If you're the kind of person who takes lots of photos and videos at concerts, your days might be numbered. Apple has been granted a patent that would let the company to disable photo and video capturing in places where it's frowned upon. Image: Getty
The patent, filed back in 2011, describes the iPhone's camera detecting an infrared signal in order to receive information. One of the most obvious possibilities for this type of data transfer would be to prohibit concert-goers from capturing bootleg footage at exclusive events. Apple even included illustrations in the patent filing to show how the technology would work.
The tech could also be used to obfuscate any photos or videos taken in a specific location. Here's how Apple describes that process in its patent filling:
In some embodiments, a device may apply a watermark to detected images as an alternative to completely disabling a recording function. For example, a device may receive infrared signals with encoded data that includes a command to apply a watermark to detected images. In such an example, the device may then apply the watermark to all detected images that are displayed or stored (e.g., single pictures or frames of a video).
In addition to restricting some of the iPhone's capabilities, the infrared signal could also be used to to display information about objects at places like a museum. Here's how Apple describes the other uses in its patent filing:
An infrared emitter can be located near an object and generate infrared signals with encoded data that includes information about that object. An electronic device can then receive the infrared signals, decode the data and display the information about the object to the user.
One important thing to note is that infrared technology is actually pretty old standard at this point. Apple's iBeacon technology, which launched in 2013, allows for a similar type of data transfer in specific locations. Whether this technology ever sees the light of day remains to be seen, but maybe there's a lesson to be learned here: It's much better watching a concert with your eyes than through your phone's viewfinder.