Could iPhone update have a 'theatre mode'? Movie fans react online

Ben Arnold
Theatre mode?... movie fans not happy about rumoured iOS update - Credit: Getty
Theatre mode?… movie fans not happy about rumoured iOS update – Credit: Getty

According to leaked information from Apple, its forthcoming iOS update could include a so-called ‘theatre mode’ for iPhones and iPads.

The source appears to be a tweet from blogger Sonny Dickson, who has leaked various stories about Apple products and updates in the past.

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As yet, it’s not known quite what this will involve, but the talk of this ‘popcorn-shaped’ icon set to appear in the Apple control centre once the 10.3 update is released next week has caused consternation.

It could, of course, be a mode that improves the watching of movies on Apple devices by blocking incoming notifications and adjusting brightness and colour levels appropriately.

But it’s led many to make the leap that the new mode is intended to reduce disruption in theatres – movie or otherwise – when people use their phones, though such a move could in fact encourage phone use.

Tech writer Rod Chester for Australia’s Herald Sun called the potential move an ‘epic fail’.

“Maybe theatre mode is for tweeting your way through the next Star Wars movie. If so, I’m only going to the movies with friends who have Samsung phones — which may mean I need to get new friends,” he writes.

Dustin Rowles on Pajiba welcomes a potential ‘screen-dimming’ mode, particularly as a parent who has to check his phone intermittently, but worries that it will be used for evil rather than good.

“I don’t care how dim the screen is, if you’re sitting next to me and texting, I’m going to take the straw out of my soda and stab it into your eyeball,” he writes.

“If you are not sitting near anyone else – and I always make it a point to sit as far away from other people as possible – you are allowed to briefly glance at your home screen no more than twice a movie, three times if it’s longer than two hours. That’s it. Anything beyond that, whether it’s in Theater Mode or not, means a straw stabbin’.”

A comment thread on Reddit also found movie fans expressing concern.

“It’s cool they are trying to reduce annoyance (I know do not disturb already exists) but I feel like this will just encourage more people to pull out their phones during movies,” wrote one user.

“If someone already doesn’t switch off their phone or put it into flight mode, then they’re not going to engage popcorn mode. Because they are selfish pr**ks,” added another.

“The whole point is trying to get people not to use their phones while the movie is being showed. What kind of moronic fool would’ve thought that this is a good idea?” said another.

“Sadly, in my country, a lot of people talk and use their cellphones, but hot damn, this will make more people use their cellphones.”

Another came up with this ingenious update:

“They should make it so when you try and turn on ‘theatre mode’ a screen pops up that just says ‘Enjoy the movie’ and switches off your phone and won’t let you turn it back on for two hours.”

The news comes after the boss of AMC Cinemas suggested that ‘texting-friendly’ screenings could be the way ahead for its chain in April this year, to allow those who want to use their devices to do so without upsetting others.

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