Anyone who has gone to the movies with a smartwatch on their wrist knows the shame that inevitably comes with every unintentional arm movement or poorly-timed notification chime. Apple must relate, as the change log for watchOS 3.2 released by the company mentions a new feature that should come in handy: Theater Mode.
According to the notes, Theater Mode mutes all sound and deactivates waking the watch on wrist raise. Users will still receive notifications via haptic feedback, though they will have to tap the screen or press the Digital Crown to view them. The description actually mentions the feature was introduced in watchOS 3.1.3, though as MacRumors points out, 3.1.3 was released Tuesday with no sign of it.
Additionally, watchOS 3.2 brings SiriKit, which will allow third-party apps to properly integrate with Siri on Apple Watch like they can on iOS. After the update, developers will be able to employ Siri to manage requests related to messaging, payments, ride booking, workouts, calling, and photo searches.
Previously, Theater Mode was tipped to make it to iPhone and iPad, not Apple Watch. According to tweets late last month from Apple leaker Sonny Dickson, the feature would be housed in the Control Center and adorned with a popcorn icon. It was rumored to come packaged with the 10.3 release, though the first beta of 10.3 was also distributed Tuesday and lacked Theater Mode.
There is no official indication what Theater Mode might entail on iOS — or if it’s coming at all — but many expected it to duplicate or combine preexisting features, like Night Shift and Do Not Disturb. Many iOS users are probably familiar with Night Shift by now, a feature introduced in iOS 9 which tints the display warmer to be less harsh on the eyes in dark environments, and ideally leads to a better night’s sleep. Do Not Disturb, which has been around for quite a while longer, silences notifications when you’re not looking at your device. Both can be scheduled to automatically activate during select times of the day, and many suspected Theater Mode might merge these functions.
Apple hasn’t announced a public or developer release date for watchOS 3.2 yet, though 3.1.3, a security update, released Tuesday.
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