iPhone Alarm Halts New York Philharmonic Performance

iPhone Alarm Halts New York Philharmonic Performance

We’ve likely all been at a movie or concert when someone’s phone went off, disrupting the experience – but have you ever seen a performance halted by such a disruption? An iPhone alarm actually halted the New York Philharmonic during a critical section of a recent performance.

The New York Times reports:

The unmistakably jarring sound of an iPhone marimba ring interrupted the soft and spiritual final measures of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 at the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night. The conductor, Alan Gilbert, did something almost unheard-of in a concert hall: He stopped the performance. But the ringing kept on going, prompting increasingly angry shouts in the audience directed at the malefactor.

After words from Mr. Gilbert, and what seemed like weeks, the cellphone owner finally silenced his device. After the audience cheered, the concert resumed. Internet vitriol ensued.

Apparently the owner of the device felt the worst of all about the disruption, however. The un-named disrupter had just gotten his first iPhone, and had put his phone on silent, unaware that he’d set the alarm – or that it could sound with the device on silent:

Patron X said he had no idea he was the culprit. He said his company replaced his BlackBerry with an iPhone the day before the concert. He said he made sure to turn it off before the concert, not realizing that the alarm clock had accidentally been set and would sound even if the phone was in silent mode. “I didn’t even know phones came with alarms,” the man said.

Debates have ensued across Twitter and other venues over the nature of the iPhone’s silent switch, and whether an iPhone should still sound an alarm even when it is set to silent mode, with some suggesting that many would want alarms to disrupt them, such as waking them up in the morning if they forget to take their phones off silent, but others argue that most would expect that silent mode should mean just that: silence, in all scenarios.

The incident happened during one of the most significant moments in the performance, which is especially unfortunate, but it does raise some questions. Who is to blame? Should the unnamed disrupter have turned his iPhone completely off? Should he have expected the alarm to go off?

The disruptor has since apologized, and I’m suspending judgement on this, but what are your thoughts?