Apple Changes iPad Mute Switch to Lock Screen Orientation

iPad owners will apparently be able to lock the position of content on the screen, according to new images of the device posted today on Apple’s online store. The external switch originally shown to ‘mute’ the device, as on the iPhone, will instead be used to lock the screen orientation preventing the display from switching between portrait and landscape views. The subtle change was very quiet with no known announcement from Apple regarding the reasoning behind favoring screen rotation locking over muting the built-in speaker.

Here are before and after images…

 

iPad spec with Mute switchiPad spec with 'screen rotation lock' switch

Perhaps Apple’s more recent testing uncovered situations where a user may be reading a book at an angle or drawing in an application, such as Brushes, and the device’s ability to rotate the display was becoming interruptive and irritating. Apple may have also considered that the size of the device means it will not be as often brought into potentially disruptive situations, such as a movie theater, and the absence of phone calling capabilities negates being caught off guard by a surprise call from Aunt Betsy while in the middle of a meeting.

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