A Phone Rings And Disrupts a Concert...

21 January, 2012 12:28PM · 2 minute read

So a phone rings and disrupts a concert…that’s something that’s happened thousands upon thousands of times in the past and will happen again in the future. Two differences that make this sort of story newsworthy: it stopped the New York Philharmonic mid-movement and it was an iPhone. Were it another kind of phone it wouldn’t have mattered so much but Apple being the biggest company by market capitalisation makes it more newsworthy. Not just that but perhaps one of the curiosities of the iPhone from Day 1 in 2007 was the operation of the silent/ringer switch and how it handles alarms.

The point of contention seems to centre around whether the silent/ringer switch is actually a mute switch for all audio coming out of the phone. It does mute everything with two exceptions: Find My iPhone alerts and Alarms from the built-in clock application. (Other apps if you jailbreak it perhaps). Argument 1 says: Mute with no exceptions. Argument 2 says there should be selectability for which apps/notifications can ignore the switch.

Apple have chosen their path and if they make it configurable and there’s another incident with the Calgary Philharmonic this time for example then you can bet that there will be a “it’s too confusing now it’s configurable and I thought it was on silent” or the configuration is buried “ten levels down in the Settings app and I couldn’t find it” or similar complaint with anger directed at Apple. Even if Apple do make it configurable, you can guarantee they will stick with the iPhones current behaviour as its new default.

Say what you will and believe what you want, the one fact I can’t get past is how this functionality has been in place for more than five years and only now people are up in arms about it after a single public incident. Take responsibility for yourself and learn how your device works. Turning off a device is the only true way to ensure it won’t “go off” during a concert, movie or performance and people should follow that advice instead.

To me, the fact this is news and a topic for discussion borders on the ridiculous.¬†Move along people…there’s nothing left to say here…