Rumored iPhone update sparks response from Alamo Drafthouse

A new Apple update could make texting in movie theaters less distracting, but Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has already said not in our theater.

This all started after someone leaked information about the new IOS operating system on Twitter. Sonny Dickson, who has previously leaked Apple related information, said IOS 10.3 will include “theater mode.” While that claim has not been confirmed by Apple, it has already led to a lot of backlash by movie theater executives and movie-goers.

Alamo Drafthouse, which already has a strict no texting or talking policy, was among those to join in the conversation.

Alamo Austin sent out a tongue-in-cheek tweet with a picture of the iPhone’s off switch that said the following:



Alamo Drafthouse NYC said "Here's another idea: just turn your phone off for two hours and watch the movie."

“It's the reason I come here. I can't go anywhere else anymore. There's too many people talking and it's just the only thing I can handle,” said Greg Clark, a regular at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. 

It is not clear what exactly “theater mode” means, but a patent by Apple in 2014 suggests it will disable sounds and make some functions unavailable while darkening the phone's screen so texts sent in a theater would be less distracting to others.

“I don't think they should be texting just period. I don't think making it to where there's a mode where the screens darker so they can text anyway is going to help because it's still going to distract you, you're still going to miss something,” Clark said. 

“I, for one,  think you shouldn't be able to use your phone in a car that’s moving, so certainly a theater with other people sitting by you, that's truly, truly nasty,” said Drafthouse customer Russ Graham. 

Alamo Drafthouse Founder Tim League sent out a twitter response saying, "I see nothing but rumors swirling around this alleged functionality, so I can only say the following at this point: if this enhancement turns out to be a means to make it easier to text in cinemas, I may have to book a ticket to Cupertino and pack my can of whoop-ass. I have confidence, however, that a fellow Tim would not make such a mistake."

It seems most Drafthouse customers agree with League.

“I think that, yeah, it's rude to be talking and texting in a movie theater unless you have a good reason,” said Yuvonda Berdette who was at Drafthouse Thursday. 

“That's not what I paid to be there for and it's also not really, quite frankly, what the actors and actresses have done their performances for to have been interrupted that way,” said customer Nelda Yaw.

“I think you should just put your phone away and turn the world off for two hours. That's why you come to the movies and just enjoy yourself,” Clark said. 

Apple users may not have to wait long to find out if theater mode is actually included in IOS 10.3. Technology bloggers say the new operating system could be released as soon as Tuesday.

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