I read about this over on Brand Republic, and almost thought it was a joke of some kind. Apparently Apple haves filed a patent application for a new operating system (OS) which has embedded advertising. Basically the patent application states that the operating system would require users to interact with ads before they could use any of the applications on their computer.
In and of itself this is not information that can be considered either positive or negative. Obviously there are an awful lot of questions that would need to be asked first; would this mean a very reduced price?, would it only happen for a set amount of time?, what if you were not online? etc.
Having said that, an extremely important thing to consider is that as this is OS based, it covers a huge range of hardware from laptops and desktops to iPods and iPhones.
One source has indicated that a possible mechanic to the system would be that users could receive a free operating system upgrade in return for accepting the ads. Logic would also dictate that users would be happier to fill out certain information for the service, and it would ensure extremely targeted ads.