iOS 4.2 gets rolled out to iPad users sometime in the coming weeks, the button on the side that, until now, has prevented the screen from swapping between portrait and landscape will become a mute switch, just like it is on the iPhone. However, since this is clearly a software-managed control rather than being hard-wired, some users were hoping that this might be configurable somewhere in the settings.
Unfortunately, Steve Jobs has made it clear to a 9to5Mac reader via email that no such user configurability will be a part of iOS 4.2. The decision has been made, and that's that... or at least it is until some handy hacker finds a way to modify the iPad firmware after 4.2 gets jailbroken. Theoretically, someone could also create an app to provide that capability, but it too would have to be exclusive to jailbroken iPads -- Apple doesn't allow modification of hardware controls, as the developers of Camera+ learned recently.