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Apple Files Patent On Evil

Apple has filed for patent on a technology they call an "enforcement routine," that’ll display ads on pretty much any device with a screen and demand that you view them — or else you don’t get your device back:

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.

Published in researchmaterial


  1. Vahokif Vahokif

    Apple’s been evil for a long long time, but they still pretend to be the trendy underdog.

  2. That better not happen on a device/app I’m already paying for, or I’m out the door… Free, well, you get what you pay for. I wouldn’t kill someone if that happened in a free app I’d downloaded…

  3. James Bong James Bong

    I would never advocate the assistance of criminal programmers or any activity that would violate a law, but this seems like the kind of thing the greater hacking community could knock out in about two hours.

    This just seems like the next generation of pop up ads. While evil, it isn’t exactly genocide, as far as we know.

  4. I hope this happens to all their devices. Every iPhone, iPod, Macbook, whatever. I want to see the fallout from this. ^_^

  5. Wil Wil

    Maybe, um, someone at Apple is altruistic, and the company has filed this patent to *prevent* this horror from ever being visited on the world.

    Um, also, maybe Unicorns will bring me whisky and cigars while I sleep.

  6. Lister (not that one) Lister (not that one)

    I’m thrilled by this patent. I want it to succeed and be rigorously enforced. Apple can send their notorious legal department after anyone who infringes, and I can be assured that I never come into contact with it. This is a great thing.

  7. i wish i could say that i am surprised.

  8. Well I .was. considering using an iPhone as the hardware beneath a wearable computer.. ads in my eyes while driving or cycling? Nope.

  9. Nile Nile

    Microsoft already have the technology, and deployed it in Windows Vista.

    Remember that? The OS that was built with Content Providers in mind, rather than mere customers, and would shut down if you ever, ever tried to play anything that looked like Microsoft’s Best New Friends might own a copyright to it?

    Or maybe… Microsoft OS updates that force a reboot unless you click ‘later’ *and click again the next time you’re asked*? They’re just great when you’re watching a movie, or doing an overnight calculation.

    Nevertheless, I wish Apple the best of luck in this endeavour: any company that deploys this ‘technology’ deserves to go under and probably will. If they’re dumb, they’ll use it themselves; if they’re smart, they’ll license it to Nokia, Sony-Ericcson and Research In Motion.

  10. Simon Jones who is blogless Simon Jones who is blogless

    People seem to forget how unpleasent Apple has been historically when it’s had the upper hand. They’ve made Microsofts worst excesses seem gentle hugs. It’s only been their tiny market share that’s kept them in check.

  11. If they’re shiny, insanely great ads, I fail to see the problem.

  12. Look, any idiot can see that a company who tried to foist this on their regular users would crash and burn horribly. Apple aren’t idiots. Regardless of what any of you may think about their computers or their marketing tactics, you have to admit that much.

    If this patent isn’t simply to prevent any other company from using the idea, the only way we’ll see this in the wild is to subsidize unusually cheap computers and iPhones in order to increase Apple’s marketshare. There’s a lot of people who’d put up with watching a commercial once an hour or so if it got them a Macbook for $200.

  13. Andrew Andrew

    Step 1. “Buy” Apple product for free with promise of watching ads
    Step 2. Download a goddamn workaround. It’s gonna take about a week for the code monkeys to churn out a program that sends false positives to the attention tests.
    Step 3. ???
    Step 4. Free computer!

  14. duncan duncan

    Maybe by getting a patent they can prevent any other hardware maker in the future from implementing anything that does something like this. Apple would never have to actually implement it themselves. Maybe that’s what’s happening. Maybe.

  15. I always thought Steve Jobs was a dick. I wouldn’t own an Apple product.
    I wonder who died because he got the liver.

  16. Patents that breach the law cannot be enforced – thus are useless. For example, illegal if it overrides emergency 911 dialing.

    Each county & state has their own laws about 911. If it’s in fact effective advertising you wouldn’t need to take someone’s handset over

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