In June 2009, Apple changed the accessible smartphone market forever with the announcement of the VoiceOver screen reader on the iPhone 3GS. The device was officially released to the public on Friday, June 19, 2009; five years later, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my own early experiences with the iPhone, reflect on how much VoiceOver has changed (hint: more than I realized), and offer some thoughts on—and hopes for—the future.
The influx of new notetakers at the last couple of CSUN conferences is great to see. More choice is always a good thing, as is having fewer, and lighter, devices to cary around to get things done. But what about iOS? Apple positions its iPad Pros as a way to take better notes and a great way to get rid of things on your desk in their latest adds.
We are pleased and excited to announce the six people who have been invited to join our newly created AppleVis Blog Team. Each brings with them a unique mix of interests and experience, and we are sure that they will help us to make our blog an even more powerful and respected voice in the space that we occupy.
Rather than attempt to summarize each team member's unique backgrounds and qualifications, we felt it would be better to let each person introduce themselves:
Over the last couple years, I’ve come to a conclusion about life as a blind person: it isn’t the physical lack of sight that’s the biggest difficulty I face; but rather, it is attempting to overcome peoples’ negative stereotypes and misconceptions about what I can—and cannot—do that is the real problem.
As we're approaching Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference which is to be held on June 10th, I thought I'd put together a list of the features I want to see included in iOS 7.
If you're into words, you're always on the lookout for the best and the most decent vocabulary titles, word games, puzzles, and, last but not least, dictionaries. And you might want to take your treasury of words with you -- regardless of the OS you use. A good dictionary is the bread and butter of every logophile and having access to what many scholars deem authoritative is of utmost importance.
During the past week there has been a series of small reminders of how accessibility sits at the very heart of Apple’s ethos and practice.
The first of these came in one of the videos shown as part of the keynote presentation at last week’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC). Featured prominently was a piano app for the iPad being developed by the Ludwig Project, which will seek to bring music to the hearing impaired by enabling them to sense music through vibration.
Update, 1/15/2016: I received the following response from Lifesum's Twitter account. Needless to say, this is a very encouraging development:
Dear Michael, our sincere apologize for this, we can assure you that our answer was never intended to go out as a standard response directing you to UserVoice. We are investigating our communication process to make sure this won’t happen again. Our developers are also reading your blog post to see what’s needed to be able to implement VoiceOver. Thank you for your input!
At the end of each month, we at the AppleVis Editorial Team take a look at all the apps that have been posted to the site during that month—either for the first time, or where there has been a significant update—and decide which of these we think is the most noteworthy.
Over the past few weeks there has been much media speculation that Facebook will shortly be releasing a major update to its iOS app.
By all accounts, this will be a complete redesign, so it would seem timely to remind Facebook that it has a publicly stated commitment to providing a great experience for everyone, and that this is currently not the case for blind users of their iOS app.
For years, I have used your products. I took the path that many people take: an iPod Touch, which slowly drew me into the joy of a simple, powerful, and overall great operating system; to a Mac, which slowly replaced my Windows computer thanks to OS X's lack of crashes and errors, syncing with iOS apps, ease of downloading apps from the App Store, and other features; to the iPhone, because it's a more powerful iPod that can get online anywhere and make phone calls, so why would I not want it.
We are extremely pleased to announce that we are now able to significantly relax our rules covering what can and cannot be said about beta versions of Apple software on the AppleVis website.
Previously, our rules covering new features or changes in a forthcoming software release have only permitted sharing of information which has already been made public by Apple itself. This typically included information made available at events such as new product launch announcements, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and on the preview pages of Apple’s website.
We are pleased to announce the launch of community accessibility ratings, giving members of the AppleVis community an opportunity to submit their own accessibility ratings for all apps listed in one of our App Directories.
It's that time again, when the AppleVis Editorial Team look back at all the apps that were submitted to the site during the last month and decide which of these should be our Editorial Pick.
Although September was an extremely busy month for AppleVis, few of the new apps struck us as particularly noteworthy.
ESPN is one of the leading sources for sports-related news, scores and statistics, with sports fans from around the world using the ESPN ScoreCenter app for iOS to keep up-to-date with news about their favorite sports and teams.
Unfortunately, the app currently contains a number of significant issues which make it mostly unusable with VoiceOver.
The most significant problem is that the live scores and results displayed in the app are completely inaccessible with VoiceOver.
Slacker Radio claims that its iOS app gives listeners "anytime, anywhere access to the world’s best music and entertainment". Unfortunately, this does not currently include blind and low vision users, who can only access a very small fraction of the available music stations, as these are presented in a way that makes them impossible to browse and select with VoiceOver.
Spotify is one of the leading music streaming services currently available, offering a range of subscription options (both free and paid) on desktop and mobile platforms. The good news is that their iOS app is mostly accessible. The bad news is that Spotify's Mac app is inaccessible and their web player has a number of significant issues when used with a screen reader.
The CNN App for iPhone has traditionally been very accessible. However, a recent update has introduced significant issues for both VoiceOver and Braille users.
Considering CNN's position as one of the leading global news sources, and the fact that people from around the world will be looking to them for coverage of the forthcoming US Presidential election, we're hoping that you will all support our campaign and lobby CNN to address these issues as a matter of some urgency.