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Opinion: App makers should get some volume button access

#1 User is offline   Macworld 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 06:36 AM

Post your comments for Opinion: App makers should get some volume button access here
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#2 User is offline   archtoday 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 06:58 AM

Is the mute switch on the list of reserved buttons? (You didn't list it at the top.)
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#3 User is offline   hagen 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:03 AM

hmmm. and how would you define such 'occasional' or 'narrow use case'? You'd always have missed a great deal of ideas let alone use cases, so you'd always be in this exact situation.

And how many customer suggests/requests should it require to change an interface?

You can't answer either question, so Apple has decided on their position.

'Pleasing the few' always seems to forget the true majority of users.
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#4 User is offline   lawrance 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:13 AM

Would the camera app be cool to have a physical button? Yes. But I have to agree with Marco's opinion that the overall protection of user experience is well worth the price of denying a few cool apps.
The day Micro$oft makes something that doesn't suck is the day they start making vacuum cleaners.
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#5 User is offline   warprince 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:13 AM

Seems reasonable. Until you have 10 frequently used apps you've granted access to the volume buttons to work for reasons other than change the volume.

Then, not only is it confusing, but it is now a case where the volume of the device can only be switched from the home screen, for fear of accessing some other feature you may have enabled "that one time last month"

Remember that by its very nature, the iPhone is a multitasking device. That is, it can ring at any moment. Should I have to quit the app I'm in to lower the volume of my phone when I get into a quiet area? I doubt it.

That being said, now that the volume buttons are separate, perhaps pressing both simultaneously (easier to do than it sounds) could be used as a shutter, just as home+power is used for screenshots. Just a half baked thought, but still better than repurposing necessary buttons.
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#6 User is offline   LexFriedman 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:14 AM

View Postarchtoday, on 16 August 2010 - 06:58 AM, said:

Is the mute switch on the list of reserved buttons? (You didn't list it at the top.)


Indeed it is. You can't repurpose it.

Hagen wrote:
hmmm. and how would you define such 'occasional' or 'narrow use case'? ... You can't answer either question.


No, that one I can answer. I think that this has to be a case-by-case call. In the unique situation of "photography apps, at the time of taking pictures," I think Apple should allow reuse of volume buttons as shutter controls. I'm asking for nothing else with this request; that's the full extent. If it's an app that doesn't take pictures, no reuse. If it's an app that takes pictures but you're in photo editing/sharing/captioning mode, no reuse. But in the moment when a picture is being taken, with the live camera preview on display, the buttons should be allowed to be repurposed for the explicit purpose of snapping the photo.

This post has been edited by LexFriedman: 16 August 2010 - 07:25 AM


#7 User is offline   bcode 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:30 AM

The issue, of course, is then - what do you do for volume? You're sitting in a library taking photos of your cute GF/BF when you get a phone call and want to turn down your phone... no volume controls.

You're initial thought is, "well, you still have the mute switch" - but if we're going to allow people to repurpose one button, we'll have to allow everyone to repurpose all buttons, so now we have an app that has taken over all the outer buttons and you can't sleep or mute your phone.

I realize this is a worst case scenario, but I assure you, it's just the type of conversation that left us with the current restrictions regarding external buttons.
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#8 User is offline   bjojade 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 07:59 AM

I can't believe that there isn't a camera button of some sort to start with. When an app is in camera mode, ready to take a picture, the volume button should be, by default, the shutter button. It's goofy to have to tap the screen to take a picture ever. It's the one feature of the camera I always found backwards.
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#9 User is offline   RobMiraclesife 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:03 AM

Its that edge case that Apple is protecting against: Music playing at the same time. How do you elegantly share that button?

I got Camera+ before it was taken down and I have to admit, I prefer using the volume button to the on screen button. Hopefully Apple and Tap Tap Tap can solve this.
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#10 User is offline   GordLacey 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 08:25 AM

I'm often confused by the volume buttons, but it's Apple's doing. Sometimes when I press them it changes the volume of my music, other times it's the ringer, and sometimes it's the headphones. Some apps (games) I'm running are changing the ringer volume, and not the volume of the game I'm playing - why?

Why can't Apple allow us to change the volume of each item in a menu? Why should I have to plug my headphones in to change the headphones volume? It's extremely annoying the way it currently is.
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#11 User is offline   simon_w 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:39 AM

You do know the mute switch doesn't effect music's volume, so that suggestion is pointless?
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#12 User is offline   LexFriedman 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:14 PM

The volume button also doesn't take pictures, Simon. I'm suggesting multiple changes.

#13 User is offline   doglesby 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:45 PM

I'm still hung up on this one. "The theory is that tapping those hardware buttons is less likely to jostle the iPhone at the moment you snap the picture."

How is depressing a hardware button less likely to jostle the phone than tapping a software button?

If people want a hardware button, Tap Tap Tap should sell a hardware button. Connect over Bluetooth or use the dock connector. Clip it onto the phone, or keep it separate so you actually don't move the camera when you're taking a picture. Sell licenses to other developers who want a hardware button to trigger an action.

Leave the volume buttons for controlling volume. That's the only reason the new multi-tasking playback controls are acceptable, you always have instant access to volume control--unless some jackass reprograms them.

And simon_w is correct, the silent ringer switch doesn't mute audio. Anyone who owns an iPhone knows that.
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#14 User is offline   Johnno 

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 03:37 PM

View Postbjojade, on 16 August 2010 - 07:59 AM, said:

I can't believe that there isn't a camera button of some sort to start with. When an app is in camera mode, ready to take a picture, the volume button should be, by default, the shutter button. It's goofy to have to tap the screen to take a picture ever. It's the one feature of the camera I always found backwards.


I wholly agree. Every recent cellphone I've owned (except for one) repurposes the volume buttons to operate the camera shutter, in one case pressing both together automatically launched the camera mode. Contextual function is normal and easy to use when reasonably constrained to a few key functions. I think Apple goofed on this one. A software shutter may have been a good marketing ploy 3 years ago, but reality must creap in what good is an excellent photo quality if you struggle to get the shot due to a software limitation.

The buttons already have a variety of purposes. Users, already understand the concept of context sensitive functionality -the software should be able to cope with: answering calls =volume buttons, using camera =shutter, phone rings, call answered =volume again. If developers are not to be permitted to repurpose the hardware buttons, APPLE SHOULD ADD this functionality into the next IOS update, i.e., choose a hardware button and give it to the shutter when in camera modes. PLEASE HEAR our plea APPLE ENGINEERING GODS.

I have funny electricity in my hand's skin and it is quite common to struggle to get the screen taps to trigger anything - somedays. Dry skin/dehydrated, imbalanced electrolytes I don't know the cause, but the frustration would sky-rocket if I was madly tapping the screen to take photos, and failing, or getting random severely blurred photos and missed moments. A hardware shutter would solve this.

But then perhaps Apple went cheap on the buttons and the button design life is only 50,000 depressions- some photo-buffs I know of have taken 70,0000 iphone photos, so solving the hardware shortcomings means no hardware shutter perhaps?? Prove me wrong Steve, implement this basic option in the next OS update!!!
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