Opinion: Why Doesn't Apple Trust Us To Stop Using Our Phones?

A strange new patent has implications way beyond concerts or other public spaces.

BY Matt Miller | Jul 1, 2016 | News


I once watched as a sobbing woman was escorted out of a Dave Chappelle performance for using her cell phone. Another time I was lucky enough to see Prince in a small venue in Denver. There, again, was a strict no cell policy that resulted in ejection from the club.

Really, it's a fair request to ask fans to put their phones away and enjoy the performance that they paid money to see. It's something that's been asked of me at Jack White, St. Vincent, Savages, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bjork, Wilco, and Neko Case shows. And that's just it, a request—one that we should all be respectful enough to abide by—like not using a phone during a movie or talking softly in a library.

Of course, people are inherently rude, and will do whatever they want anyway. Yes, these people—with their phone (or seriously an iPad, I've seen it) up in the air the entire goddamn time—are annoying as hell.


Get after it 💪💻

A photo posted by John Hendrickson (@johnghendy) on

But, are they really doing anything bad enough to warrant turning a concert into a high school classroom—especially if they snap one or two photos? I've certainly seen a lot worse happen at concerts—fights, drinks thrown, burns, broken limbs, failed stage dives.

Regardless of how much harm photos actually do, Apple doesn't think we have the self control to avoid using our devices at a concert. Apple has reportedly patented technology that will disable a phone's video and camera functions in certain places. As Consequence of Sound explains:

Here's an artist's rendering of how it could work:

This is probably exciting news for concertgoers and musicians: Finally, people will be forced put their damn phones back in their pockets! But does anyone find this, I don't know, a little troubling?

First of all, it's mildly insulting. Do we want the most powerful brand in the world treating us like children and forbidding us from using our phones? Can't they just trust us to try and be a little bit more respectful on our own?

Consider this other little detail in the patent:

Hmmmm okay, so Apple can turn off your device whenever it wants, and also pull vital information from wherever you're pointing? On the surface level: Lots of people can make money off that! (But don't forget Google Glass was a total dud.) On a deeper level: that sounds like a bold new era of corporate surveillance.

Weren't we talking about concerts a minute ago?

From: Esquire US.