Pinch/spread and portrait/landscape: why don’t they just work?

I recently had a chance to alpha test an app on the iPhone and Android for work. I can’t discuss it here, but I can say that apparently both the iPhone and Android development systems cause developers a lot of extra work to make things behave consistently throughout the app.

My point of frustration: why do I have to remember where pinch/spread and portrait/landscape work and where they don’t?

The most important part of ease of use is that the same command behaves as expected wherever you use it. But apparently developers have to enable pinch/spread zooming and portrait/landscape orientation for each screen within their apps.

The two features don’t even work in the phones’ system settings.

A developer told me that the late Symbian system had such a work-everywhere feature. Now we’ve lost that with Android and iOS. This is progress?

[update April 5, 2012: I was on a flight eaveslooking at another passenger’s use of an iPad (as with eavesdropping, I didn’t care what they were looking at but I cared a lot how they used it). There were a number of times the passenger tried to use spread that nothing happened. Their assumption appeared to be that they thought they didn’t use it right, as they re-tried once, maybe twice, to no avail. That’s an indication it’s a true design failure of the iPad, among others, not my fussiness.]

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