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Gruber on the mute switch and the recent Mahler’s 9th iPhone stupidity:

I think the current behavior of the iPhone mute switch is correct. You can’t design around every single edge case, and a new iPhone user who makes the reasonable but mistaken assumption that the mute switch silences everything, with an alarm set that he wasn’t aware of, and who is sitting in the front row of the New York Philharmonic when the accidental alarm goes off, is a pretty good example of an edge case.

Whereas if the mute switch silenced everything, there’d be thousands of people oversleeping every single day because they went to bed the night before unaware that the phone was still in silent mode.

This is an excellent point but there is one further point that needs to be made here.

I have been to many venues and acted in shows where the announcement prior to the show states very specifically that cell phones should be SHUT OFF. I am pretty certain that the same announcement was made at this concert as well. If this phone had been shut off there would not have been a problem. No alarm, no marimba, no interruption of Mahler’s 9th.

Off, not mute, is always the best answer.

Have a look here for the entirety of Gruber’s article-> Daring Fireball: On the Behavior of the iPhone Mute Switch