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Apple Wouldn’t Risk Its Cool Over an Ad Gimmick, Would It?

Posted on November 15th, 2009 at 21:34 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, If you're in marketing, kill yourself


“SOME of the best-loved technology on the planet” is how Apple describes its products when recruiting new employees. It’s a fair description.

But the love that consumers send Apple’s way could flag if the company puts into place new advertising technology it has developed. In an application filed last year and made public last month by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple is seeking a patent for technology that displays advertising on almost anything that has a screen of some kind: computers, phones, televisions, media players, game devices and other consumer electronics.


Its distinctive feature is a design that doesn’t simply invite a user to pay attention to an ad — it also compels attention. The technology can freeze the device until the user clicks a button or answers a test question to demonstrate that he or she has dutifully noticed the commercial message. Because this technology would be embedded in the innermost core of the device, the ads could appear on the screen at any time, no matter what one is doing.

The system also has a version for music players, inserting commercials that come with an audible prompt to press a particular button to verify the listener’s attentiveness.

The inventors say the advertising would enable computers and other consumer electronics products to be offered to customers free or at a reduced price. In exchange, recipients would agree to view the ads. If, down the road, users found the advertisements and the attentiveness tests unendurable, they could pay to make the device “ad free” on a temporary or permanent basis.

Sounds like they want to make the ad-crippled version so unattractive that they think they can actually ask a higher price for the paid version. They present it as a choice between the most ad-crippled version I’ve ever seen, and a paid version.

There is, of course, a third option.

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  1. Filing a patent doesn’t mean that they will develop the technology, but does it matter? Just knowing they are *thinking* about it is disheartening. The usual Apple target market would buy the premium product anyway, so what would the ad-crippled versions be good for? Converting people into buying Apple by starting with more affordable items? But who would be happy with Apple after using a device you could not fully control? I don’t get it.

  2. It’s possible that this is a defensive patent–that they realized someone else might implement this and try to build market share outside the iTunes store by offering “free but you must watch this ad” content. If Apple sits on the patent and charges money to people wanting to do this, making it less commercially interesting, fine.

    OTOH, if their tablet turns out to be a tabloid, well, screw that.

  3. “Filing a patent doesn’t mean that they will develop the technology…” Actually, filing means that they have already developed the technology. You cannot get a patent on something you are only thinking about, but what you have been able to instantiate. One reason why Apple isn’t getting any of my business. Now, if I could only convince my wife to drop Apple in favor of FOSS-enabled devices. She just loves her iPhone, iPod, iBook…

  4. OTOH, if their tablet turns out to be a tabloid, well, screw that.

    You just found the third option.

  5. Now, if I could only convince my wife to drop Apple in favor of FOSS-enabled devices.

    Well, all you need to do is make those FOSS-enabled devices more attractive than the Apple stuff, and this patent shows Apple is very willing to help you with that.

  6. @spaceman spiff you are right, I wasn’t clear enough, I meant commercially developing (as in “thinking about comercializing it in a near future”). I didn’t use Apple because it was too expensive back in the days I was a poor student; now that I can afford it, it’s these kinds of things that make me wary… Apple is far from the culture of openess I love.

  7. As my wife says, the reason she likes Apple stuff so much is that “it just works”. Generally, it doesn’t get in your way, though she sometimes gripes about how hard they make it to get “under the covers” when she is building/testing software for the Mac.

Never-before-seen ‘Star Trek’ pilot found

Posted on November 15th, 2009 at 21:31 by John Sinteur in category: News


“Star Trek” fans know there were two pilots for the original series.The first, “The Cage,” was rejected by NBC for being “too cerebral” ah, some things never change.The second, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” replaced the actor who played the captain with William Shatner and was more action driven. That pilot had an alternate version which was largely lost and has never aired. Apparently, a film collector in Germany acquired the print and “recently brought it to the attention” of CBS/Paramount. CBS is now releasing this version on Blu-ray Dec. 15.

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  1. And ripped and available for download by the 16th…

China’s Role as U.S. Lender Alters Dynamics

Posted on November 15th, 2009 at 16:25 by John Sinteur in category: News


When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in many ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay his respects to his banker.

That stark fact — China is the largest foreign lender to the United States — has changed the core of the relationship between the United States and the only country with a reasonable chance of challenging its status as the world’s sole superpower.


In a July meeting, Chinese officials asked their American counterparts detailed questions about the health care legislation making its way through Congress. The president’s budget director, Peter R. Orszag, answered most of their questions. But the Chinese were not particularly interested in the public option or universal care for all Americans.

“They wanted to know, in painstaking detail, how the health care plan would affect the deficit,” one participant in the conversation recalled. Chinese officials expect that they will help finance whatever Congress and the White House settle on, mostly through buying Treasury debt, and like any banker, they wanted evidence that the United States had a plan to pay them back.

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Posted on November 15th, 2009 at 12:18 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon


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