Space is running out! Why didn’t Apple take off the iPhone mute button?

Recently, the “bangs” of the iPhone have become more and more unsightly, and the shortcomings of face unlocking have become more prominent in this special period. People with masks can’t unlock iPhone smoothly, so they miss the home button and fingerprint unlocking.

Now that Android phones have a variety of comprehensive screen solutions, Liu Haiping has become a unique feature of the iPhone, or one of the slots.

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Of course, the unique feature of the iPhone is not only this one, it also has an iconic design is the “mute button”. Even after experiencing the change of appearance ID and software upgrade, Apple still retains this independent switch button and becomes the unique family design of the iPhone.

In fact, whether it’s to save internal space or compare the cost of software replacement, Apple has every reason to cancel the mute button.

So why hasn’t Apple cancelled the iPhone’s mute button so far?

Features are easy to replace and experience is difficult to replicate

When the smartphone form was just mature, the mute button was a very eye-catching design on the iPhone. People can quickly set the mobile phone to a silent state during meetings and classes, and the operation of the toggle switch is very convenient.

The design of “one-button mute” is mainly to prevent accidental interruption of phone calls, text messages, and other apps. It is just a need on mobile phones.’

iPhone mute button

In contrast, Apple did not add a mute button to iPod touch. On the iPad, the earliest role of the “side switch” was to lock the screen rotation. Later, it began to support mute operations through software updates.

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Beginning with iPad Air 2, Apple gradually canceled the mute button (rotation lock) on the iPad and switched to the mute button (or do not disturb mode) in the control center.

There are many ways to implement mute operation on iPhone. For example, slide the volume slider in the control center, add a mute button to the small white dot (Assistive Touch), and press and hold the volume minus key (for media volume only).

In the latest iOS 13, clicking the volume button can also directly call out the volume slider for quick adjustment.

What is really difficult to replace is the “operational experience”. The physical switch can support blind operation, give certain feedback, and adapt to more usage scenarios, which is very important for silent operation. On devices that support Taptic Engine, the mobile phone also has vibration feedback for a smoother interactive experience.

Screen shape changes, mobile phone manufacturers start to operate on the keys

In addition to Apple, OnePlus has always insisted on physical three-stage switches, which is rare in the age of mobile phones.

Luo Yonghao also said at the press conference: “When removing a function on a mobile phone, you must make more functions available, otherwise there is no reason to remove it.”

On the nut phone (hammer phone), the “timed mute” function is used to replace the mute key. It can achieve one-button mute and solve the problem of “forget to turn off the mute switch” for many people. Learn less from Android vendors.

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Huawei Mate 30 Pro uses a surround screen design. The way to adjust the volume is to double-click the side to exhale the volume adjustment. Xiaomi MIX Alpha adopts a pressure-sensitive screen on the side, with a linear motor to simulate the touch of real keys. Vivo APEX 2019 uses a dual-sensor solution. A pressure sensor is used to sense the compression behavior. A capacitive sensor is used for precise positioning. The corresponding function can be achieved by pressing the corresponding area. The vivo NEX 3 also uses a similar solution.

Now adding independent buttons for a certain function has become a marketing tool for mobile phone manufacturers. Sony phones have a separate camera button, which can quickly start the camera and achieve a camera shutter-like experience; Xiaomi and Samsung have added a voice assistant button to the phone to quickly start Xiaoai classmates and Bixby; the Nut phone has a button specifically for the flash capsule , Quickly record ideas; Black Shark specifically sets a button for the game phone, one button to enter the game mode.

In fact, on the realization of functions, these physical buttons are not necessary. They can be replaced with gestures, floating balls, and shortcut switches. The focus is on the experience changes brought by physical buttons.

When Apple cancelled the physical home button, it also caused controversy. Many people gave a high evaluation after the actual experience, because Apple made the vibration feedback very real, the experience was not discounted, and the key life was also improved.

Face ID is uttered by people. One of the most important reasons is that it cannot replace fingerprint unlocking in some scenarios, such as blind operation when driving (it is not recommended to play with a mobile phone while driving), lying on the back with a mobile phone off, and placing the mobile phone Look at the notifications when you’re on the table, as well as the scene of wearing a mask recently.

Will iPhone unmute the key? Will the iPhone cancel the mute button in the future? There are two possible directions. The first is the change in the screen shape of the iPhone, such as curved screens and surround screens. You have to cancel the mute button, but at the speed of Apple’s design change, this change is far from now. Let ’s pray for Liu Haiping first.

The second direction is the change of software design. The volume management function of the iPhone is very simple and lacks unified interaction management. The future integration in this area must be the focus of the iOS update. At that time, it will be more convenient to provide a one-button mute function, and then cancel the physical mute switch.

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As for the reasons of saving internal space, waterproof design, etc., in fact, have been established in recent generations of iPhone. If Apple thinks it is necessary to cancel the mute button for this, it should already be “moving the knife”.

There are many issues to be considered behind the reduction of mobile phone keys. Even now that the form of smart phones has matured, we will still see unreasonable interaction changes, such as the inconsistency of the screen combination key combination, the shutdown button, and the voice assistant call-out conflict. To make the disappearance of keys easier to accept, we must find better solutions in interaction and experience.

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