The Whole iPhones and Alarms and Muting Thing

It started out as a cultural thing (I first saw it on Metafilter) – man doesn’t mute phone during a performance of the New York Philharmonic. But after the offender’s explanation appeared in the New York Times

Actually, 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.

…it changed gears into a philosophical discussion on Apple’s design philosophy and all the Apple guys started talking about it:

Ben Brooks

But one thing I haven’t seen is any confusion over Patron X’s explanation. How do you accidentally set an alarm on your iPhone?

  1. Launch Clock app
  2. Touch Alarm tab
  3. Touch + button to add an alarm
  4. Twirl the time settings appropriately
  5. Touch the Save button


  1. Explicitly tell Siri to set an alarm for that specific time

Neither of those scenarios sound especially plausible to me. I can totally believe that Patron X thought the mute switch would silence an alarm, but I have a hard time believing he accidentally set an alarm for the middle of the performance. Some other possibilities:

  1. He set the alarm on purpose and forgot about it. This doesn’t seem likely if he had purchased his tickets in advance, because he just got the phone so he’d know he would be at the concert, but maybe he got the tickets as a last minute thing from a buddy or coworker. Still seems like a weird time to be setting an alarm for.
  2. He forgot to set his phone to mute, he got a phone call, and he’s lying to save face.

I’m honestly not trying to accuse Patron X of anything here or trying to make him look worse than he already does, but something about the story doesn’t add up for me.

As an aside, I think I agree with Apple’s choice here. I don’t use my iPhone as an alarm clock (luddite), but if I did I’d hate for things to be different – I accidentally leave my iPhone muted at night all the time. My wife purposely mutes her iPhone at night – she has all the sounds for new email and the like enabled – so she’d be happy too.

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