Apple: Software Quality and Customer Expectations. What Can We Do?

Accessibility Advocacy

While it seems clear to many of us in the blind community that the quality of Apple&#39;s accessibility effort has declined with iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite, a small number of voices, including the popular app developer <a href="">Marco Arment</a> are making similar claims in the mainstream technology industry.

From a blind perspective, these software quality issues have hit us hard. In iOS 8, for example, many of us have experienced significant issues that have not been addressed after five iOS updates. Safari is unreliable with VoiceOver enabled, VoiceOver stops and restarts many times throughout a typical day, Braille keyboard input is unresponsive, and many apps crash frequently without explanation.

On one hand, we all need to understand that all software is imperfect and prone to bugs. On the other hand, though, we as customers have legitimate expectations. iOS devices are not toys. Many of us have spent thousands of dollars over the past few years to purchase iPads, iPhones and iPods along with their associated accessories and apps. Don&#39;t we have a realistic expectation that, after a major iOS version has been on the street for over four months, we should be able to do something as mundane as browse the web?

The question is, then, what, if anything, should we do in response to Apple&#39;s decline in overall software quality?</p><p>How about an online petition to Apple? If we did this, perhaps, we could get some mainstream press? How about highlighting not only accessibility issues, but other problems sighted people have experienced?</p><p>Please let it fly in the comments. We at Blind Access Journal may consider taking some sort of positive action, depending on the feelings of the Applevis community.

I thank all of you in advance for your consideration.



Submitted by BigPawedBear on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What amazes me is that apple got to this point, a company who: 1. creates their own hardware, 2, creates their own software, and 3, creates the access tech to enable those with disabilities to access that software, has managed to screw things up so massively. I think a potition to apple should be set up, and maybe the apple vis team can get hold of someone from apple to take the bugs seriously and fix them, so that a blind person can again, pick up an iphone and be confident it will work, as in the old days. now, having been an apple iphone user for less than a year, I am less and less confident in the core software on my phone. Apple need to remember that blind people are using a slab of glass, with no tactile markings, and that all that stands between them and a useless brick is the screenreader, which should be robust and relyable.

Submitted by Wayne A on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

I am running IOS 8.1.2 on my iPhone 6 and Yosemite on my Macbook Air. While I am annoyed by the bugs that remain, for me, they are not show stoppers. I use my iPhone and Macbook extensively to accomplish many tasks including surfing the net, online banking, GPS, email, messaging, and specific apps such as KNFB reader and Tap Tap See. I can usually do these very efficiently with Voiceover.

In fact, I find that IOS 8 and Yosemite have provided some significant improvements, especially the continuity between working on my Mac and iPhone.

Therefore, I would not support a petition to Apple, but rather continue to inform Apple of the bugs through the regular channels. This has worked somewhat with the accessibility improvements in IOS 8.1.2.

I still believe that Apple is committed to accessibility , and this is further highlighted by the news that the new Apple Watch will include Voiceover, as well as other accessibility features.

To me, a petition is not warranted at this time. Although, I admit the issues may be noire serious for those using other features such as a Braille display. For me, I am happy with the performance of both IOS 8 and Yosemite, and I will continue to push Apple through the regular channels to fix the minor bugs that continue to annoy me.

Thanks for the opportunity to offer my thoughts on this.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I have an iPhone 6 running the latest iOS 8.1.2. While earlier iOS 8 releases were a bit more sluggish, I'm finding iOS 8.1.2 to be quite snappy, and I can accomplish anything I want to do, the iPhone can take whatever I throw at it. I know that's not the same for other users running older or different devices than mine, but I also agree that a petition isn't really needed at this time. I'm also going to continue to report bugs in the usual way.

Submitted by Darren12 on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In harmony with the 2 previous comments, I believe the value of a petition would be limited. The original IOS8 release was not fit for purpose and a clear indication of where Apple's current priorities stand in relation to Voiceover. I do believe that 8.1.2 is an improvement and the outstanding issues will be eventually resolved. I believe some form of an apology from Apple, equivalent to the maps letter to customers, would have been in the best interests of everyone and it is unfortunate that one was not provided. I have submitted 6 bug reports so far, receiving stock responses on every occasion, I will continue to do so.

Submitted by Laszlo on Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Put bluntly, I have absolutely zero interest in participating in any efforts of your organization to petition Apple--especially when Apple has demonstrated...time and again...that they are committed to accessibility. At best, such an exercise would be pointless; at worst, it could alienate Apple, the Apple press, and perhaps even app developers who would see the petition and possibly conclude that blind people are too demanding.

As you yourself pointed out, the issues people are experiencing with software quality are *not* specific to accessibility. And either Apple will get it right in iOS 9...or they won't, and the decline will continue. . But as long as the quality issues remain universal, I vote no for a petition.

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hi Darrel,
There's no denying many bugs and issues, both in sighted and blind communities alike. Petition is not appropriate.
I read Marco's blog. He has since said he regretted it. Marco brought very valid points to forefront. However, you can always count on some to slant story. Make their own version and take out of context.
With that being said, Mr. Arment is a very prominent developer with influence. I have no doubt that Apple was embarrassed. I'm sure major fixes will be coming faster than you think.


Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I think the best way to make a statement is to either live with, and keep reporting the bugs as we do now, or switch to another platform like Android, and quit supporting Apple, since they are obviously not getting the job done for some folks. ButI agree, please, for heaven's sake, no more petitions. It makes us blind people sound like a bunch of demanding whiners.

Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I just want to make sure we're staying objective here, despite being big Apple fans. I guess I'm asking, are we giving Apple too much of a pass? Is it too demanding to insist that our iPhones work reliably, and that our accessibility solution actually stay on throughout a day? Is it too much to ask that Safari work reliably, even when we back out of a page and want to read the previous page? Is it too much for us to ask that Braille access be responsive, especially for those who are deaf-blind? How about scrolling? Or Bluetooth keyboards?

How do we balance the need to be patient, polite and not "demanding" with the need to be able to actually get things done with our equipment without having to wait four or five months?

I guess it is obvious that I am feeling somewhat disappointed and disalusioned.

Outside the assumptions that Apple will just continue to do the right thing because it always has, why should I not feel disappointed with the company's latest moves?

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hi Darrell. You bring up some good questions and I'd like to respond to them at least how I see them from here.
My iPhone is pretty reliable, and I haven't had to reboot it or do anything to make it work, because it works exactly as it should at least for me.
Yes, the Safari bug does happen to me as well, but there are alternatives that we can use like Chrome, that don't really exhibit this type of behavior. Chrome is a pretty nice browser on the iOS side of things, so if Safari isn't working well for you, give that a look, and at the same time, keep reporting the back button issue in Safari to Apple. I have no issue with scrolling or double-tapping or landing on different items. That was a concern in earlier versions but that seems to have been fixed. As for Bluetooth keyboards, the Amazon Basics Bluetooth keyboard works great, I've had no problems with it at all. I can't speak for braille since I don't own a braille display. I do hope this gives you a bit of hope, not everyone's having a bad iOS experience. So yeah, I don't think what you're wanting is wrong, I'm simply saying that not everyone is having these bad experiences, it's not all doom and gloom.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

There is clearly something going wrong with Apple.
Why a petition will not work in thhis case?
Because Apple is having a pretty hard time doing QA on * everything * not only on accessibility stuff. And if this affects everyone, I have to conclude that Apple is aware of the QA problems and has strategically choosen to keep going that path. And if this is true then nothing will change because they are aware of it and they know what they are doing.
Sighted people have thhe choice to comply to the current situation or to move to other platforms ... a way of calling Apple to talk about their strategy would be migrating and this would make then look around and realise that consumers are not happy with what is happening right now.
We, as no different people, have also a choice of migrating (oooooops, no other accessible or acceptable platforms .... oh then this is not Apple's fault).
The truth is:
Is quality deteriorating? Yes.
Are there better options for sighted people? Yes, good for those people.
Are there better options for blind people at this time? My understanding is no, so I will have to stay and deal with the bugs.
Will it deteriorate to a point where we will loose reliability and web access? May bee ... and what will happen if there are no still good options from the competitors? We will be stuck on it.
Is there something we can do? Not really. If Apple is not emproving QA due the problems sighted people are facing with newer IOS and MAC OS, bilieve me they won't move a finger because of us. Making a petition would make things worse.
Apple is what it is. When they had the marketing they dictated the update cicle and could make sure stuff were working properly before releasing a new version of software. Even thou there were bugs, but they were in less quantity. But now adays there are competitors pushing things. They need to develop new products and they need to follow a hard update cicle bound to the new devices and the new hardware features such devices offer, and they have no unlimited resources so they are sacrificing some things to get other things done. This is how it works and this is how it will work while there are competitors in the marketing trying to put new things one ahead of the other .....
If it was only accessibility I would be worried. As it seens to be a more wide strategy, there is nothing to be done at all.
As any other huge company, they tend to make more service packs more often. I only complain because they do not allow you to downgrade. We should be able to downgrade until a new pack with stable accessibility stuff (or with stable anything you rely upon by the way) are released, when you could safely update.
If they did something like this it would be perfect. The main issue is that yiou have no way of knowing if something works unless you go and test and if it goes wrong you are not allowed to go back and wait until they release stuff that will work apropriately.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Keep in mind that what works badly for some people works just fine for others. I have had very few issues with my iPhones throughout the time I have had them, and while I'm still not very proficient with a Mac, I have had very minimal issues with it as well. My point is that certain people have, for lack of a better way of phrasing, either more patience with dealing with bugs or aren't affected by them as much. In other words, what may annoy some people may not matter at all to others, while different things may annoy the crap out of group two while those in group one could care less about them. Not doing a very good job of explaining it, but I think my point has been made.

Submitted by J.P. on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A point that was made by Marco.. Which I have said here before, You can't update iOS and OS together every year. There is just too much involved. You end up with unfinished and sloppy coding. After this release cycle, i guarantee this topic is consistently being pointed out in boardroom!
Another thing Marco said, which I'm sure will be corrected: Fix the abundance of bugs before introducing new features.
iOS 8 has been a complete (HORROR) for Apple. They know (It just works) is an awful tag line for them right now!

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I think the subject line pretty much says it all. I am on my first Mac and have only recently upgraded to Yosemite. This is the only Apple product which I own, aside from a Superdrive I got for Christmas. Both these products have worked great for me thus far, and I am very pleased with VoiceOver. Granted, VO does have its quirks, bugs or whatever you want to call them. I'm also dealing with an iCloud Keychain issue. But over all I have had a wonderful experience as an Apple customer. I think Apple's commitment to accessibility was clearly demonstrated last year when Tim Cook told that reporter to basically forget about the ROI. I'm no economist or much of a businessperson, but to me that is really saying a lot. It's saying that without a doubt, Apple cares about accessibility and they're doing their very best to ensure that all of their products meet accessibility standards. I can't speak to iOS devices since I don't own one. The few times I've had to contact AppleCare or the accessibility help desk have been pleasant experiences. Granted my issue still persists, but it's actually turned out to be a bit more complex. But nobody is perfect, and that includes Apple. They are trying extremely hard though. Jmo. So no, I do not think a pity-party petition is justified, but who am I to stop people from creating one if that's what you want to do. I just won't sign it, that's all.

Submitted by Laszlo on Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Whether any of us remain objective is completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand; I doubt you would be admonishing us for being bias if we supported your advocacy strategy.

In answer to your question about finding a balance and being reasonable...I maintain that as long as the quality of my use experience isn't any worse than what a sighted user would have, Apple is probably doing the best they can. As hard as it may be for some to accept, the needs of blind people are no more...or less...important than any other user group.

Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Everyone, both blind and sighted, spend lots of money on and time in using Apple products. I'm just trying to make sure we're staying objective, looking outside our worship of Apple, to make sure we're advocating or otherwise taking actions that are in our best interests.

For several years now, I thought that, despite being a huge company, Apple was something special. iOS 8 has shaken my belief in this idea.

Submitted by Toonhead on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Check any of the mainstream technology blogs, and you won't have to look very far to find out that iOS 8 was pretty bumpy for Apple, to say the least. So blind people weren't the only one's effected by Apple's goofups. But the dust has settled, and iOS 8.1.2 is running very smoothly, at least on my iDevice it is. No complaints here.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Instead of the same "let's clobber Apple" thread that seems to make its way on this site with alarming repetitiveness, how bout we create an accessibility petition for something that really matters like, oh I don't know, touch screen credit card machines that many large companies are using these days that make it impossible for blind people to use a debit card without sighted assistance. Whereas Apple accessibility has no more or no less issues than sighted people with the same devices, how about we get behind something that actually needs work instead of petitioning for special treatment.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

When no accessibility improvements are being made, then I'll support a petition.

Submitted by Melissa Roe on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hello everyone,
I'm usually a proactive person when it comes to advocacy myself, and I'm not afraid to speak my mind. Time after time those with disabilities or other issues such as veterans trying to get back on their feet again will be facing a constant uphill battle. When changes are made, it's usually only with the majority in mind. The use of mainstream technology was almost impossible 50 years ago, when we were strictly limited to the braille writers. We've come a long way, but still, we have to keep the doors of dialog open and make sure that not only the majority, but the minority are included when processes are being handled for various situations. people have had to advocate for audible pedestrian signals, accessible voting machines, and talking scripts for prescription bottles in pharmacies. That's just with the blind in mind, but think about how requirements had to be made for wheel-chair accessibility such as ramps and elevators in major places to allow them access to the other floors without the use of the stairway. Simply put, a lot of companies and businesses consider the minority an after thought, but I've never seen apple to behave that way.
I'm not saying, however, that they have an excuse for actions, or lack thereof in this case, to fix accessibility problems. Whether there are new engineers on the job and of course, a different way of going about things since Tim Cook took over the company after Steve Jobs, things have certainly been lacking in the accessibility department, but I do not believe we've been abandoned. We need to stand up and kindly remind not just apple, but other companies that minority are important too, but doing a petition is a bit drastic in this stage. While I agree that IOS 8 has really been shakey ground for my thoughts on apple, I think we need to continue to keep reporting these bugs and not stop. I've had a lot of bugs, such as apps crashing, Bluetooth keyboard temper tantrums, and voiceover turning off or losing focus... almost all of the time, and the bugs are a major annoyance, but it isn't enough to persuade me to sign a petition. If, however, a major version comes out and these bugs are not fixed, I think we need to step things up, but in a diplomatic way that isn't too crazy. We can be civil about things, but apple still needs to know that they must realize what a good thing they have going here with the current accessibility features in the IPhone, therefore making it a pretty much easy choice for those who have disabilities. I also agree that IOS8 wasn't the best for sighted folks as well, so in my opinion, apple justneeds to get it together, fix the mistakes, and hopefully make IOS 9 a much better version than IOS 8 turned out to be. There's always potential for a positive outcome if we just keep on their tails and remind them that yes, we value their products and fork over a lot of money and hold them to high standards, but as long as they keep an open mind and do the best they can to keep insuring that accessibility on IOS and mac devices is still a major priority, then we'll support them. Keep the doors of dialog open and always inform them of your inconveniences. You are, after all, a paying customer, and deserve to offer up your own opinion and demand that they deliver on their service. I don't, however, believe that going in with a petition is the answer at this time. I know how people are with these bugs, and I will honestly say I'm right there with the annoyance factor, but I'm just going to keep reporting the bugs and expect a better outcome from Apple in the future. Notice, I said expect, not hope for. That's just my thought on the matter.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yep that's what I am saying.
Go make a petition to Google improve Android and to Microsoft improve windows 10. We need competition so that if a company comes to a point where its accessibility is deteriorated enough to make their product unusable then we will still have other two, three options.
Having come to this, IOS 8.1.2 is way better than the first release. VO is restarting a lot (it does it silently and may be folks are not aware of it because sometimes it does it very fast and I can say it because the screen courtain goes off and on and then VO restarts), web navigation is more unstable and I had to restart my device two or three times, which I have never had to do before), but it is working. It is slowly deteriorating, but still working better, very better than any other thing I can think of in terms of accessibility in mobile devices. Apple is commited to accessibility, adding new features, emproving stuff and such. What worries me is that they are kind off slowly (slowly it was said, slowly, slowly) deteriorating in terms of software quality in general which will include accessibility latter or earlier if things do not change.
I am a happy and proud Apple (but not a fam boy, indeed people here think I am too hard with
Apple) user and will recomend Apple products to every blind I can because for us they are just great. But I don't want to deppend on them for ever. Because when and if they change their mindset of if they just decide that quality is not important, in terms of accessibility or not, I want to have somewhere else to go.
By now, as either sighted and blind people are having issues with software QA, I do not see anything special to be done by the blind comunity. You get more features and more bugs, in terms of accessibility or not. Even so, they are like in 8 of 10, they have once been in 9.75 of 10 and are decreasing slowly but still doing very very well.

Submitted by Paul on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Darrell, I've seen you refer to objectivity twice now just because people won't support your call for a petition. It appears to me that you're accusing us of being blind to Apple's faults because we happen to like Apple's products. Just call us Apple fan boys and Apple fan girls already, then switch to Android if you really think Apple is in a serious state of decline. Your wallet speaks louder than any petition ever will. This quote comes to mind, and you may want to keep it in mind as well: "There is no such thing as bad publicity."

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Perhaps an open letter to apple via a major newspaper sharing our concerns or a letter to Tim regarding our concerns with accessibility. Just pointing out the issues without sounding insulting. Something better than the letter NFB came out last year.

Submitted by Ro on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm not having any of the issues mentioned. I'm running the latest iOS 8 on an iPhone 5S, iPad Mini and the latest Yosemite on both a Mac Mini an Macbook Air.

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to fix every single technical issue that arises when it does not effect every single user.

I also think petitions are too widely used. I agree with others who have said we need to be our own advocate but I think at this time, a petition is a bit too much. The blind community is highly represented by beta testers who talk directly to Apple. I have faith in those people.

Submitted by Laszlo on Thursday, January 15, 2015


In your earlier post (14 January, 2015 - 17:31), you wrote:
"Everyone, both blind and sighted, spend lots of money on and time in using Apple products. I'm just trying to make sure we're staying objective, looking outside our worship of Apple, to make sure we're advocating or otherwise taking actions that are in our best interests."

With all due respect, Darrel, what's in your best interest may not be what's in my best interest. Furthermore, I do not appreciate being referred to as an "Apple worshiper" simply because I disagree with you. All you can do in life is control your own thoughts and actions, and coming onto a community forum like this just to preach at us about being "objective" is not helpful. Again, I hypothesize that if we agreed with you, we would be labeled as "dedicated and concerned Apple users" and not "Apple-Worshipers." Perhaps the community of readers at the Blind Access Journal would be more sympathetic to your views.

Submitted by Joe on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

This is so funny Microsoft doesn't even have a full-fledged screen reader and yet no one is knocking down their doorstep or stop supporting them. Google lollipop did not really introduce any new excess ability front or improvements yet again no outcry. I am using my Mac and iOS device just fine yes there are some issues with Safari but they are not deal breakers. It will never be perfect there are too many departments at Apple and one excess ability team if that makes sense. i've been angry I was pretty upset with Iowa State at first lunch but I think eventually they'll get it right. Again in America unless you have Comcast there is still no talking television box most appliances on accessible and yet you petition or want to go after a company that at least tries what has brought accessibility to the forefront. I understand being mad but just switch to android if you don't like it or complain to Apple or how I don't even care make a petition I just want supported and nor do I care to keep seeing this stupid crap being brought up. We just got over it with the national Federation for the blind and now again with this. I don't know why doesn't the national Federation for the blind go through and sue them? oh that's right the resolutions are a worthless waste of time rather than real advocacy such as descriptive video which the government has delayed the last six years but I digress let's complain about someone who's at least trying

Submitted by Jessica Brown on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I think a petition to apple about not just the accessibility problems, but the problems of sited people as well is a good idea. Then we will not sound like we are just whining about our own problems, because we will be showing that everyone was impacted in a bad way by iOS 8 and Yosemite no matter if we are blind or not and that we want change. I think we should also make it open for everyone to sign, not just blind people.

Submitted by BigPawedBear on Thursday, January 15, 2015

hi all. I think software stability for all modes of access is key here, and apple, being gate keeper to hardware and software have no excuse. Microsoft do have some excuse in that their os is used with all types of 3rd party progs, but apple have a walled garden to such an extent that they could, if they wished, mandate implementation of accessibility into every approved app in the appstore if they wished. this being the case, I think for them not to have their software as watertight as possible before release is shameful.

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hi! I have just read through this thread with interest, and I can understand people's disappointment with IOS 8, but, speaking for myself, I certainly wouldn't sign a petition to Apple at this time, as I rarely find IOS 8 frustrating to work with. My iPhone 6 is my only Apple device, and I consider both my iPhones, the 6 I have now and the 4S I had before, to be the best mobile phones I've ever owned, but I definitely wouldn't call myself an Apple worshipper. My iPhone 6 was sold to me with IOS 8.0 on it, but I never actually experienced that, as, when I restored my apps and data backed up from my 4S using iTunes, I was immediately asked to update to IOS 8.0.2 which was the current version when I bought my iPhone 6 in October. The first and only time so far I've ever had to redo the big reboot with the Home and Lock buttons was when I was using IOS 8.0.2, and IOS had more quirks for me back then, but, as others have pointed out on this thread, IOS has improved with each update. It's not perfect, but then is there really such a thing as a perfect operating system on any platform? I don't think so. I agree that IOS 8 can still be improved, but I still believe Apple are committed to accessibility, not abandoning it, even though it's unfortunate that some bugs with VoiceOver and other accessibility features weren't ironed out before the release of IOS 8 as they should have been, probably due to the deadline for IOS 8 which Apple must have felt they couldn't miss in this increasingly competitive world. I've read that Apple is working on IOS 8.2, although I don't yet know when it will be released, so with any luck further improvements will appear in that IOS update, whether there's an IOS 8.1.3 update before that or not.

Submitted by Clare Page on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I never said that a petition should not be posted somewhere, all I said was that I don't feel ready to sign one right now, although I won't rule out signing one in the future if I am happy with its wording. It may sicken some of you that the rest of us aren't hardened campaigners, but I'm personally more sickened by the bad attitude expressed in the post before the one I'm writing now, implying that those of us who won't agree to sign a petition are lazy no-good people who don't deserve an accessible device. I am willing to sign petitions if I agree with them, but, if a petition is published asking Apple to improve accessibility, I wouldn't sign it if it claims that Apple has abandoned us disabled people, nor would I do so if it demands an impossible goal like accessibility for every app as the NFB demanded last year. We need to keep level heads on this subject, and make reasonable requests if we want any petition to succeed. That's just my opinion, and if anyone wants to leave this site because they don't like it or any other similar opinions, that's their choice.

Submitted by 780KixxFan on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Thanks for this great post. I agree wholeheartedly with this principle. I am not sure another petition is what anyone needs, but I think this is worth discussing seriously. I don't want to sit here and throw rocks at Apple. We owe the company a debt of gratitude, since iOS marked the first time blind people had such access to this type of technology. We all use our iOS devices every day and are pleased to have that chance. But having said that, yes indeed, the software has declined significantly in my opinion. Even in iOS 7, VoiceOver crashes and sluggishness became an issue, and many bugs were present on release day. Too many in my mind. VoiceOver in iOS 8 in my mind is something Apple should be ashamed of. The problems are well documented. As the author points out here, since my iPad is as much a tool for work as it is for play, I can't afford to have VoiceOver crash ten times a day in Safari. I do think we have to admit that, at least for now, VO has dropped down Apple's list of priorities. Let's hope that decline doesn't continue.

Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hello Everyone,

I have heard you. There will be no public online petition at this time, but, I still believe we should ultimately do something public to try and draw greater attention to accessibility and make sure it is on Apple's radar screen for future iOS and Mac OS updates. I like the suggestion of an open letter to Tim Cook. Is anyone in this forum interested in assisting with such a project?

Submitted by Darren12 on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Darrel, Although I believe that it is Apple who should have been writing to all customers apologizing for the inadequacies of IOS8, I would certainly be willing to assist in any way that may be considered useful to advancing accessibility in the future. I am a relatively new IOS user, and many on this site will be a more advanced user definitely, regardless, I would be happy to read drafts at the weekend and make comments for improvement if that would be at all helpful.

Submitted by Toonhead on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I don't disagree at all with what Darrell is saying, anyone whose taken the time to read what I've said before would know that. Petitions just aren't an effective means of making a huge company like Apple pay attention. They never work, especially in our small market. For a petition to make any actual impact, you'd have to get literally millions upon millions of signatures, and our market isn't strong enough to support those types of numbers. We're a minority, folks. I hate to have to keep reminding people of that, but some of you have forgotten that we're not the only one using Apple products. The best way for us to do what Darrell is suggesting is to keep watching what Apple does, and keep reporting the bugs in a polite manner. If it gets to a point where our iDevices are quite literally unusable, then it might be time to do something a little more drastic. But remember, there is choice. Android is also out there, and people do use it. If you dislike Apple enough, it is out there. I plan to stick with Apple, and even if a petition came out, I wouldn't sign it, because as I said before, they never actually get the job done.

Submitted by Darren12 on Thursday, January 15, 2015

Your spot on toonhead, a measured and proportionate post.

Submitted by Jalys Ortiz on Friday, January 16, 2015

Not intending to start an argument, smhdg, but no one was slamming Darrell for his view. If you had read clearly, most of the commenters were stating that a petition wouldn't be very effective (and I wholeheartedly agree). To call us "Apple worshippers" is a bit far-fetched. I love the products, don't get me wrong, but I'm not afraid to point out the things Apple could fix.
With that said, I find it horribly ironic that Apple gets as much hate as it does, yet you don't see Microsoft and Google being slammed because their accessibility isn't up to par. And I think the whole compatability with third party programs argument is valid to a point. While Apple does control what it allows on the app store more than the others do, I don't think it's entirely fair to play judge because we can't use every single app out there. I also agree with the lobbying for more accessible credit card readers and so on; these days, Apple seems to be at the forefront of the blind community's hit list, but what about the companies who have been using touch-screen readers in stores without so much as a hint to accessibility? I'm not saying we shouldn't advocate for the bugs Apple's operating systems have; I just think people should relax a bit and just continue to politely (keyword: POLITELY) continue to report bugs as they experience them.

Submitted by david s on Friday, January 16, 2015

Come on folks,

Instead of constantly bashing Apple. Lets point out the good stuff they do. For instance, out of the box, a blind person can set up an iPhone. I’ve used Androids and Windows based phone and they don’t even come close. IF you run into an issue with accessability. You can call tech support and if they can’t figure it out, you get transferred to an accessability trained person. Try that with Samsung, Nokia or other top phone brands. You do have choices and as someone pointed out, your wallet will speak louder than a letter or petition. If you can convince enough blind people to give up their Apple device, Apple will definitely pay attention.

I don’t feel Apple has abandoned the disabled community. This showed when they released IOS 8.1.2 which resolved some VO issues. They have a lot on their plate at the moment and the IOS isn’t even out for six months yet. Give them time.

If you really want to make your Apple product the best it can be. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Report bugs and issues and upload the logs to Apple as they request them. Give them feedback both good and bad. Not just bad all the time. I think this will be more effective than a group letter or petition stating how unhappy you are about the product.

No I am not a fanboy or Apple worshipper. I like my IOS based devices but prefer to use my Windows based PC over my Mac.

Good luck on your letter campaign.

Submitted by 780KixxFan on Friday, January 16, 2015

I aghree with Jalys in a lot of ways here. The issue of touch screens at point of sale is, in my mind, the biggest problem currently facing the blind in terms of technology accessibility. I think a lot of the frustration with Apple stems from the fact that if you compare 2012 to now, there is no denying that VoiceOver accessibility and software quality has dropped sharply. As there is one constituency of Apple who basically couldn't use iOS 8 at the start, and who probably still can't use it on older devices for practical purposes, I think Apple should have published a disclaimer on release day saying for VoiceOver users, this may not be recommended at this time. What would have been the harm in that? It probably would have stemmed the tide of blind frustration. I know that blind people often are not polite in expressing these things, and often appear to think themselves above the law, so to speak. This is unfortunate. But I think people have a very legitimate beef here with iOS 8 and, from what I gather though I have not tried the product, from VO sluggishness in Yosemite. Just my two cents.

Submitted by Joe on Friday, January 16, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

This is the final post I will be making on this website. THe majority of users sicken me to an extent which I cannot truly express. Most of you don't deserve
a MacBook, iPhone, or anything accessibility. Simply because you do the absolute minimum and love to lick the crumbs off the table.

Frankly, there are better websites. And people like Darrell Shandrow are the type to post this as a request for unification, sees the response, and go
on to doing what they think anyway. People like Darrell Shandrow are the ones who seem to actually get things accomplished in the end while the rest of
Oh man you provided me the best laugh ever. Are you god now? Saying people don't deserve an Iphone or Ipad since we don't want to patition Apple really? Maybe there are patitions against google and microsoft, but you don't have a organization attacking them saying they should make every app accessable like has been done with Apple. If all things equal why wouldn't you go after them all in the same light? I love posts that threaten this is there last post and then two posts later you comment again I thought you were leaving? Anyway I'm going to go use my mac, appletv, and Iphone today something I do deserve because I worked for them so thank you. Again I report to Apple errors and things I've mentioned have gotten fixed, so I'm overall satisfied.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, January 16, 2015

Hello Darrell et al. I am willing to help out with an open letter to Tim Cook if that's what people want to do. After all, universal accessibility is super important to me and that includes Apple products. I do have his Twitter handle though too, and I wonder how responsive he is on there. I guess there's an easy way for me to find out though, lol! If we do a letter though, I think we also need to point out all the positives and be constructive, rather than just focusing on the negatives. In my mind at least, Apple's got a lot of positives going for them.

Submitted by Paul on Friday, January 16, 2015

One thing I forgot to mention in an earlier post is that I have reported a couple of bugs to Apple. While not all of them have been fixed yet, Apple fixed at least one of them. The fact they fixed what could be called a minor bug (TV episode descriptions in the iTunes store weren't being read) gives me confidence that they do in fact pay attention to bug reports.

There are all kinds of reasons that some bugs might be long lasting. Without entertaining the pessimists out there who say Apple just doesn't give a damn anymore, I can think of at least 3 reasons, and I'm sure others can think of more, but they are time constraints, ignorance of the bug, and bug isolation difficulties. The first requires Apple to essentially ignore their competition and slow down the release cycle. The second requires bug reports. And the third requires a lot more bug reports that include experiments tried and results received beyond the standard steps to reproduce, expected behavior, and actual behavior.

If you really want to make a difference, don't just copy someone else's steps to reproduce a bug and submit a bug report, do your own experiments, then submit a bug report. To me it seems obvious, but I've seen people who give details of a bug to others and encourage them to also report it, without also encouraging experimentation. There are some bugs that you really can't experiment with, but for the rest, submitting exactly the same bug report as everyone else is useless except to make the bug more noticeable, or more likely, only one aspect of a particular bug more noticeable.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that I don't believe Apple is deliberately ignoring bugs in favor of shiny new features, and they will eventually fix the bugs being reported to them, provided they receive enough information to make fixes possible.

Submitted by Jalys Ortiz on Friday, January 16, 2015

I'm not yet experienced enough in IT/CS to know much about this, but I also think that what may help with bug reporting in addition to what Paul has already said is if we specifically mention what steps we take for the bug to occur--that is, be as absolutely detailed as we can be. Because if they get people reporting the sequence of steps they follow to arrive at a certain point and what alternatives they have tried without success, it will also let Apple know that we aren't reporting for the sake of reporting, and actually know what we're doing.

Submitted by david s on Friday, January 16, 2015

Perhaps we should have a bug reporting form that we can copy and paste when sending them an email. This way, Apple will know it came from our community and would hopefully have some relevance.

Just an example. And I know you all will come together and make it better.

Date of Occurrence: Date
Name: Your name
Email address: Your email address
Device: Your device type iphone, Ipod, etc.
Device model: model number or generation like iphone 4s or ipad 3, etc.
IOS Version: Your IOS version
Does this occur with Voiceover On or OFF or both.
Description of Problem: Describe problem here.
How to recreate problem: Describe steps taken when problem occurred.

Then perhaps provide a link to a discussion here in applevis. This way, maybe the developer/programmer can follow along and post a question if needed.

Just my thoughts.

Submitted by Darren12 on Friday, January 16, 2015

That could potentially be a really productive way of bug reporting. Last weekend I sent a bug report to the bbc about playback controls in their Iplayer app, also linking to the topic on this site, obviously I don't know if they will act to deal with the problems that do exist currently, but I had a response within 30 minutes and on a Saturday, which I thought was remarkably impressive. Some joined up thinking could really assist Apple's accessibility team in isolating and identifying the remaining issues we are encountering.

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, January 16, 2015

Hi all. I to have been reading this post with interest, and have a couple of things to point out. For one, whatAple can't fix, simple reason is they don't know about it. As long as we keep reporting bugs, if one user has them, if 100 users have them, Apple will at least probably read the reports. Second, how many low vision, and blind people, are members of the developement program? I ask, because granted there's a hefty price tag, but if a smaller and smaller number of people access this, there won't be enough of a pool of test devices. I know there are specific bugs on the iPhone five, some have, others with the same models, don't have it. If a greater number of people joined one or the other of the programs, mac and IOs, there might be improvement to accessibility. Eventually, I too will join the programs, and hevily focus my reports on voice over, and what Ineed to do with what i use. As for the Worshipper comment, I've said before I will gladly choose to back to a non speaking, non facebook, texting, tweeting phone, and that's my choice if I feel I need to do that. As it is, i'll stay with my five, i'm waiting utnil either the Ios is slow, or a phone I want comes out. I'm not sure how many petitions go around, but at least for the most part, this thread was civil, and that's a shock considering some of the threads I have admittedly participated in. For the person who said they were leaving and didn't yet, typical idiotic drama. Nothing new there. daryl, thanks for accepting the forum's views of not right now, with humility.

Submitted by Toonhead on Saturday, January 17, 2015

I absolutely love the idea of a bug report form, now *this* is absolutely the kind of helpful information Apple needs to have to fix these bugs. Also, having the steps to reproduce the bug is essential information. I've beta tested for many people and that's the way everyone seems to do it, it gives the developer and programmers a path to go by so that they can do exactly what you're doing so they can reproduce the bug, and figure out a work around. This is really productive and I'd love it if the Applevis team could put this into practice.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Saturday, January 17, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Toonhead,

When our team submits bugs to Apple (including all those listed on our iOS 8 page), we submit them in the format required in Apple's Bug Reporter system.

While we're not aware of a specific recommended format for the general public to report bugs to Apple's accessibility team, the more information a user can provide to Apple, the better. If people think having a suggested template bug report posted on the site would help, please let us know in the comments.

Submitted by david s on Saturday, January 17, 2015


It would be great if there is a template here in applevis. This would encourage frustrated users to submit a bug report and remind them of the details they would need to include.

There should also be a page where a user can copy and paste a form to an email. Honestly, how many of us looked at a form and thought it was not worth filling out the web form and instead choose to send a quick and incomplete email. I admit, I have done that.

This by far has been one of the most productive threads I have read here. Lets see if we can keep the ball rolling and make it work. To the applevis team, thanks for having a great site where we can help each other out and exchange ideas.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Saturday, January 17, 2015

This idea of a bug report form is amazing and will be very very affective in helping people report bugs.
I think, myself, I'd like an editable form, which i can fill in with an email address and it would send it off in a nice template way.

What do you guys think of that?

Oh and obviously, the edit boxes would have to be labeled, I'm not sure how to do it but I know there's a way you can make it so that you, once pressed enter in a box, can press tap and here username edit, password edit, and so on, instead of having the words above the text as I've seen with so many sites.

As for apple and access. I'm a V.o (voiceover,) user and have had no problems so far. Yes safari could be improved but I don't use it enough to say exactly how it could be done. I love my iphone. Sounds silly i know, but it really does just work. I bought a iphone six a couple months back, pressed and hold the home button and here the sound that I know means speak. So I do, "Turn voiceover on," "Okay I've turned voiceover on." How awesome is that? Straight out of the box and it's working already? Amazing. I'll also be taking a look at the apple watch too. I'm not a fan of macs, even though I have a macbook pro, i use windows eight point one on it and think that's awesome.

Would I be happier if the bugs were fixed? me personally, it would be nice but I don't mind either way, for me there are no bugs apart from the one where if you go into the app store and write something then go to delete it and it doesn't read, that's a bug I'd like fixed so if it does, great. If it doesn't, okay, I can live with that.

To wrap this up, I'm happy with my product and will keep being so, until it totally stops working. Heck, we even have the alix voice which is amazing. No negative people who say apple isn't commited to accessibility, I do not agree with you at all.

As for darrell, sorry if I've spelt your name wrong, I'm sure you're a nice guy and I'm sure you have the best of intentions, I'm happy you read the posts and didn't respond in a negative way, i hope that what I've wrote doesn't make you feel bad or respond in an angry manor.

As for the post from SMHDG, wow, someone got mad, huh? Does it really matter weather you do or do not post? No, not to me anyway. People like that annoy me since they think we really care weather they leave or stay, we don't. We'd like you to stay and write nice non angry posts, but we or should I say I, don't care if you leave or not. Stop thinking yourself above the rest and just say, I'm going to leave because I don't agree with such and such point, instead of saying we don't deserve an Ipod or Iphone or mac. Because let me tell you, I do deserve my phone and I will keep deserving my phones laptops, computers, and what ever other devices apple decide to come out with, and so will you, apple vis community.

Submitted by Paul on Saturday, January 17, 2015

It would definitely be a good idea to post a bug report template. For users who are unfamiliar with the software development process, a template would help them to submit more useful bug reports.