A Shady Side of Apple?

If the craze of the iPad has taught us anything, it’s that much of the world is utterly and hopelessly in love with all things Apple. Ever since the mega-popularity of the iPod, it seems the leading technology company can do no wrong when it comes to its millions of devoted users. However, a pending patent could be the first ripple in the water to drive a wedge in the popularity polls of the company.

The patent, filed over a year ago, would ban iPhone users from recording footage at live events, as well as forbidding any photos from being taken. Trying to get between fans and their artists is perhaps the first action Apple has taken to get on the bad side of users everywhere.

Should the patent go through, iPhones with the camera function turned on would be detected at concerts, and infra-red sensors would also alert the iPhone to turn off the function.

Sounds a little Big Brother-esque if you ask us, but could very possibly be a reality in the near future. Attempting to control how buyers use the iPhone seems to be making Apple-users angry—and rightfully so.

From the corporation’s perspective, the function would serve to protect event organizers and concert sponsors who are unhappy with footage being streamed online for free. But what about the happiness of a devoted public who has brought Apple from novel cool-looking Macs to the mainstream standard over the past two decades? Apparently it’s not a priority.

If Apple should understand anything, it is that social marketing and grass root campaigns through shared love of artists is a valuable source of public power! A love between fans and their music is beyond sacred and not allowing them to pass along such an experience is perhaps not the smartest move.

We only have to look at the case of teen sensation and worldwide phenomenon (and that’s putting it lightly) Justin Beiber to understand the power of shared videos. The heartthrob and his parents began posting videos of the then-tyke singing and dancing on Youtube where he grew a massive fan-base whose viral sharing eventually garnered him industry attention and much more.

On a less teeny-bopper level, there are also the Arctic Monkeys, the massively popular and critically acclaimed UK rock band who gained success and sales through a fan-driven grassroots endeavour that happened in the most organic of ways made possible by video sharing.

Fans are in an uproar because Apple has always been intensely supportive of fan-driven initiatives. The iPod after all was the first device that allowed people to carry their entire music collections with them where ever they went, essentially becoming their own DJ’s on the go.

The now-famous ads for iPods displaying silhouettes of enthusiastically dancing listeners was the love of music personified and encouraged an age where underground track remixes and unknown artists and DJ’s had probable shots at fame based on musical virality. In a sense by applying for such a patent, Apple is undermining the loyal fan trust they worked so hard to pursue.

Whether the camera-stopping technology manifests shortly only time will tell, but the damage may already be done. Getting between fans and their love of music and live performances is like getting between a mother bear and her cub—Apple should be ready to deal with fierce loyalty and a strong protectiveness. We know who we’ll be rooting for!


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