iPad orientation lock becomes mute switch in iOS 4.2

Apple has made a change in the behavior of the iPad’s hardware under iOS 4.2, repurposing the device’s right-side orientation lock switch as a mute/unmute switch. Users of the updated software can now lock the device’s screen orientation via a software button in the far left pane of the Multitasking drawer, where it sits alongside audio playback controls and a brightness adjustment slider, similar to the layout of options in iOS 4.0 and 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch. Notably, the feature change is present in the first beta version of iOS 4.2, but could be reversed by the time of the update’s public release. Apple originally touted the iPad’s right side switch as a mute/unmute toggle, but changed its functionality to a screen orientation lock prior to the device’s release.

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