Apple turns iPad mute button into screen rotation lock

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 82
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 82
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,560member
    Thats going to be pretty handy.
  • Reply 3 of 82
    igeniusigenius Posts: 1,240member
    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?
  • Reply 4 of 82
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,512member
    Great idea. I just ordered mine ... Woooot!
  • Reply 5 of 82
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    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....
  • Reply 6 of 82
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,741member
    Smart!
  • Reply 7 of 82
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,244member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 82
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,850member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 82
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,560member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 82
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 82
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,244member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 82
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 82
    I like it. Kinda thin headline news isn't it though...?
  • Reply 17 of 82
    shubiduashubidua Posts: 157member
    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 ?
  • Reply 18 of 82
    myapplelovemyapplelove Posts: 1,515member
    Nice touch, they have been reading the forums, an orientation lock that's simple and easy to use was a must have.
  • Reply 19 of 82
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 82
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ChiefMagua View Post


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



    Vanishingly thin.
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