Apple always knows best, except when it doesn’t
The Mac blogs are not very happy with a seemingly minor decision Apple has made concerning the iPad: changing the function of the ‘orientation’ button on the iPad. With the launch of iOS 4.2, the important update that will bring multitasking and folders to the tablet, the ‘orientation’ button which holds the display in portrait or landscape mode will become a ‘mute’ switch, just as it is on iPods and the iPhone.
This is a great example of a company making a move without actually having a clue how its customers are using its product. The iPad is a media consumption device, but in this case, more of a movie and publishing consumption device than a music device (like the iPod or iPhone). Because of this, users want to lock their screens (often to landscape) so that when they are moving the display doesn’t jump back and forth between portrait and landscape.
It may seem like a minor thing, but most Apple owners are used to the company creating user friendly products, not acting like Microsoft (“we know better”).