Apple doesn’t want to annoy Hollywood majors and record labels who provide iTunes with valuable content. No wonder the company is happily bowing to content owners’ every whim, actively seeking ways of preventing us from capturing stills and recording video in certain situations. That’s right, future iPhones could refuse to capture cams of the latest blockbuster flick and might keep you from snapping images of your favorite band’s live performance. Come on, you’re aware this files asĀ copyright infringement after all…

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The system proposed calls for an image processing circuitry electrically coupled to the phone’s camera, designed to “determine whether each image detected by the camera includes an infrared signal with encoded data”, per Apple’s patent application. This led Patently Apple to speculate that such an infrared system on future iOS devices might act “as a tour guide or retail assistant”. It is more likely, however, that it will be used to prevent illegal image and video capturing. Apple’s invention is pretty simple yet very effective. In a nutshell, if an absence of an infrared signal has been determined in data encoded within the captured image, the system would simply route the image to the screen, letting you save it to the camera roll. Likewise, trying to snap a scene nearby an infrared signal which beams a disable command would block the record function. Originally filed on December 2, 2009, the invention entitled “Systems and Methods for Receiving Infrared Data With a Camera Designed to Detect Images Based on Visible Light” can be found in the USPTO database under the classification number 20110128384. Apple credits engineers Victor Tiscareno, Kevin Johnson and Cindy Lawrence with coming up with this idea.

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