Apple’s Terrible 'Theater Mode' Idea and How It Might Be Useful
Yesterday, Apple secrets-leaker extraordinaire Sonny Dickson tweeted what’s believed to be the big update on the iPhone and iPad’s iOS 10.3 software, a “Theater Mode” button in the control center that inverts normally white backgrounds on your phone to a more eye-pleasing dark grey, encouraging users to send messages, in the dark, during a movie.
Needless to say, many purists who value the cinematic experience, like us at Talk Film Society, are pretty livid.
Now that the click-bait outrage dust has more or less settled, let’s talk about this with level heads. Though, with sorting through all this comes confusion, with the chief question being, “Why the heck is it called ‘Theater Mode’ in the first place?”
The unofficial concept shown above is pretty straightforward. With the new “Theater Mode” native iPhone apps would have dark backgrounds instead of bright white ones, which would reduce the amount of white light shown. Personally, I would find it extremely useful for using the phone at night, even throughout the whole day. I generally prefer to read white text on black screens, and I should be excited for this feature. Anyone who uses Twitter on a regular basis should know that the “dark mode” is the only way to read Twitter without losing your vision.
If you’re perfectly content with how your phone is displayed, then “Theater Mode” isn’t for you. That’s fine. Movie theaters chains have painstakingly tried to address the distracting issue of phone usage in cinemas, so that makes Apple’s decision to name this dark mode “Theater Mode” all the more confusing. It’s a conflicting message that is sure to confuse or even encourage the average moviegoers to use their phones. We’re all in consensus that phones should under no circumstances be used in movie theaters. It’s distracting, disrespectful, and annoying. Though, I’m worried that this very clear message will be muddled with Apple’s decision to simply name this feature something cutesy like “Theater Mode” and not what it actually is — dark mode. My gripes begin and end with the name.
Phone usage should and will continue to be discouraged in movie theaters and Apple needs to stand with that. We’ll see what happens when 10.3 beta reportedly launches January 10th, but until then and for forever, put your friggin’ phone away until the end of the movie.