Apple has today released iOS 8.4, bringing with it Apple’s new music streaming service and the usual "under the hood" fixes and enhancements.
The focus for this release has clearly been on making sure that everything is in place for the introduction of Apple Music and Beats 1. Consequently, we were not surprised to hear from Apple that it includes no accessibility-related changes or fixes.
What you will find in this update is a completely redesigned Music app. The layout and operation of this app has changed to accommodate the new music streaming service. It appears that Apple's Accessibility Team has worked hard to ensure that these changes do not negatively impact the usability of the app for VoiceOver users. What you will want to do, however, is to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the new interface and controls.
The areas of the Music app where you access and control Apple's new streaming service have not been available during the beta cycle, so we have not been able to test these for accessibility ahead of release. We shall update this post in due course with what we find. In the meantime, please do share your own experience of the accessibility of Apple Music.
One consequence of the changes to the Music app is that audiobooks have now been moved to the iBooks app. Again, this change appears to have been made with no detrimental accessibility effects, but here too we would appreciate your input.
We are relatively confident that the iOS 8.4 update should be a stable and painless experience for most people. It has spent several months in beta testing and is built upon the significant stability and performance improvements that came in iOS 8.3. However, as is the nature of these things, it is quite possible that new bugs may have been introduced and not detected during the beta cycle. So, if you do encounter any new bugs, please be sure to report them to Apple and to let us know about them in the comments.
iOS 8.4 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or from iTunes on your Mac or PC.