Hooray the Olympics are here in London and to celebrate Apple is giving away a small freebie to its customers. Customers who shop in Apple Stores in London, or around the country, over the next two weeks may be in for a nice little treat. Apple is giving away badges featuring the Union flag and shaped like the iPhone and iPad. But beware, they are running out fast. 

As London sees nearly one million extra visitors a day, the London Apple Stores are attracting a lot of attention from consumers, according to staff at the Regent Street Apple Store. A member of staff at that store said they were rapidly running out of the free iPhone and iPad shaped badges and are now on a "first come first serve" basis.

There are five London Apple Stores, including one based in the Westfield Shopping centre, right beside the main Olympic venue. For those visiting London for the Games, there are other London Apple Stores in Covent Garden, Regent Street, Brent Cross and White City.

We are able to confirm that the badges are not limited to London, the Apple Store employee told us that they are also available at every Apple Store in the UK – previous reports have suggested that they can only be found in London.

For companies that are not sponsors of the Games, using the hype surrounding the Olympics is not authorised. There are restrictions imposed by LOCOG (The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympics Games Limited) on non Olympic brands. Organisations that aren’t an official sponsors are prohibited from using Olympic terminology and logos of the Games.

The words that cannot be used for advertising or promotion of the London 2012 Olympics by non Olympic brands are London 2012, 2012, LOCOG, Javelin, Team GB, Get Set and Games Maker.

Businesses that aren’t official sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics are finding ways around the restrictions on ambush advertising by LOCOG. Apple found a loophole: the lapel badges that are designed to look like an iPhone and iPad featuring the union jack do not directly relate to the London 2012 Olympics Games at all. These badges were distributed on the day of the opening ceremony but don’t include any Olympic terminology or designs. Smal businesses and companies that aren’t official sponsors of the London Olympics are similarly using the union flag feature as a different method of their promotion for the Games.

Apple carried out a similar campaign during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Apple had designed two sets of special limited edition badges. One set of design was the Canadian maple leaf on an iPod nano shaped badge and the other set consisted of two small square badges with the Apple logo on one and the maple leaf on the other. These badges were specific to the Winter Olympic Games and only available to Apple Stores in Vancouver.

Businesses that are not sponsors have been fined for promoting London 2012 Olympics, for example when displays of the Olympic rings were placed in shop windows. Nike has recently escaped any legal action taken against them by LOCOG for their global ad campaign. The Nike advertisements are of athletes competing in Olympic and non Olympic sports around the world in places that are also named London and first appeared on TV on the day of the opening ceremony.

We have also previously reported how Apple can help you navigate the 2012 London Olympics via various apps available in the App Store. There is London Tube Deluxe iPhone and iPad app from Malcolm Barclay along with a number of iOS apps which will not only help you navigate London like a resident, but also ensure you have a good time on vacation. LOCOG have also developed an app that is designed for iPhones and iPads. This is also available on the iTunes App Store.

So find your nearest Apple Store and grab a free iPad or iPhone shaped badge featuring the union jack to celebrate the London Olympics in style.

You can get a discount on a Macworld subscription this weekend too, that has nothing to do with the Olympics either.