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Music is meant to be heard… except when it’s not

Macworld's editors have been posting their iPhone “wish lists” over at iPhone Central this week. They’ve had some good points and some bad ones, but it makes for interesting reading. This morning's list was with regard iPhone's iPod features, and one of their qualms struck a chord with me:

Silent mode should mute speaker output (3): If you flip the iPhone's Ring/Silent switch to Silent, you would expect the phone to be, well, silent. Yet if you play media (purposely or accidentally) without any headphones connected, the audio still plays back through the iPhone's speaker. A friend of mine discovered this the hard way when she let her nephew play with her new iPhone--in Silent mode--during a church service. "SexyBack" wasn't on the program that day, but it was heard.

Cute story, huh? Actually though, I too have been bitten by this particular issue. I was working at my desk while listening to music via the headphones, and a call came in. iPhone automatically faded then paused the music, and I unplugged the headphones to take the call (I know that this is not necessary, but I feel weird talking into my headphones). When finished, I ended the call and set iPhone aside for a moment. Much to my dismay, my music then faded back in and played out loud via the external speakers. Oops. I scrambled to make iPhone be quiet, while looking around sheepishly at my office-mates. Thanks, Apple.

Update: a full list of the wish lists is now available.

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  • Purpose: user-interface critique (ranting), among other things.
  • Justification: I use things; I have opinions; I have a blog.