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Apple turns iPad mute button into screen rotation lock

post #1 of 83
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Apple revealed a minor tweak to the iPad hardware when preorders began Friday morning, with a button previously designated for audio muting changed to a "screen rotation lock."

As first noticed by Jim Dalrymple at The Loop, the switch, located just above the volume controls on the right side of the device, is now devoted to locking the screen orientation in its current state. Previously, the switch was used to mute the iPad.

One of the features Apple has touted with the iPad is that it can be used from any orientation the user sees fit. The new feature will prevent users from having the screen rotate unexpectedly as they use the device while browsing the Web, reading an e-book, or accomplishing any other task on the 9.7-inch screen.

"There isn't even a single orientation," Jony Ive, senior vice president of design with Apple, said in the iPad's initial promotional video. "There's no up, there's no down, there's no right or wrong way of holding it. I don't have to change myself to fit the product. It fits me."

Like with the iPhone and iPod touch, the internal accelerometer of the iPad automatically adjusts the display to fit the orientation by which the user is holding the device. The iPad allows even more functionality than with the previous products, granting users the ability to turn the iPad completely upside down, with the home button up top, if they so choose.



Because the iPad has a focus on reading e-books and newspapers, many users will undoubtedly use the device as they would a physical book or newspaper -- objects that are sometimes read by users laying on their side. The screen rotation lock would prevent the device from shifting as a user moves around.

Additional physical inputs on the device are the on/off and sleep/wake button, volume up/down controls, and the home button.

Apple began accepting preorders for the iPad Friday morning. Purchases for the device, scheduled to ship April 3 for the Wi-Fi-only model, are limited to two per customer.
post #2 of 83
I prefer this, I hate it when I'm using my iPhone and it flips when I don't want it to.

Edit-
That is as long as they've implemented some way if you turn the volume all the way down it is muted.
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post #3 of 83
Thats going to be pretty handy.
post #4 of 83
Seems like a good thing to have - the lack of a rotation override is an infuriating omission on the iPhone.

But is it really necessary to have a hardware button for it? Don't get me wrong, I think that Apple's lack of hardware buttons on the iPhone is a distinct disadvantage. But given that the buttons are very few, is it really necessary to use a precious commodity for this sort of function?
post #5 of 83
Great idea. I just ordered mine ... Woooot!
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post #6 of 83
Handy, yes. In place of Mute switch? That's a little loopy, in my view.

So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless

--


Is there something I'm missing in regard to how this will make any difference? iPad can be held any which way, and every App (but not Keynote....) can be held in either Portrait or Landscape...Including the HOME Screen, which is a big feature.... so if I want to use the device only in Landscape... I just hold it that way. Holding it that way will automatically force every App I launch into Landscape.

The ONLY difference with Lock button, is that it won't rotate to Portrait, should I turn the device. Seems like a minor, minor feature, and doesn't belong replacing a useful hardware button.

Again, this button doesn't force your Apps into Portrait or Landscape any more so than simply Holding the device that way....
post #7 of 83
Smart!
post #8 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

...So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless

I'd be surprised if there wasn't a new way to mute the audio without having to turn the volume all the way down.
post #9 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Seems like a good thing to have - the lack of a rotation override is an infuriating omission on the iPhone.

But is it really necessary to have a hardware button for it? Don't get me wrong, I think that Apple's lack of hardware buttons on the iPhone is a distinct disadvantage. But given that the buttons are very few, is it really necessary to use a precious commodity for this sort of function?

It's good because often, in the middle of reading something I decide that I'd like to lock the screen that way. With this, it can be done instantly, without having to go to settings or some such software methodology.

But what would be better would be the ability to decide, using Settings, whether the button would be used for orientation or mute. Then you could change it back and forth as needs arose. As this is obviously a software defined button, that should be possible.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Handy, yes. In place of Mute switch? That's a little loopy, in my view.

So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless

--


Is there something I'm missing in regard to how this will make any difference? iPad can be held any which way, and every App (but not Keynote....) can be held in either Portrait or Landscape...Including the HOME Screen, which is a big feature.... so if I want to use the device only in Landscape... I just hold it that way. Holding it that way will automatically force every App I launch into Landscape.

The ONLY difference with Lock button, is that it won't rotate to Portrait, should I turn the device. Seems like a minor, minor feature, and doesn't belong replacing a useful hardware button.

Again, this button doesn't force your Apps into Portrait or Landscape any more so than simply Holding the device that way....

The mute switch is handy on the iphone because its a phone and switching into silent mode at the flick of a switch can be damn handy. Not so for the ipad.
post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

The ONLY difference with Lock button, is that it won't rotate to Portrait, should I turn the device. Seems like a minor, minor feature, and doesn't belong replacing a useful hardware button.

I appreciate what you're saying, but I don't agree. My iPod Touch is always flipping into landscape - especially in the iPod app, which is particularly annoying - when I don't want it to. One of the great features of the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad (I'm assuming) is the incredibly sensitive accelerometer; however, it doesn't come without certain sacrifices. I think something like this (the lock button) is a genius way to solve all problems and keep all benefits.

Just IMHO.
post #12 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Handy, yes. In place of Mute switch? That's a little loopy, in my view.

So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless

A couple points:
- It's not a phone, so there are fewer unexpected sounds. The only unexpected sounds would be push notifications, which can be set to not make any sound, so the need to mute isn't as great.
- The clock app doesn't appear to be included at this point in time and good third party alarm clock apps have their own independent volume settings. The app I use, Alarm Clock, allows you to set the volume of each alarm independently.
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post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

...But what would be better would be the ability to decide, using Settings, whether the button would be used for orientation or mute. Then you could change it back and forth as needs arose. As this is obviously a software defined button, that should be possible.

Hey, you never know. Maybe it will be.
post #14 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Handy, yes. In place of Mute switch? That's a little loopy, in my view.

It would have been nice to have both, but this is the better option. If this is to be used like a book or magazine, reading while on your side is likely.

I've always wanted the mute button toggle switch to also be a button that when pressed would bring up popover choices, like a brightness scrubber and airplane mode.
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post #15 of 83
I suppose they'll add some quick button for mute in the OS or maybe just require you to hold some button combination or something. Or just turn it down.

I find the rotation lock much more useful because it means you can use the device in any position whereas the iPhone tends to flip to the wrong orientation in some positions.
post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

The ONLY difference with Lock button, is that it won't rotate to Portrait, should I turn the device. Seems like a minor, minor feature, and doesn't belong replacing a useful hardware button.

Again, this button doesn't force your Apps into Portrait or Landscape any more so than simply Holding the device that way....

No.

What if are reading on your bed and want to turn on your side, what if you want to see a photo upside-down, etc etc.

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post #17 of 83
I like it. Kinda thin headline news isn't it though...?
post #18 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Handy, yes. In place of Mute switch? That's a little loopy, in my view.

So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless

Just out of curiosity, why do you want to turn of the sounds and still have an alarm clock going on an iPad ? I mean on a phone this is pretty obvious, but on an iPad ?
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post #19 of 83
Nice touch, they have been reading the forums, an orientation lock that's simple and easy to use was a must have.
post #20 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by shubidua View Post

Just out of curiosity, why do you want to turn of the sounds and still have an alarm clock going on an iPad ? I mean on a phone this is pretty obvious, but on an iPad ?

Push Notifications and emails come to mind.
post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefMagua View Post

I like it. Kinda thin headline news isn't it though...?

Vanishingly thin.
post #22 of 83
I hope the next gen iPhone gets this as well.. It really is a pain to use the iPhone if you're reading in bed on your side, or in the car, or running.. It's always flipping when I don't want it to.
post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless

Since there is no clock app, this won't matter.
post #24 of 83
It'd be nicer if there were a push button that brought up a foldover mini settings screen that is usable from within apps, including functions like mute, aspect lock, connectivity (wi-fi, bluetooth and aeroplane mode), and maybe a couple others.

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post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by andypullen View Post

Since there is no clock app, this won't matter.

I am sure this one clock app in the 100,000+ that work with the iPad.
post #26 of 83
Very useful feature. Mute is really only useful for phones since they have "vibrate" feature. On the iPad you can just turn the volume all the way down.
post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

It'd be nicer if there were a push button that brought up a foldover mini settings screen that is usable from within apps, including functions like mute, aspect lock, connectivity (wi-fi, bluetooth and aeroplane mode), and maybe a couple others.

That would be great.
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post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

So now I guess there is no way turn off sounds without lowering the volume? aka making the alarm clock useless...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the alarms work on the iPod and iPhone even if the volume is turned down completely - could swear it does mine.


Quote:
Originally Posted by iGenius View Post

Seems like a good thing to have - the lack of a rotation override is an infuriating omission on the iPhone.

not to discount your emotions, but "infuriating" seems a bit dramatic and an exageration. Annoying or frustrating, but to infuriate is to make extremely angry to the level of near or at violence. (sorry, just me nit-picking)
post #29 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskymac View Post

... What if are reading on your bed and want to turn on your side, what if you want to see a photo upside-down, etc etc.

Yes. This is the main reason.

The iPad is a couch device. It's not a coincidence that Steve Jobs demoed it while sitting on a couch. It's also aimed at low end users and lazier people to a certain extent. A lot of people will want to lay on the couch and read a magazine or a book and if they didn't have this switch, then the whole first week after the release would be filled with people commenting on how stupid Apple was for not having it.

It's a hardware switch because most people, especially those average non-geeky low end users that it's aimed at, never discover the settings application of want to dive in there and change anything. It's unreasonable to expect people to go into settings and change this back and forth all the time.

Think of all the so-called techies that post on this forum in the recent discussions about Bing, who were completely unaware that they could already change the default search provider, and that's right at the top of the first page of settings for Safari. Then think of your Mum using this thing and being annoyed at the rotation when she lies down on the couch or tries to read in bed.
post #30 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by solsun View Post

I hope the next gen iPhone gets this as well.. It really is a pain to use the iPhone if you're reading in bed on your side, or in the car, or running.. It's always flipping when I don't want it to.

It's already here, there's a rotation lock as part of SBSettings. I've been using it to great effect for a long time now. I just wish you could specify on an app by app basis (EI mail should never rotate). Reading in bed on your side is a perfect example of why a rotation lock is very needed.



Sheldon
post #31 of 83
I don't own an iphone, so I can't say this with 100% certainty, but I would think you can set up custom profiles that assign any sound (or mute) to each and every notification type?

I think the rotation lock is a very useful feature (much more useful than mute).

All phones and PDAs I use are always set to either off (at night) or vibrate (during the day). I find it an annoying and unnecessary fact of life that there are still people who have audible rings going off all over the place.

I just ordered an iPad this morning, now the wait begins ...
post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the alarms work on the iPod and iPhone even if the volume is turned down completely - could swear it does mine.

No, they do not. If your phone on silent, they come through anyway. If your "volume" is at zero, then no they don't

But, the point is moot because there is no Clock app, which I didn't realize before.

-----

A lot of people responding don't seem to get it at all. No, there is no Audio difference between the iPhone and iPad that justifies this decision. What about the iPod touch? Does it have a silent ringer switch, even though it has 3 less sounds than the iPhone? (sms, ringtone, voicemail) Yep.

I'm not saying this isn't a great new feature! Of course it is! We need it on the the iPhone as well.

But to replace the exterior mute button? Stupidity.
post #33 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the alarms work on the iPod and iPhone even if the volume is turned down completely - could swear it does mine.




not to discount your emotions, but "infuriating" seems a bit dramatic and an exageration. Annoying or frustrating, but to infuriate is to make extremely angry to the level of near or at violence. (sorry, just me nit-picking)

It does border on infuriating at times, especially when reading news whole lying down. Sometimes it even gets a bit of a spin going. Worse is when it then won't go back and gets stuck.

I seriously hope this becomes an option for the iPhone as well.
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post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by stokessd View Post

It's already here, there's a rotation lock as part of SBSettings. I've been using it to great effect for a long time now. I just wish you could specify on an app by app basis (EI mail should never rotate). Reading in bed on your side is a perfect example of why a rotation lock is very needed.



Sheldon

Really?!?! Never knew this, finding it now.......
post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefMagua View Post

I like it. Kinda thin headline news isn't it though...?

It is thin, but it shows that Apple has continued to make improvements since the introduction.
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

No, they do not. If your phone on silent, they come through anyway. If your "volume" is at zero, then no they don't

But, the point is moot because there is no Clock app, which I didn't realize before.

-----

A lot of people responding don't seem to get it at all. No, there is no Audio difference between the iPhone and iPad that justifies this decision. What about the iPod touch? Does it have a silent ringer switch, even though it has 3 less sounds than the iPhone? (sms, ringtone, voicemail) Yep.

I'm not saying this isn't a great new feature! Of course it is! We need it on the the iPhone as well.

But to replace the exterior mute button? Stupidity.

I think it's a good place for it. It would be nice if apps would implement this themselves. Some do. Stanza should, but they don't as far as I can tell.
post #37 of 83
OMG why did they do this? I loved the iPad and was gonna get THREE but this is a total deal breaker!

OMG this is GREAT! Before this, I hated the iPad in every way imaginable... now I need THREE!

Just wanted to get both arguments out of the way...
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post #38 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

Very useful feature. Mute is really only useful for phones since they have "vibrate" feature. On the iPad you can just turn the volume all the way down.

This change so late in game makes me think reading in bed on your side wasn't even considered until someone at Apple actually tried this and realized it was an issue.
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post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

No, they do not. If your phone on silent, they come through anyway. If your "volume" is at zero, then no they don't

But, the point is moot because there is no Clock app, which I didn't realize before.

-----

A lot of people responding don't seem to get it at all. No, there is no Audio difference between the iPhone and iPad that justifies this decision. What about the iPod touch? Does it have a silent ringer switch, even though it has 3 less sounds than the iPhone? (sms, ringtone, voicemail) Yep.

I'm not saying this isn't a great new feature! Of course it is! We need it on the the iPhone as well.

But to replace the exterior mute button? Stupidity.

The iPod touch has it because the iPhone has it, not because the iPod touch needs it. A mute button is nice to have, but it is far from a requirement, and if I had to choose one on the iPad, I would take the screen orientation lock.
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post #40 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

OMG why did they do this? I loved the iPad and was gonna get THREE but this is a total deal breaker!

OMG this is GREAT! Before this, I hated the iPad in every way imaginable... now I need THREE!

Just wanted to get both arguments out of the way...

But: I'm only allowed to pre-order TWO, rats. Now I won't even get ONE - See, I showed YOU, Apple
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