iPad orientation switch predicament – A defense

Apple seems to really want everything to just work. Many sites have confirmed that iPad iOS 4.2 will change the lock orientation switch on the side of the device into a silencer, the equivalent of the iPhone’s ringer switch.

When I first tried the iOS 4.2 beta, I had thought that the side switch as a ringer had been temporary issue that was just of the adapted iPhone iOS. I tried double clicking the home button to get the bottom HUD-like bar to slide up.

If you’re wondering, look at the screenshot. The iPad appears to lock in the particular orientation. Unlike the iPhone’s lock button, the iPad can lock in both portrait and landscape; expected behavior for the iPad.

The paradox became apparent when the physical side switch was taken account of. If user decided to lock the orientation using the side switch and then unlock using the HUD icon, the physical switch would stay in the orange “locked” position.

Apple is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they changed the side switch to a silencer, the feature savvy users would cause an uproar (they already have). These users would see the change as a lose of a useful feature. On the other hand, if Apple did not change the side switch’s function, ordinary customers would be left to wonder. Users would be confused by how they might lock the orientation using the HUD toggle and why the physical switch was not “locked”. Apple made to economical choice, eliminating future upset users. Do you see a way out of this dilemma?

Note that Apple has fixed this in iOS 4.3 as explained here.

Anson Liu