As I read the new york times article, I was trying to make some sense out of it. I hope I am not the first person on the Internet to make the connection but I think this patent application probably makes sense.
- More than just premium products: With mass adoption of the iPod and iPhone line-up, Apple is not an "exclusive" market player. Especially withe the iPhone (and the iPod Touch), Apple is headed into "free" (as in free beer) territory. Perhaps not so much with the devices themselves, but the apps are stuck in a whirlpool that keeps sucking prices down. Not everyone is going to buy fifty dollar apps even if they are super awesome. Wolfram Alpha gets away with charging fifty dollars for its apps. The rest of the mortals need to stick to USD 1.99 price point at the app store (or even free). To help the developers (and pay its own hosting fees), Apple needs to monetize this transaction. Enter an annoying scheme that makes advertisers so happy that the cost per impression is dramatically high enough to cover the cost of the app.
- More than just products: It might sound be an urban legend now (with the tremendous success of the Mac Book and Mac Book pro line) but at some point in history, there was a joke that actually sounded right. It said that Apple made more money from its patent on laptop design than from selling laptops. Couple this with the ridiculous 1-Click patent that Apple was forced to license and you have a no-brainer. Think of all the money
msn live searchbing would pay to have a piece of this technology.
- Maybe it is not for the money: This may be stretching it too far but could Apple be taking a patent on this topic to stop others from using it? This would force its competitors to come out in the open as far as pricing is concerned and that can only be a good thing for Apple as even today, it has an image (rightly or wrongly is another issue altogether) of being over-priced.