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Jobs: no plans to give iPad a mute/orientation toggle

updated 09:00 pm EDT, Sat October 23, 2010

Jobs says mute on iPad here to stay

Apple chief Steve Jobs took the time in a response Saturday to lay to rest hopes that his company might reverse the decision to change the iPad's orientation lock to a mute switch. He confirmed that it would stay a mute switch with a direct "yep." He likewise answered the 9to5 reader's question about the possibility of a toggle to switch it back and forth, giving a simple "nope" in reply.

The iPad was introduced in January having the side-mounted switch as a mute toggle to start, but it initially shipped in April as an orientation lock for then-unknown reasons. The launch of iOS 4 and plans to bring it to the iPad this November let Apple change it back by putting the option in the multitasking drawer. iPhones have always had their side switch cued to mute.

by MacNN Staff





  1. TheBum

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What's the big deal?

    Once iOS 4.2 comes out, the iPad will get the same orientation lock that the iPhone has now. It's only a double-click and a swipe away.

  1. MyRightEye

    Joined: Dec 1969



    For someone so freaking bright, he can be so freaking stupid at times.

    If you want mute, you just push and hold the volume down button.


  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good. Keep everything as consistent as

    possible from one iOS device to another. No need in becoming another Android where every vendors and carriers handsets' user interface has to be unique.

  1. SwissMac

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Steve, you're just wrong on this one

    Anyone who uses their iPad in work situations with clients (or patients) will tell you having the orientation constantly swinging from vertical to horizontal and back again every few seconds is not good, and that a software switch to stop this happening is nowhere near as good as a hardware one.

    I often need to lock the orientation to show a few pages, then need to quickly switch back to the other orientation to show other features of the software. Apps where changing the orientation changes the data viewable include:

    WeatherPro HD

    There are others too. Just viewing internet pages in Safari on iPad can be disconcerting if they suddently reformat themselves because you lean slightly more towards the person you are presenting the information to...

    Anyhow, since I never play music on my iPad (why would I need to? I have an iPhone for that!) then why on earth do I need a mute button?

    Absolutely bizarre decision. I suppose it's the medication he's on though, poor man; it must be affecting his judgement.

  1. msuper69

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I don't understand this decision at all. Thumbs down Steve.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Never used it

    Until now i never had to use the lock button, maybe there are some apps that need this feature but that's more bad coding than a real necessity. I do struggle almost daily with the volume up-down buttons, i want to lower the sound but after half a second it jumps to mute. Maybe Steven is right on this one, personally i don't care, both options are OK with me.

  1. notagain

    Joined: Dec 1969


    volume rocker is not a mute

    u can rock the volume down one step at a time or hold the rocker down until the volume is at zero. a mute button leaves the volume at current setting but prevents it from going to the speaker.
    i like the hardware orientation but maybe the software version will be easy too.

  1. lamewing

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Mute is okay with me, but ...

    I agree that it should be a mute switch so that it would match the other iOS devices. That is fine. What bothers me to no end is how Jobs always comes off as an a**. "Nope" "Yep" I really hate is terse, cryptic answers. How about a short and reasonable explanation instead of playing Zen Master once in a while?

  1. sharien

    Joined: Dec 1969


    FaceTime probably to blame

    I love the switch the way it is now. I seem to recall they were very proud of this switch and prominently listed it as a feature of the iPad when it came out. How times change in 8 short months.

    It doesn't need to be absolutely consistent with the iPhone unless you believe that the iPad is just a large iPhone. I have had both products since they were introduced and I have never, ever confused the two switches despite using them both pretty heavily. You learn which is which the first day you get your device and you never think about it again. I probably use the rotation lock switch at least 5-10 times a day. I've probably used the mute toggle on iPad 5-10 times since I got it 7 months ago.

    I think this more about Apple selling FaceTime everywhere they can. Since the tablet is about to become a large videophone, they need a way for you to keep it quiet. That's great, but I already have a phone for that, and I'm wondering why I have to suffer poorer usability on my iPad to accommodate a feature I'll never use (because again, I already have a phone that's better suited to that).

    And make no mistake, having to stop what you're doing and 'click-click, slide, tap, tap" is definitely a big step back from just "feel and slide", especially to do something as fundamental as lock down the screen orientation.

    And I'm frankly stunned that we won't even be given the option to select which function the switch should perform, even though these devices tend to be tied to particular users. Sorry Steve, but I think I know my display rotation and device-muting needs just a little bit better than you do. IMHO your choices on interface reveal that you don't consider the iPad much of a work device either, or you'd see the need for an easy to access rotation switch. Consuming content is apparently all I'm supposed to do on it I guess.

    Just another indication that Apple isn't interested in building a consistent modern interface for pros and semi-pros anymore, it's just about whatever shiny gizmo they can strap on to sell to the lowest-common denominator consumer. It's not about creating the best Mac and iPhone possible for their customers, it's about building the best platform for Apple to sell you stuff.

  1. daqman

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Another vote for orientation lock

    I have to agree with sharien that this is one aspect of the UI that should be a user choice. I am running iOS 4.2 on my iPad now (developer) and it is a real pain after almost seven months to have the orientation lock hidden behind a click swipe and tap instead of just sliding the hardware switch. I've hardly ever turned on the sound on my iPad. What I do a lot though is get comfortable and it is a pain to have the screen orientation switch. Other people's mileage may differ and THAT is why the meaning of this slider should be a choice.

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