Yesterday we shared a disconcerting art project by Kyle McDonald in which he installed apps in Apple Stores throughout NYC to secretly photograph customers staring into the computers. We predicted that Apple wouldn’t be too happy about it and, lo and behold, it’s pissed. The company has reportedly enlisted the help of the US Secret Service to investigate McDonald’s actions. Mashable writes,
[...] four Secret Service men in suits woke him up on Thursday morning with a search warrant for computer fraud. They confiscated two computers, an iPod and two flash drives, and told McDonald that Apple would contact him separately.
McDonald, who has a master’s degree in electronic arts, admits the project might make some people uncomfortable. Before he began, he got permission from Apple’s security guards to take photos in the store, then asked customers if he could take their photos (with a camera). Had they all said no, he says, he wouldn’t have proceeded.
It’ll be interesting to see how this case turns out, but it appears to be another example of a common sense fail when it comes to photography.
Kyle McDonald wrote a stealthy app that captures a single photo every minute and sends it to his server if it contains a face. He then went around to different Apple stores around New York City and installed it on the computers, collecting more than a thousand photos.
Before sharing the photos online, I decided to exhibit them in the same places they were originally captured. So I wrote another app that could be remotely triggered after being installed on all the computers in one location. When the app starts up, it takes a picture and slowly fades in that photo. A moment later, it starts cycling through older photos.
Most people instinctively quit the app less than 10 seconds after recognizing their own face, so the exhibition was relegated to the unused machines. [#]
Photos from the project are also automatically published to this Tumblr site. Something tells me Apple won’t be too happy about this when they find out.
Earlier this week Apple released Final Cut Pro X, the latest version of the popular video editing software. The program was completely rebuilt from the ground up but lacks many features found in previous versions, frustrating many users and causing people to label the program “iMovie Pro”. Conan O’Brien wasted no time lampooning the program and drawing attention to Apple’s ever-increasing PR nightmare. Lets hope Apple doesn’t do the same thing to Aperture!
One of the exciting features of iOS 5 announced by Apple last week is the ability to use the iPhone’s “volume up” button as a shutter button when taking pictures. What’s also neat is that this design choice also means that the “volume up” button on Apple’s headphone remotes can also trigger the shutter, allowing them to be used as remote shutter releases. Say hello to stealthy and/or non-blurry iPhone photographs!
Apple is looking to make an even bigger splash in the camera market with the photography-related features they’ve included in the upcoming iOS 5, with one of the huge ones being cloud connectivity. iPhones running iOS 5 will be connected to iCloud, Apple’s online backup solution, and every photograph captured will be automatically and wirelessly copied to the cloud and into the user’s “Photo Stream”. The photos can then be accessed from other computers and devices, and are deleted after 30 days unless moved to a permanent folder. Read more…
Apple unveiled its new iOS 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 today, which includes some notable upgrades to the camera functionality on the iPhone. First off, the volume up button now doubles as a shutter button, allowing the phone to be used more easily in a camera orientation. There’s also a new camera button on the phone’s unlock screen, letting you quickly switch to the app before a precious moment slips away. Finally, a AE/AF lock feature will allow you to tap any area on the screen to quickly determine the appropriate focus and exposure for that point.
Apple recently filed a patent having to do with baking infrared communication capabilities into the iPhone. Although there are certainly useful applications for the technology (e.g. a museum beaming information to the phone at different exhibitions), what’s troubling is that the feature may also allow the camera to be remotely disabled by those who wish to prevent photography.
[...] the transmitter could be located in an area where photography is prohibited and the infrared signal could include encoded data that represents a command to disable recording functions.
This example could easily apply to movie theatres trying to stop customers from filming a movie for illegal distribution or any kind of music concert to protect an artist’s image from being photographed or videoed illegally, as shown below. [#]
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a camera that could be disabled remotely by a third party…
When the iPad 2 was announced a couple months ago, it was called “the first ‘camera’ to have a sensor resolution lower than the display resolution.” Commenters were quick to point out that Apple never intended for the device to be used as a camera like the iPhone is, and therefore was probably able to keep costs down by limiting it to a 0.7 megapixel sensor. Now, with millions of the devices in consumers’ hands, Flickr’s camera statistics confirm what we suspected all along: no one uses the iPad 2 as a camera. Read more…
If you think the 5-megapixel sensor found on the iPhone 4 is good, wait till you see the camera found on the next iPhone — it’s reportedly going to be a 8-megapixel sensor made by Sony. The Street wrote back in 2010 that the next version of the iPhone to arrive in 2011 would pack an 8-megapixel Sony sensor rather than the 5-megapixel OmniVision one found in the current phone, and Sony’s CEO Howard Stringer seems to have confirmed that today in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. Read more…