iPad Screen Lock vs. Mute

While I was out of town for Thanksgiving Apple released the much anticipated iOS 4.2 upgrade, which adds several important features to the iPad like multitasking and folders. Perhaps the most controversial thing about the iPad upgrade is that Apple changed the function of the screen orientation lock switch to a sound mute switch, which I agree is a curious change for the iPad.

Having a mute button on a phone makes sense because you never know when someone is going to call, causing the phone to possibly ring at a bad time. However, my iPad rarely makes noise unless I want it to, such as when I am playing Angry Birds, and even then I can mute the sound. I really don’t see the need for a mute button on the iPad beyond being consistent with the iPhone.

To lock the screen in its current orientation you press the home button twice, then swipe right on the app task bar to display the buttons shown in the screen shot above, then tap the screen lock button on the far left. While there is a way to restore the screen lock functionality to what is the now the mute switch, it requires jailbreaking the iPad to use. Personally, I think I can live with the new way to lock the screen even though I would have preferred that Apple kept the original lock switch functionality.