Apple camera patent could stop smartphone bootleggers in their tracks

Apple is always filing patents for strange and fantastic things that never seem to find their way into actual products. But an application published today details some interesting tech that we could actually see getting jammed into a future iPhone (for better or worse). By pairing an infrared sensor with the camera already on board, portable devices could receive data from transmitters placed, well, wherever. Beyond simply blasting out text and opening links like a glorified QR code, transmitters could disable certain features, such as the camera, to prevent recording at movie theaters and music venues. If completely shutting off the cam seems a bit heavy-handed, watermarks can also be applied to photos identifying businesses or copyrighted content. Some potential uses are a little less Big Brother, like museums beaming information about exhibits to a user's or launching an audio tour. Obviously third parties would have to get behind the IR push and there's no guarantee that Apple will put this in a future iProduct. Still, we're a little worried that the days of blurry YouTube concert videos may be coming to an end.