The iPad Orientation/Mute Switch Poll

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 6 weeks, I’m sure by now you are aware of Apple’s decision to change the function of that little switch located on the upper right hand side of the iPad, just above the volume switches.  It was doing fine and dandy as the tablet’s orientation switch, allowing you to lock the orientation of the iPad regardless of how the device is being held or propped up.

Well, with the release of iOS 4.2 to the iPad, comes a change that frankly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.  That switch now becomes a mute switch!  Hunh?  It’s not like we didn’t have that capability already – just hold down the ‘Volume Down’ button to achieve the same result.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not an earth shattering decision, but frankly, it is quite surprising coming from a company that prides itself in providing world class user experience.  They could have at least provided the user with an option to use the switch as they wish.

So I just don’t get it.  Maybe someone can explain Apple’s rationale to me in the comments section.  I haven’t seen or heard one person blog, tweet, or speak of their happiness with Apple’s decision.  If you do, please enlighten me as to why.

What do you think of Apple's decision to change the function of the orientation switch on the iPad?

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4 Responses to The iPad Orientation/Mute Switch Poll

  1. jay says:

    To accomodate future Face Time!

    • Gene says:

      Still – holding down the ‘Volume Down’ button takes, what, 5ms more time than flipping a switch?

      • Patrick Quinn-Graham says:

        Which only works if the device is unlocked and not, say, in a bag. Many of us have iPads that do make notifification sounds – e.g. push email, push notifications, that being able to silence is very very useful.

        Not least of all being able to toggle it the other way and have the volume back at the same level is something the “push and hold” method doesn’t allow.

        • Gene says:

          Fair enough Patrick. However, I still say that they should give you the choice. I, for one, would not have a need for a mute switch and do find the orientation switch quite useful. By the way, what have you done up until now in your particular situation? Is it that much of an inconvenience? Just curious.

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