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Is Apple going to disable iPhone cameras at gigs?

The tech giant has just been granted a patent that will allow it to block photographing or filming concerts with infrared transmitters

By IQ on 29 Jun 2016

Man filming concert on iPhone, The Hamster Factor

image © The Hamster Factor

Apple has been granted a patent that could allow it to block filming or taking photos on iPhones at concerts.

US patent 9,380,225, first applied for 2011, relates to the detection of an infrared signal by the phone’s camera, and concerns itself primarily with potential applications for augmented reality – for example, using infrared transmitters at museums to beam information to iPhone users photographing a particular exhibit.

However, the patent also describes a secondary application that will be particularly interesting for venues, stating that “[infrared] transmitter[s] can be located in areas where capturing pictures and videos is prohibited (eg a concert or a classified facility) and the transmitters can generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes commands temporarily disabling recording functions”, and even includes a handy diagram showing how it could work:

Apple iPhone patent 9,380,225, fig. 5

IQ earlier this month reported on a study by MIDiA Research which revealed digital and mobile now dominate event discovery, ticket buying and sharing and opined that: “The use of smartphones in events is an invaluable form of brand promotion and can be leveraged to build engaged future attendee lists through tactics such as image competitions on social platforms.”

Clearly someone at Apple disagrees – although the California-based company has not announced any plans to include the functionality in its next model, the iPhone 7. Apple has sold well in excess of 700 million iPhones worldwide since the phone’s introduction in 2007.


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