Alamo Drafthouse vs. Apple? If iPhone function rumors are true, maybe so

What do you love more: your iPhone or Alamo Drafthouse? The time to choose might be nigh.

According to several news outlets, rumors began to swirl at the end of last year that a new “theatre mode” is coming to iOS 10.3, complete with a popcorn-shaped icon in the device’s control center. I know, I know. The idea of using your phone in a theatre at all, special mode or not, is anathema to any concientious Austin moviegoer.

A gathering of Star Wars fans for a "lightsaber" vigil to honor the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

A gathering of Star Wars fans for a “lightsaber” vigil to honor the late actress and writer Carrie Fisher at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Apple has had a patent on such technology since 2012, according to the website Apple Insider. An excerpt of the patent’s abstract on that website mentions a wireless device capability “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).”

As you can guess, one local cinema institution is having none of that.

Alamo Drafthouse is renowned for its strict “no talking, no texting” policy, which promises swift theater ejection for anyone bold enough to whip out their phone during a screening. It’s so ingrained in the theater chain’s identity that their pre-show PSAs, which are often star-studded, have become as much a part of the experience as the movie itself.

On Wednesday, Alamo Drafthouse tweeted “That’s weird. Our phones already have theater mode….” along with a screenshot of an iPhone’s shutdown screen.

On Thursday, Drafthouse founder and CEO Tim League issued a statement, which the theater tweeted, too.

READ: Fans flock to Alamo Drafthouse in force to mourn hero, Carrie Fisher

“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,” League said in the statement. “I have confidence, however, that a fellow Tim would not make such a mistake.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook might want to think twice before crossing a man who once got former Texas Gov. Ann Richards to throw a man out of a theater for talking. It was in one of those PSAs, sure, but the point still stands. Remember: Drafthouse doesn’t play around with texting, even if you leave them a voicemail about it.


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