Talk about recession-friendly. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all get our iPhones for free? Apple has not announced such thing. But it’s interesting to look at one of the most recent Apple patent applications on forced advertising on consumer electronics. According to New York Times, Apple is exploring the idea of forced advertising on any device that has a screen, including laptops, cell phones, and even TVs.
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.
Apple is not planning to mess around. Why wait for users to pay attention to ads when you can force them to pay attention to it? By forcing people to watch ads and locking the device up until they have done so, Apple can work on the idea of offering subsidized gadgets in the near future. Now, I’d be the first one to tell you that offering ad-supported, cheaper iPhones goes against everything Apple stands for. The Apple brand stands for premium experience for consumers. And while it’d be nice to get an iPhone or Apple TV for free, you certainly can’t call having to wait for an ad to pass a premium experience.
Maybe it’s possible to enable people to opt in and out of the ad program? Maybe Apple should consider allowing people to pay down their monthly bill by watching ads on their device, while having the option to opt out and get rid of the ads? I personally believe that Apple may be working on a brand new line of ad-supported products to target those who don’t mind watching ads if it lowered their bills. The concept does seem very un-Apple like. But we have seen worse moves from other companies. It’ll be certainly interesting to test an ad-supported iPhone to find out how those forced apps work.
Your take: would you prefer watching ads to pay for your iPhone?