Though Amazon, Apple and Google have all rolled out cloud music players this year, Amazon and Google made it to market first by passing up deals with record companies and releasing simple storage solutions for uploaded music. Apple took the time to set up those deals and created iCloud. One of the company’s recently unveiled patents patents seems to build off those relationships with record companies--in designing a system for future iPhones to detect infrared light, Apple has demonstrated a way for concerts and movie theaters to stamp out video recording at live events.
Concertgoers absolutely love to whip out their smart phones, record songs and upload them to YouTube. Apple’s patent could stop that practice by allowing infrared stage lights to shut off the camera of any iPhone picking up the IR beam.
Apple’s patent calls for image processing circuitry attached to future iPhone cameras that has the ability to scan a photo and detect any captured infrared light that might include encoded data. That data can then be decoded and converted into information or a command. In the example we already listed, infrared blasts at concerts or theaters could cause a phone to turn off its camera and prevent recording.
Apple’s patent filing also lists some positive benefits of this kind of infrared scanning: transmitting interesting data. The technology could enable augmented reality functions, like providing supplementary information about an exhibit in a museum. Anywhere infrared emitters could go, the iPhone could receive data from them and use that to create a richer experience.
This patent was originally filed in 2009 and, like many Apple patents, may never become a real device feature. What do you think: is it a disturbing example of how Apple could control your device usage or a cool addition to smart phone camera functionality?