No more ropey fan footage if Apple has its way
If you've ever been forced to watch an entire concert through someone else's camera phone because their arm is directly in front of your face then Apple's plans to automatically disable its phone cameras at concerts and events will sound like a great idea.
Sky News reports that patent plans filed by the corporation in late 2009 have come to light, showing plans to automatically shut off iPhone cameras if they are held aloft.
The Californian company's plans reveal that infra-red sensors would detect when a person is filming and would disable the camera.
In the patent, Apple describes "using the camera to capture a second image that includes an infrared signal with encoded data".
The phone would then determine whether that encoded data contains a disable command, and, if necessary, "disable a record function", or introduce a compulsory watermark.
In the same patent application, Apple outlines other ways the infra-red emitter could operate to the benefit of users.
One example cited is in museums.
A transmitter could be located next to a museum exhibit and its infra-red signal could include data that represents information about it, appearing automatically on the iPhone.
Apple also make it clear that there could be a future in retail environment for the software.
James Holland, editor of technology site electricpig.co.uk, said implementing such an idea would be a 'long way off'.
"Apple's plan is ingenious, and I can see why some music venues and artists would like it, especially if it stops bootlegging, but on the other hand many clubs and bars survive on word of mouth. To stop people taking photos to post to Twitter and Facebook would be lunacy.
"A patent is just an expression of an idea, and no guarantee Apple's actually building it into the iPhone.
"Implementing that sort of protection for a venue would be a large undertaking.
"Enough infra-red light, carrying a coded signal to switch off cameras, visible from every angle around the stage - that's not something you'd take lightly, and since Apple would surely charge for the equipment a venue would need, it's a long way off yet."