Apple ready to *make* you pay attention to ads.

Heeeeeeere’s the situation:

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.

…and heeeeeeere’s the problem:

It’s amazing how many of these vendors fail to understand Chekhov’s first law of narrative: “A gun on the mantelpiece in act one is bound to go off by act three.” That is, if you design a device that is intended to attack its user — by shutting her out of her own files and processes against her wishes and without her consent — someone will figure out how to use that device to attack its user.

Well, one of the problems. The other major one is that forcing people to maintain constant awareness of what their computer is doing is a very stupid idea.  Particularly if you’re producing for a niche customer base in the first place.  You know how people hate pop-up ads?  This is worse.  Particularly if the company does something really dumb, like integrate this kind of technology into their new iPods.  Fastest way to lose dominance of that particular market that I can think of.

Moe Lane

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