TagiPad

Even Apple Oopsie

My colleague and I encountered an interesting little ‘oopsie’ in the iPad 2 today. To briefly introduce the idea for those unfamiliar, the iPad has a small switch next to the volume control which, when the device was first released, worked as a rotation lock. If enabled, the iPad would stay at the same orientation no matter how you held it. In a subsequent patch this was changed first to a mute switch, whose purpose was fairly self-explanatory and then to either a rotation lock or mute switch depending on user preference.

Which is why when we looked to one of our apps which was being peculiarly silent the first thing we did was try and unmute the device with the switch. It was set to rotation toggle, so we rejected that as an idea. It was a strange problem though, not even the volume control worked in-app.

We found that in some apps the volume control was available, in others it wasn’t. Oddly, the volume control was available only in apps that didn’t make any sound.

The result was unexpected. The device had been muted with the mute switch and then the switch’s function had been changed to rotation lock in settings and voila, we couldn’t unmute the device because we had no mute switch.

So if you’re having trouble even getting the volume controls to respond in an app or seeing a ‘No volume available’ message from an MPVolumeController then you might want to investigate the mute switch. It’s a gotcha.

Unpleasant Surprise

When I got the iPad 2 I have to admit I never thought of it as a camera. The camera in the iPhone makes sense, at least in the sense of the old saying “the best camera is the one you have with you”. It’s no match for an SLR with proper glass attached but it’s a crisp 5MP camera with one of the easiest interfaces I’ve seen on a phone camera. I’m expecting to see touch to focus and expose on dSlRs in future.

The iPad 2 camera, though, feels very like a phone camera from the late 90s. It’s a grainy sub-megapixel feeling camera with a huge digital noise problem. I know they put the camera in there for FaceTime and the front camera being bad at stills makes sense but with the luxury price tag on the hardware could they really not run to a better camera?

It’s a little bit of an unpleasant surprise to snap a photo on the iPad 2 and see the result. It does not mesh with the image Apple have tried so hard and succeeded so well in attaching to the device. It might not be a part of the device’s core functionality but it’s like an off-colour body part replacement on a super car. It’s like a cassette radio deck in the centre console of your BMW M3. It doesn’t fit the image, even if it isn’t what you bought the car for.

First!

Technically that is only true in that this is my first post from my shiny new iPad 2. It is not my first post and I am far from the first iPad 2 owner. It is rather neat though.

Hopefully more on that later, but I am due down the pub in a few minutes.

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