Apple patent application details sophisticated infrared system for iOS cameras

“On June 2, 2011, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that revealed various concepts behind a newly advanced next generation camera system that could employ infrared technology,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple.

“On one side, the new system would go a long way in assisting the music and movie industries by automatically disabling camera functions when trying to photograph or film a movie or concert,” Purcher reports. “On the other hand, the new system could turn your iOS device into a kind of automated tour guide for museums or cityscapes as well as eventually being an auto retail clerk providing customers with price, availability and product information.”

Purcher reports, “The technology behind Apple’s patent application holds a lot of potential.”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. That was only a matter of time until this came out to block filming movies or concerts. Apple is playing nice with the industry to get deals for iCloud, so this is a move to appease them. Yet the tourist twist to this could really be cool in directing you through a museum, art gallery or new city you’re visiting.

    I hate tour guides and crowds and so a private option of a city tour etc on my iPhone would be great. What will they think of next.

  2. Suppressing ability to use the camera at concerts or movies seems awfully “Big Brotherish” to me. What if I want to take a picture of my wife, or the crowd? Either would be perfectly legal, but I couldn’t do it.

    I don’t record concerts or movies and wouldn’t, but I wouldn’t anyone taking away my freedom of choice, either. I know that the movie and music cartels want to be able to do this, but this isn’t the way to go about it.

  3. Either turn the IR detection off in the phone, (The patent application shows a menu for that.)

    Failing that, one could simply use a physical IR-blocking filter over your phone camera’s lens. IR is just a spectrum of light. Photographers have used filters that block or pass the light they want for many decades. This would be a rather easy “hack.”

  4. What would be nice if Apple could bring out an iOS camera that takes X-Ray pictures. I’ll even post a couple of iPhone ‘Girls Gone Wild’ videos on here.

  5. This is not just about blocking photos at concerts. Think about all the places that have problems now that everyone has a little camera in their pocket. I know a lot of women who will be glad to know that are not being photographed in the gym or locker room. This could also end the dilima of what phones are allowed into companies worried about IP theft and other privacy issues. Plus the patent describes a lot of other uses besides disabling the camera

  6. Think of celebs wearing infrared emitters so that you can’t take pictures of them. Great idea, but it’ll only work if the entire industry regulates that feature. I wouldn’t count that out in the long run.

    On the flip side, the retail angle is interesting. Trying to find help these days in a lot of stores is next to impossible. If the store implements an infrared system, your iphone would just be able to pick up the info on an item that you’re interested while shopping about.

  7. Chinese government will subsidize these kind of functions, and will buy hundred of millions of such iPhones to be given to every chinese people… and you know why ? Guess !

    Chinese governement and other countries too… sure !

    Completly idiot, just to satisfy a few sharks in an industry that don’t share profits equitably and suck all what is possible to suck from even no customers (hard drives, etc.)

    And if the Bush administration comes back again, also the US government will subsidize such iPhones !

  8. Take your meds “bivegabs. ” it’s painful to hear such gibberish.

    Like Stephen said above, this application with infrared has the potential to replace qr codes.

  9. The kids at reddit have gone apeshit on this story saying it could be used an abusive police tool. Any technology could be twisted for evil and some are. For now you have to hope that providing feedback that you’ll reach the right people to ensure human rights, while we still have them. 😉

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