Before 2016 bowed out completely, it wasn't done with one more "bombshell" of a rumor: Theater Mode in iOS 10.3. It made the rounds on the internet after a single tweet, with not much information tagging along with it, but it obviously has many folks not-too-pleased with the possibility.
Apple hasn't said anything about it, obviously, but what we know at this point is that there will apparently be a "popcorn-shaped" button in Control Center, which will activate Theater Mode. What that means, exactly, is anyone's guess at this point. Some have speculated that it could simply reduce the display's brightness and prevent it from going any brighter. Some believe that it could change a lot more than that.
If the rumor is true, Apple has some kind of idea to make it less frustrating when people take their phones out during a movie.
That's how I'm looking at this. Apple isn't going to stop people from being rude in a movie theater, and even theaters themselves have trouble with it. There are some chains out there that have a simple rule: "Pull your phone out during a movie and get kicked out," and I'll be honest here -- I respect those establishments.
I go to movies a lot, and there's typically one phone pulled out every time I go. In fact, I went to see Rogue One last weekend, and a guy sitting in front of me kept pulling out his phone, covering the display with his hand, and texting away. He did this more than a few times, and it was more annoying each and every instance.
Rude people are going to pull their phones out, but I don't think that's the issue itself. I find the worst of it comes in the fact when people text during a movie, but don't reduce the brightness of their phone's display. That's what drives me crazy.
I've been watching people text during movies for a long time, and I don't think having a bright screen really matters to most of them. (Smartwatches are an issue, too, for the record.) And I don't want people to text during movies. I've written about this in the past. I prefer theaters that have a no tolerance policy towards this.
But some people aren't going to care about the rules, and they aren't going to stop texting in theaters. So if Apple can make it possible for those people to be less annoying while they do it? I think I'm on board with that. The obvious question of whether or not this will inspire people to text, when they might not have before, is valid. But I'm trying to stay positive here.