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  • Will Apple's "iAd" Lock iPhones Unless You Watch Ads?


    Many consumers are fans of Apple's devices, and have forked over large sums of money for them, making the company extremely profitable. Like all businesses, though, Apple is always on the lookout to make even more money, and so the next move for the company may be a mobile advertising platform to be called "iAd," according to a report in Online Media Daily. While this may make Steve Jobs even richer - and take his war with Google to DefCon 4 - it may make iPhones and iPads literally prisoners of their ad content, as hints from recent Apple patents suggest that they're developing a way to lock your device unless you watch the ads.

    Apple has been looking to get into the mobile ad business for some time. The company lost a bidding war for mobile ad giant AdMob last year with Google, which is already dominant in the mobile advertising field. So Apple snapped up Quattro, the mobile advertising developer, in January for nearly $300 million. Time, CBS Interactive and Visa use Quattro to deliver ads for their mobile websites, and a report by IDC said they made $21 million last year for about 7% of the mobile ad market. Apple and Google are both playing hard for dominance in the mobile ad market, as ads - rather than app sales or subscriptions - are increasingly seen as the way to make money off the rapid growth of mobile web-browsing devices. After all, as the financial services firm Morgan Stanley has predicted, by 2015 more people will access the internet using mobile devices than on desktop computers.

    So Apple is, according to the report in Online Media Daily, working on what it calls a "personalized mobile advertising system." The new "iAd" platform is supposed to be rolled out to advertising execs on April 7th, right as the first iPads get into people's hands. The ad system, which has reportedly been described in typical Steve Jobs style as "revolutionary" and "our next big thing," will be based on Quattro's architecture, and may include location-based marketing. In this scenario, iAd would be able to push ads for local businesses using your iPhone or iPad's GPS. This theory is bolstered by Apple's new guidelines preventing any app developers from using the GPS functionality to serve ads, suggesting that Apple wants to maintain control of that for itself. However, as Media Daily noted, since Google recently patented the ability to target ads based on the location of a mobile device, this could take the two companies' ongoing war into the courts.

    But it doesn't stop there. Technology that Apple patented in 2008 would literally turn your operating system off if you don't pay attention to the ads: "to ensure that the user is actually watching and/or listening to the advertisement content, the method can include a step for verifying user presence… the user may be prompted to press a certain button or keypad key in order to confirm that they are paying attention… the approaches for verifying user presence can be made progressively more aggressive if the user has failed a previous test." It sounds so intrusive that no company in their right mind would subject their customers to such a thing… unless, of course, there was good money in it.

    It's possible the patent doesn't have anything to do with this "iAd," of course, as nothing can be known with any confidence until the new system is actually announced. But if users needed one more reason to jailbreak, it'd be the possibility of Apple turning iPhones, iPods and iPads into literally nothing more than mobile advertising machines. We'll have to see how this plays itself out.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Will Apple's "iAd" Lock iPhones Unless You Watch Ads? started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. k.nitsua's Avatar
      k.nitsua -
      Majority of Apple patents don't come to fruition. They are most likely doing this in case this becomes a norm people would accept.
    1. glassJAw's Avatar
      glassJAw -
      Wow that's messed up, guess I'll switch back to my pager.
    1. mactwisted's Avatar
      mactwisted -
      the viability of this "ad invade" and imminent. take a look at the free version of words for friends from the app store. after a tile placement and score, one cannot proceed back to the game until the "skip" button is pressed. the ads are purportedly removed with purchase of the game.

      oops. is imminent...
    1. Atomi's Avatar
      Atomi -
      Next phone maybe comes with new system that takes entire control of updating and restoring device to apple and now this?

      "THIS IS HORSE ****" by Stewie Griffin
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      I'm sure they would only use this for free content, or to make the iPad available for free as long as you watch ads.

      I highly doubt a paying customer will be forced to buy ads.
    1. amorod's Avatar
      amorod -
      I think that will never happen.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      I just thought I would point something out that nobody seems to have thought of. We are all assuming these will be "crushed by jailbreaking". Has anyone thought that since it uses data (presumably to push new ads to your phone) that they can easily lock your phone if they see that you are not receiving and responding to said data? Not saying this would be the goal, but it could be easily implemented that if you have a phone with ads and the ads are blocked by a third party they lock down all calls (minus emergency by law) and data on your phone.
    1. gunnysir's Avatar
      gunnysir -
      Agreed if Apples pulls this tunt, I am outta Apple products completely. Not just the phone but ALL products, because they wouldn't derserve my business anymore. And I hope Big Brother is reading all these posts.
    1. cypherpunk's Avatar
      cypherpunk -
      Quote Originally Posted by sziklassy View Post
      I just thought I would point something out that nobody seems to have thought of. We are all assuming these will be "crushed by jailbreaking". Has anyone thought that since it uses data (presumably to push new ads to your phone) that they can easily lock your phone if they see that you are not receiving and responding to said data? Not saying this would be the goal, but it could be easily implemented that if you have a phone with ads and the ads are blocked by a third party they lock down all calls (minus emergency by law) and data on your phone.

      The whole point of jailbreaking is that it unlocks your phone from Apple/AT&T's network/data connection; I don't see how this is any different to using your phone for tethering - AT&T (thus Apple) can't do anything about it if you're not on their network.
    1. luvmytj's Avatar
      luvmytj -
      Quote Originally Posted by lolcats1 View Post
      there will have to be a "emergency call" button, just like there is now, that being said...
      The scenario presented was what if a "family member" called for an emergency, an emergency button would do no good in that case as that only allows 911 calls.

      Aslo, if Apple implements this iAd thing, either my phones and service need to be free, or I will be giving my future monies to another company.
    1. phifer8390's Avatar
      phifer8390 -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPhone3G[S] View Post
      I really hope they aren't stupid enough to make your phone ad supported when you pay $200+ for it.

      Law suit waiting to happen.
      I could see them selling some products for a drastically reduced price with this type of ad software to make up the difference. But I really don't think they are dumb enough to put something as drastic as described above on devices we are paying so much for!!
    1. andypropaganda's Avatar
      andypropaganda -
      Quote Originally Posted by iPhone3G[S] View Post
      I really hope they aren't stupid enough to make your phone ad supported when you pay $200+ for it.

      Law suit waiting to happen.
      Yup. No one can deny that Steve Jobs has done some great things for Apple, but if this happens then he is becoming a moron. I would have to say that long-term this would be an awful financial decision for Apple. People who don't want to jailbreak wouldn't be able to do anything about it, except either sue or bring their business elsewhere, and the way Android is exploding Apple should want to do anything they can to keep customers eyes away from Google's platform.
    1. th3shin3ster's Avatar
      th3shin3ster -
      Thank goodness for jailbreak <3
    1. TheDirtyDiddler's Avatar
      TheDirtyDiddler -
      This will probably be a user option to get the phone at a cheaper cost than a non-iAdd version. If so, this would actually be a good thing for us jailbreakers who can work around it and consequently get a cheaper phone than everyone else with all the same functions.

      However, if we think Apple is reacting harshly to jailbreakers now, just wait until a system like this is in place. That would be much more on the legal/illegal fence than things are now.
    1. hancoma's Avatar
      hancoma -
      Perhaps it is time to revive my old pic of Orwell's BB....
    1. GregTheWang's Avatar
      GregTheWang -
      Hahaha ads for jailbreaking anyone?
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      It won't earn Appl£ or Steve anything if everybody opts out
    1. jadedmonkey28's Avatar
      jadedmonkey28 -
      I jailbreak my IPHONE of course, but this app would be a breaking point for me, i will take the phone and shove it up the ATT employess bum. I pay $160ish a month for 2 iphones and paid about 300 a piece, u force me to watch ads to use it and i will make my disconetnt heard and felt. I can see it now, someone dies of a heart attack because their phone would not call 911 because they did not watch a add telling them to eat more crap from Mcdonalds. Let the lawsuits begin.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      Chill people, jeez. This would be an option for a cheaper/free device. Apple has been fudging around in this area for a long time. This is nothing new. It won't be implemented on $1000 laptops or $300 iPhones. You will only be paying like, $50 or free for an iPhone if this was used.
    1. pyromcr's Avatar
      pyromcr -
      that would suck so hard...