If you're sick of people blocking your view with their damn cameras, while you try to enjoy a nice gig, you might be in luck! Back in 2011, we published a report that Apple filed a patent for infrared technology to send signals to their phone's camera. Earlier this week, the patent was granted.
Such technology would then disable the ability to take a photo or video. It was easy to make the leap that this would affect concert venues. In fact, Apple included such a drawing in one of their patents:
The patent would also allow venues to automatically include some sort of watermark on the photos. According to the filing:
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).
The watermarking could also be used in places like art galleries and museums to give the phone user context to what they are seeing:
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.
It's too early to tell how this technology will be used and if it would really prevent photos and videos from being taken at concerts. There have been plenty of shows where the demand is no video allows, and security would have to watch attendees like hawks, so this would be pretty useful to those musicians.
Then again, on the consumer side, this would make Apple look really bad. How does shooting concert video affect them? If anything, it helps their branding. Plus, just because Apple implements it, doesn't mean all phones will. In fact, Android has the most market share at this point. So, it might be too soon to jump to conclusions, but the evidence is piling up.