts anyway, why shouldn't I go half a step further and block them?

      I've never bought something purely off the back of an advert unless it was dirt cheap (a loss leader) and those people never got my repeat business. So I actually cost them money by following their ad. I also cost them an (admittedly tiny) amount of money every time my browser downloads their ads in spite of the fact that they will be ignored. The logic is irrefutable - I save advertisers money by running Ad Block Plus.

      Let's not be silly here and pretend that an impression on an advert is actually worth something. It's worth nothing. Sales are worth something, and you don't get sales from me by pissing me off with adverts. If your advertising model assumes that impressions are worth something then you are wrong and that's not my fault.

    2. Robert Ramsay

      or indeed...

  25. Eddy Ito

    Soon followed by

    Adblock squared, OS X edition*

    *jailbreak may be required

  26. Anonymous Coward

    nuff said...

    Unless they start producing hardware, specifically designed not to run Linux... And by "they" I mean ALL of them... not gonna work.

  27. RachelG
    Thumb Down

    very bad

    yeah, i've bought a lot of Apple kit over the last few years, but if this turned up in OSX... I couldn't think of anything more effective to send me scurrying back to Linux. Which, btw, runs very nicely on the Apple hardware I've got lying around the place...

  28. /dev/null

    @Version 1.0

    "OSX is basically a pretty GUI running on FreeBSD" - funny, I didn't know FreeBSD was based on Mach and I/O Kit these days. Must be behind the times...

  29. Sooty

    i don't mind ads too much

    If they are being served to me for free.

    If, however, they are using up some of my bandwidth allocation, however small, then they are no longer free, I am effectively paying to view them. I consider that unacceptable and will find any way I can to remove them!

    So ads, fine on unlimited connections, not so fine on unlimited* connections.

  30. Dana W

    No, just no.

    The day that happens, IF that happens my Macbook Pro gets Linux. And my next machine beareth not the glowing fruit.

    The only thing I'd miss is Warcraft, and frankly a good excuse to quit that sounds like a good idea.

  31. TeeCee Gold badge

    Disabling functions.

    Ah. Now I understand!

    "We would like to show you an advertisement. Please put your hand over the antenna while we play it so as you are not interrupted while viewing it."

  32. Jesse Dorland

    Not like Linux

    Linux doesn't come with ads

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I for one am glad Apple have patented this

    Now this kind of nonsense won't be showing up in any of the products I buy.

    "Watch Ads now", "Watch previous Ad"? Why should I want to? I don't watch any commercial TV programming and am constantly amazed when people ask me "hey did you see that really annoying advert?" NO, I didn't. Why did you, doesn't your TV have an off button?

    I also lol at the irony of a "premium" product carrying adverts. If you wanted a Lamborghini because of how cool they look, you wouldn't decide to save a little money and buy the one with the ASDA logo painted on the side.

  34. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    They CAN make you watch the ad

    I don't know if this is in the patent or maybe in the next one, but it seems to me feasible that the advertisement won't release control of the device back to the user until they successfully complete a quiz on information contained in the ad. Maybe you can either view the ad again and again until you can answer all of the questions correctly, or the device will phone a customer sales representative for you to help with any detail that you find confusing. Such as why tying an elastic band around your new phone is a -good- thing. (Although, if you don't get that, then phoning the sales line is going to be problematic.)

  35. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Probably intended for a future Apple TV device.

    People who buy Apple's desktop and notebook kit aren't afraid of spending money, so there's little advantage to having ads on these versions of OS X.

    It makes little sense for the iDevices either: iPhones and iPads already have the "operator subsidy" option, which doesn't seem to be going anywhere soon.

    However, the Apple TV platform is long overdue for a major overhaul, and this could be the piece of the puzzle that finally makes it viable.

  36. Pandy06269
    Thumb Up

    TV anyone?

    Why is everyone so up in arms about this?

    In Blighty, it's only like the difference between paying your TV licence and getting the service ad-free (i.e. BBC) or getting a free service with ads (i.e. ITV, Channel 4, five.)

    As long as it remains this choice of "free-with-ads" or "pay", and not "pay-with-ads", I'm happy - I'll pay every time. It's still cheaper than buying a Windows upgrade.

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