Admittedly, tech companies apply for lots and lots of patents, but the latest patent granted to Apple made us stand up and applaud.
Patent 8,254,902 is headed "apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device". There's a lot of very technical language in the patent abstract but the basic new functionality is "policy enforcement" for devices. So if a device is used within a certain vicinity, certain features may be disabled or enabled. Specific mention is made within the abstract of academic settings and, yes, movie theaters.
Many more patents are issued than are ever actually used, and Apple has their share of unused patents, but it could be the beginning of an exciting age for moviegoers. Of course, we don't allow texting and phone use in our auditoriums, but most non-Alamo theaters have a hands-off approach to digital distractions during movies, and there have even been proposals in certain desperate quarters to actually allow mobile device use in theaters (this proposal belongs in the Bad Idea Hall Of Fame).
We have always strongly disapproved of phone use in theaters and we are very optimistic about this technology. Apple is one of our favorite companies and we hope this technology gets off the ground soon.
In the meantime, if you want a sneak preview of what it's like to watch a movie without being bothered by talking and texting, come see a movie with us. We don't put up with it at all.
Thanks to Engadget for the heads-up.