Innovative companies file many patents, even for inventions they’ll never, ever sell.
One of Apple’s newest patents, for an iPhone “feature,” I’m pretty sure will never see the light of day.
Have you heard of cellular phone jammers? They work, and owners of places like restaurants, hotels, and movie theaters would love to have them. But they’re illegal and they’re dangerous in that they cut people off from communications. FCC cracks down hard on their users. Yet, they’re very easy to buy online.
So just imagine how much abuse this invention would get: Apple patented a way to block photos and videos, by designating a certain infrared light pattern, that phones will recognize and obey. The intent is to stop concert and movie bootleggers, but this would get terribly abused. Cops, already seeking to intimidate journalists out of watching them, would probably be some of the first to implement it.
There’s no way you’d stop people from bootlegging their own versions of this though, and then anyone who wanted to, could disable iPhones from taking pictures or videos. And unlike with cell phone jammers, there’s no FCC jurisdiction to slap massive fines on folks who did it. So I conclude this would be a terrible feature and I just don’t see Apple ever implementing it.