Archive for August, 2010

How iSee the future with iTv

August 25, 2010

How I Foresee the Future with iTv

Whether this could happen, or I am merely living in a fantasy world, time will only tell.

I’m no expert when it comes to technology but I know potential when I see it. There are a few jumps companies like Apple, Comcas in the US and Sky Satellite in the UK would need to do to ensure this possible, which as we all know is a huge ask, but the potential of what ITv would bring to the visually impaired market is astounding.

The iTv product, regardless of the controversy of its name, shared with a major television network in the UK, poses an idea of change. And maybe the big techs at Apple have foreseen my own revelation and are working toward this very idea, not for the sake of their visually impaired customers, who until have not been able to utilise the Apple television but for a combined and easier experience for all consumers. It is safe to say that what will remain on the Apple TV is the ability to stream your own media or media of that from the internet. What has not been discussed, but I will speculate upon, is the idea of cable and satellite companies utilising the iTv device to create a single unit experience.

IOS4 will be running on the device, this is certain and we all know that IOS4 includes voiceover, contrast, zoom and mono hearing. These accessibility technologies give us an opportunity to dive into the future and speculate a little.
Imagine, for one moment, coming home with your $99, as it has been proposed to cost, Apple iTv and connecting it to power, switching it on, registering it independently, going to the iTunes store and downloading your relevant television service app to your iTv device. Log in with a user name and password and any other information that may be required from your television provider and hey presto, it must be magic. Now sitting before you, in a completely easy to navigate screen is the interface of your television provider’s menus. Now, not only can you see your show and what is coming up, but you can browse through the menus and record, view, delete shows you have watched or check out the television guide. Hell, if you really want to go wild, head over to the interactive and use it to your heart’s content.

I’m no technical expert, and anyone in the know, feel free to tell me it’s not possible but from what I’ve seen, this could work.

Now jump forward a few months if you are in the uK, and imagine, huge television providers are being backed into a corner because the new equality is about to launch and every digital provider is proverbially wetting themselves because they now know they have to provide all digital content in an accessible format. Wow, iTv steps in, you develop an app that works with voice over, not only do your low vision users, which is a high percentage of the population, elderly included, now have access but so do many severely visually impaired users all around the country. What a job, you just made a lot of people happy.

And maybe i’m jumping on the dream boat but I think if this could happen, Apple will just have revolutionised another part of my blind world. Hey Apple, hotpoint called, they want IOS4 installed on all of their washing machines. Oh, and Bank of America say they want speech on their ATMs with the ability to have a bluetooth braille display. Apple, the core of what could be is purely in your hands, run and solve the segregation problems and allow visually impaired users of all technologies enjoy the technical revolution.

OK, I’m back to reality but it’s nice to dream and who knows, it could happen. Couldn’t it?

The Kindle and Accessibility

August 25, 2010

I’ve blogged about this issue before, and how Amazon had been backed into a corner. But with the launch of iBooks, with the use of text to speech being allowed, that corner is opening up. I won’t reiterate the arguments I’ve stated previously about text to speech verses audio books but we all know they are not the same thing.

However, I tried to install the mac kindle app tonight, just to see if it would work. It doesn’t. You can’t get past the registration screen. So I emailed Amazon, to see if we get a response. It would be nice if we as visually impaired people had options opened to us. iBooks is getting there, it’s still young and I don’t doubt it will continue to improve but the kindle offers a lot more books and the option to subscribe to papers and magazines also. Having both platforms accessible to us would be fantastic and give a broader choice of books and competitive prices.

Below is the email I sent to
kindle-feedback@amazon.com

For a long time I’ve hoped to download an app, either via the appstore or the mac kindle app and be able to not only use the user interface but read books on my mac or IOS devices. I’m an avid book reader, the only problem is that i’m totally blind and therefore depend on text to speech, Apple’s voice over, to read screen content to me. Sadly, the apps are inaccessible from the start and so I assume, maybe incorrectly that the books are unreadable also.
iBooks have opened a whole new world to me as a blind reader and I hope that Amazon can join the competitive Ebook market, not only for the sighted world but for those of us who depend on a screen reader to communicate the information on a digital screen.
Could you please inform me if there is anything being done, and a possible time line if so for the kindle devices, kindle apps on various platforms becoming accessible to the blind, low vision and dyslexic readers out there?
Thanks for any response.

If you feel like dropping them an email also, I don’t see it would do much harm. The more they are aware of another potential market, the better.
I’ll keep you posted with any response.