Saturday, June 18, 2011

Apple to "ban" something, claims The Sun

The Sun headline on the story about Apple filing a patent to 'prevent' iPhone cameras working at gigs is a little shouty:

Apple to 'ban iPhone gig filming'
And doesn't quite match up to the story underneath.

What Apple have done is file a patent describing a system which would allow a venue to install equipment which could detect iPhones in the house, and then block the cameras in them:
If an iPhone were held up and used to film during a concert infra-red sensors would detect it.

These sensors would then contact the iPhone and automatically disable its camera function.

People would still be able to send text messages and make calls.
Is it just me, or would everyone rather than disabled the ability to make calls and send text messages during the set?

Clearly, this is one of the most stupid ideas Apple has ever come up with - yes, stupider than the Newton. Not only does "this phone won't work in a concert" sound like a compelling reason to buy a different phone, but the complicated system relies on the venue's equipment being able to contact the iPhone. So you just flick the device into airplane mode, it stops sending and receiving messages, and how then will the supersensor switch the camera off?

Why even bother?
The new technology is seen as an attempt to protect the interests of event organisers and broadcasters who have exclusive rights to concerts.
Yes, DVD sales of gigs must be really hurt by someone sticking small chunks of the gig filmed from one position, with lots of bits of people's heads in the way, on a wobbly, tiny camera onto YouTube. That's a genuine fear.

The paper speculates that this is really intended to allow Apple to show willing to the copyright industry when negotiating iTunes rights.

Hmm... a totally useless but expensive system it can sell venues, and a good but meaningless story to tell rights holders? Perhaps Apple's idea isn't so stupid after all...

[UPDATE: Codepope explains in the comments why switching off airplane mode wouldn't work...]

1 comment:

Codepope said...

Airplane mode wouldn't work. The idea in the patent is that the signal in embedded in the lighting by projecting IR from the thing that shouldn't be filmed. is the patent application. Yes, it is possible that an IR filter over the camera lens could disable it. The tech is more likely to be applied to cinemas, if at all, anyways and would have the plus that you wouldn't get your phone taken off you at a premiere.

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