Apple Rumored to Make Texting During Movies Easier with “Theater Mode” for Phones

     January 4, 2017

Texting at the theater is still a big pet peeve for many movie lovers. As someone who writes about movies for a living, it’s enraging on multiple levels, but it also doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon because god forbid we keep our phones in our pockets for two hours. So, if you can’t beat them, maybe there’s a way to make the movie-going experience less aggravating for everyone else. That’s where this new rumor about Apple’s latest iOS update comes in.

According to Sonny Dickson, who’s leaked information on major Apple products over the years, claimed on Twitter Friday that the rumored iOS 10.3 update will feature a “Theatre Mode” in the form of a “popcorn-shaped Control Center icon.”

No other details on its functionality were provided, but, according to Apple Insider, the company has had a patent on such technology since 2012. Based on its description from back then, this new invention could potentially include the following environmental reactions:

This policy enforcement capability is useful for a variety of reasons, including for example to disable noise and/or light emanating from wireless devices (such as at a movie theater), for preventing wireless devices from communicating with other wireless devices (such as in academic settings), and for forcing certain electronic devices to enter “sleep mode” when entering a sensitive area.

None of this information has been officially confirmed. Even if true, though, it seems like it’d cause more problems than it would solve. Even if Apple could dim the screens low enough to not disturb anyone around said texter, the concept on its own would seem to invite more texting instead of working to squash the issue altogether. If one person can get away with texting in a theater, what’s stopping everyone else?

AMC Theaters CEO Adam Aron tried addressing the problem by offering a texting option inside screenings. “When you tell a 22-year-old to turn off the phone, don’t ruin the movie, they hear please cut off your left arm above the elbow,” he said. “You can’t tell a 22-year-old to turn off their cellphone. That’s not how they live their life.” Thankfully, the chain has since back-pedaled from those remarks.

Meanwhile, here’s to the rebels still fighting the good fight, like Alamo Drafthouse.

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