Ever get annoyed by countless screens at gigs? Apple's new patent could stop people filming on their phones

Posted by
Helen Booth
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Bad news for anyone in the habit of filming gigs or live performances with their phone – Apple has just patented new technology which could deactivate iPhone cameras at concerts, films and other live events.

Holding your phone in the air to record a live event is a relatively recent phenomenon, but one which has quickly become commonplace at festivals and gigs. However, it's a habit that's often seen as antisocial – especially by fellow concert goers who end up struggling to see the stage through a sea of glowing screens held aloft.

According to the patent application, the company has now developed technology which would allow venues to use an infrared beam to disable photography on mobile phones, preventing people from taking photos or filming any video.

The new technology might seem slightly creepy – it's odd to think that a venue could essentially control your phone, whether you're filming or simply wanting to snap a picture with your friends – but its implementation could also force fans to live in the moment instead of absorbing a performance through a screen.

Last year, Hamlet star Benedict Cumberbatch made an impassioned plea urging fans to stop filming his West End performances on their phones and enjoy the live performance as it happened instead.

The illustrations submitted along with the patent show an iPhone in front of a band on stage, with the words 'recording disabled' on the screen, but it's likely that the technology will be used to tackle the illegal recording of theatre performances and cinema screenings, too; in a dark theatre, the use of brightly lit screens is distracting and frustrating for both audience members and performers.