Apple patented a method for putting ads into the OS X last year which was revealed today by MacRumors and Engadget. This one has Steve Jobs’ name on it so it might have some significance. While this initially seems waaaay out of character, there might be some interesting possibilities here.
First, this type of OS could be used in a super low cost Mac. Just as Microsoft is crippling its Windows 7 to go on Netbooks, Apple may be looking for ways to subsidize the cost of building a machine and selling it for less than $400.
Also, could this be a hint that Apple is considering releasing OS X, at some time in the future, for Generic PeeCees? While Apple makes most of its money on hardware -and therefore can afford to sell its OS for cheap and not enforce "Genuine Advantage" type OS security, it could allow an ad-supported "free" version of the OSX to hit the marketplace. This would eliminate the need for people to Hackintosh their computers and also allow apple to compete with the ChromeOS in the Netbook arena.