Apple has filed a patent for an ad-supported operating system, which would make users view advertisements, but would be sold at a reduced price.
The operating system can disable one or more functions while the advertisement is being presented. At the end of the advertisement, the operating system can again enable the function(s). The advertisement can be visual or audible. The presentation of the advertisement(s) can be made as part of an approach where the user obtains a good or service, such as the operating system, for free or at reduced cost.
The patent application shows it being used in OS X, but with Apple’s introduction of iAds, it is entirely plausible that they make an ad-supported version of iOS. (And it would fit into the phone subsidization model if they work with cell carriers.)
Many users would would rather pay more upfront than have to view ads, but an option to use a free ad-supported OS may be better for some users. A low priced iPhone could kill off the lagging dumb phone market, and would result in more customers for both Apple and AT&T.
It would be a bad move to completely eliminate the traditional OS model in favor of an ad-supported version, but there is no reason both couldn’t coexist.
Which would you rather use?