True to their word, Apple released the latest version of their iOS operating system this week just in time to meet their November deadline but it seems not everyone is happy with the changes the update brings to the iPad.
Having used my updated iPad pretty heavily over the past few days I’m impressed at how much of a difference the addition of multi-tasking makes to the device.
As I’ve said before, my iPhone use has dropped significantly since my iPad arrived so I’ve scarcely used multi-tasking on the phone and consequently was under-prepared for just how much of a difference it’d make both to the device and how I used it.
Dropping the need to close an active app, return to the home screen and open another app in favour of switching between apps is a huge improvement which makes the iPad feel a lot more rounded and powerful.
And the addition of the ‘control panel’ bar is especially welcome for the brightness controls it brings. Before the update it was always a pain to leave an app and adjust the screen brightness as needs changed, now I can tweak the setting within each app to provide the optimum setting for whatever I’m doing at any particular moment.
Other changes include the addition of folders for apps and a unified inbox for email but, as alluded to in the title, there’s another change which is proving surprisingly controversial: the re-purposing of the screen lock switch into a mute switch.
When the iPad first launched a not very robust switch could be toggled to lock the screen in the current orientation – this is fairly handy because the iPad can be fairly sensitive in switching orientations.
Post-update screen orientation is set via an icon on the ‘control panel’ bar which is accessed by double-clicking the home button and swiping left on the screen.
True, the change requires people to change how they lock the screen orientation but it’s an easy learn and sounds a lot more complex and time consuming than it is – it takes a second or two and then you can get back to doing whatever it is you were doing
However, as is always the case with any change, there are some resisters who oppose the change.
Firstly there are those who seem to wilfully misunderstand that the ‘mute’ button silences system sounds and so, despite their assertions otherwise, doesn’t provide the same function as turning the sound down.
Then there are those who insist locking the screen orientation is something they do tens of times a day and that the software setting now needed to accomplish this vital task takes “at least five seconds”.
And finally, there’s a group so upset that they plan to punish Apple by not updating to the latest version – skipping all the other goodies – until Steve Jobs personally reverses the change and issues “a fix”.
(Actually, there’s a subset of this group – those who plan to ‘jailbreak’ their iPads so they can change the button back.)
The most bizarre thing is the level of vitriol which people can summon up for something of such little consequence – if you doubt me have a look at Apple’s discussion forums where this trivial issue has spawned a 24 page thread.
Sure, it’s peculiar that Apple released the iPad without having iOS 4 ready for it and it’s understandable some people are unhappy at having to relearn how to use a device they now feel comfortable with. But the levels of anger are breathtaking.
Just imagine how the same people will react when Jobs unveils iPad 2 next year removing the ‘latest model’ label from their precious tablets….
Twitter users – follow @seenituk for more comment, news and observations.