Archive for the ‘Apple Inc.’ Category

Morality is in the Gutter

June 7, 2011

The agreements between companies and their outside developers are stringent. Apple for example have often been criticised for the extension of their own secrecy policy to the terms of agreement in their developer programmes. This topic has again been unearthed this week with the announcements at WWDC.

I’m all for people testing. I also get excited when sites like mac Rumours talk about things but I treat them as merely rumours.

I personally know several individuals on the developer scheme and while most of them stick to the non disclosure policy, I’ve seen several who are outright breaking it.

Today it was released that there’s a “backdoor” to get iOs5 through a security leak and my favourite thing I’ve heard is that blind people must get it to ensure it activates.

I seriously roll my eyes at that. There are several blind individuals on the developer programme and if iOS doesn’t activate, they’ll let Apple know the “right way”.

I have to say, this self righteous attitude that we can break rules just to suit ourselves in the blind community is shoddy and needs to stop. You cannot have it all ways. Expect to be treated equally and then put yourself above the rules by flinging the blind card everywhere for the world to see when it suits you; hypocritical, methinks?

I am not saying sighted people or others with different disabilities are not breaching the terms of use and that is also wrong but do not use “the blind card” to justify your piracy.

To the developers who are VI and are testing both Lion and iOS5 while sticking to you’re binding agreement, I applaud you for both. Because you are testing and reporting back to Apple, you are doing the rest of us a service.

Was I tempted? Sure! If we can get something for nothing, most of us are but I will not get either Lion or iOs5 until I can purchase Lion and update my iOS devices in iTunes.

It seems mighty unfair that people who have shed out money to test to give what I I hope is constructive feedback to Apple are being tarnished with a brush by selfish and arrogant individuals determined to get their own way because they can.

I know I’m stepping onto moral high ground but seems the level of morality is in a ditch for most people these days. All I can say to those doing the backdoor way, just know, if it blows up in your face neither Apple nor your phone company will give a damn. I suspect developers and anyone on their account has cover via some reference number and that is fine but just know you are not covered under this unorthodox method.

If I was a developer, I may test and who knows, one day that may happen. With the next version of the Mac OS I might enter into the development programme as I have a spare mac at home now to test on but it wouldn’t be so I could blog about features.

The iPad is Coming! the iPad is coming!

May 7, 2010

The iPad is coming! The iPad is coming!

Apple today announced today, 7TH May 2010 that the iPad is being rolled out to Australia, Canada, the UK, Spain, france, Germany, Italy, Japan and switzerland on 28TH May. So far, UK pricing has been released as follows:
Wifi 16 gig, £429
Wifi 32 Gig, £499
Wifi 64 Gig, £599
Wifi + 3G, £529
Wifi + 3G, £599
Wifi + 3G, £699
All prices include VAT and can be pre-ordered 10TH May with apple. all models can be bought through Apple’s online store or their retail stores and through selective third party retailers.

The iBooks app will also be released in these countries on the same day but release dates, pricing for other countries is expected in July.

So finally we have a date. Now the choice is in your hands, if to buy, which model do you get your eager hands on?

Opening The Door with Apple’s IPad?

April 1, 2010

With the launch of Apple’s next big thing on the US horizon, it is hard to escape the many articles either reviewing or speculating about the IPad.

When it was announced back in January that the IPad, otherwise known as the much anticipated Apple Tablet, rumours began to fly about all kinds of things. For those of us interested in the accessibility, Apple did not fail to deliver, including the much loved and used voice over feature on the IPad.

Since its introduction last June, the voice over feature on the IPhone and IPod Touch consequently in september, has enabled thousands of visually impaired users to utilise the products as freely as their sighted counterparts with no extra cost. Despite everyone being uncertain whether it would be introduced last year, it has possibly become an assumption that Apple would not leave out this excellent, innovative feature. And even as the IPad was launched, we soon learned that voice over was indeed featured on there too.

However, questions began to rise in conjunction with a new Apple store launching and what it would mean for the visually impaired and dyslexic users of the IPad and its technology. IBooks promise to potentially open up doors never as open as before. As true that there are organisations in many countries around the world that offer merely a fragment of printed materials in alternative formats, the amount of that content available compared to the general market is miniscule.

Enter the IPad

At launch, this product seemed as though it could be the answer to many avid readers’ dreams. Especially those with a “print impairment”. If the voice over stretched to the IBooks feature at least. However, anyone who has been around this debate for the last year or so, will know that there has been many fights about whether Text to speech is actually a violation of audio copyright.

Most of us sensible people would state that audio books are completely different to those read by a screen reader. However, the author’s gild did not agree with that notion and filed a suit against Amazon and its Kindle reader last year to ensure a feature was available to authors/publishers to turn off the speech functionality of the Kindle if they so desired.

granted, I realise that this protects the content somewhat from hackers but as no expert in the matter I will comment no further on this except to say, while you’re keeping the hackers out you are also blocking millions of readers from accessing the material because of an impairment. Even though the Author’s gild still seem rather adamant about the reading aloud situation, I’m not entirely certain Apple will back down as easily as Amazon did.

Apple’s policy of universal access would completely be in disarray if Apple allowed the voice over feature to be turned off on certain books. Not to mention the fact that it should be an individual’s right to choose how they read a book. For those who are print impaired, walking into a bookstore and picking up a book is not an option. Audio books are only on occasion made in comparison to publication of print books so Ebooks seems like the most viable option to not only avid readers but to students alike.

Imagine, trying to study and be unable to get hold of the core text because it is simply not available in the format you need. Thousands of print editions but no other alternative and if there is, I.E. an Ebook you are unable to read it because the devices capable of doing so have been blocked access because the author’s gild deem your screen reader as equivalent to a human voice.

It does seem Apple have not gone into this with their eyes shut, they rarely do but after reading and rereading the statement on their Ibooks feature page where it says,
“iBooks works with VoiceOver, the screen reader in iPad, so it can read you the contents of any page.” and maybe I am reading too much into this but it says can read the contents of “any page”. That suggests that the DRM ability like so many other devices has protected against the “print impaired” users accessing the books does not exist here. Apple does not state, will read all the content on an unprotected book’s page or anything to that affect. So, I do conclude that Apple have
A. Thought this through and
B. are keeping to their universal access policy.

The IPad, along with being a potentially fun and innovative way to do work on the go or watch movies in the car could also possibly open up the reading and studying world for millions of people that has remained firmly closed because of simple red tape.

Welcome the IPad and yet another product from Apple that just keeps making me and many others love their products more.

Anticipating The Big Bite?

January 25, 2010

And it is that time of the year again where we anticipate what Mr Jobbs and his buddies over at Apple have cooked up for us. As usual the rumour mill has been filled with all kinds of teasers and the grand unveiling is two days away but I had to report what I’ve learnt.

There is a rumour of an Apple tablet. a device that is somewhere in between a computer and a smart phone, all touch screen. But along with this piece of information, Sky News today reported that Apple are supposedly in talks with publishers, magazines and news Papers to allow the new Tablet to become some kind of reading device on the go. This of course is not new in itself but what is potentially interesting is the potential for Apple’s increasing scores of Visually impaired and Dyslexic users.

If as Sky News predict, and Apple are in talks and continue their dedication to their own policy of universal access then this could mean that books, news papers and magazines would be as readily available to not just their sighted users but to all of their users.

As a student, I really hope for this tablet to be three things.
1. accessible
2. the ability to buy and read books with voice over.
3. Relatively affordable.

If Apple can pull this off, surely some of the educational hypocrites could change their attitudes. But as I just told someone on Twitter never get complacent.

I hope for all of these things and would be shocked and very disappointed if the tablet isn’t in the least accessible to Voice Over users. So we will see.

Other trinkets of goodies may include an Iphone 4.0 update. That may be very interesting. Wish they’d sort the battery lives out, seriously. I’m tired of charging mine. And I personally suspect a new shuffle but we will see.

I’ll update when I know more.
Later Apple heads!

An Apple Update

September 9, 2009

OK so who said 09/09/09 wouldn’t be exciting? Me. Until I heard about the Rock and Roll event Apple were running.

We all suspected a new Ipod family would be born, and there were rumors about an itunes redesign, not to mention a probable Iphone OS3 Update.

And so we were right.

Ipod Nano

The fifth generation boasts a fm radio, a built in microphone and speaker, a built in pedometer and more accessibility features as were seen in the shuffle release earlier this year. Still in wonderful colors and as slim as their predecessors, these nanos will be no doubt popular Christmas presents later this year.

The voice over aspect is not clear as yet, but I suspect the technology that went into the shuffles, in regards to multiple language support will be implemented in the new nanos.

Ipod Touch

The touch is now available in an 8 gig, a 32 gig and a 64 gig. The latter two have been upgraded with powerful processors which means, yes, it’s here, voice over is now available on the Ipod touch.

The popular implementation of the Iphone has now graduated to the Ipod Touch and I am certain this will please hose who could not get out of their contracts or could not get good signal on the locked in networks. And as ever, Apple continue to develop their accessibility.

Itunes 9

Moving onto the software.

I haven’t explored Itunes 9 extensively as of yet, but a few accessibility bugs have been fixed again, I.E. the lcd area not reading with Voice Over.

Some cool features are that now you can view your applications and although there seems to be a few accessibility glitches in regards to the feature that you can move your apps from home page to home page does not work yet with VO, I have confidence this will be fixed in due course. You can not check or uncheck with vo which apps you want to sync, but lets all write to apple’s accessibility team and get this fixed.

The home networking feature rocks. She says, not having yet tried it. But in theory you can now not only share a library over the network but grab music from another computer in your house through this cool new feature. My dad being heavily into music makes my life so much happier again now. Wonderful music at my fingertips.

There is so much to talk about but this is the basic stuff in Itunes that I have explored so far. I’m sure there will be much more and I will report on it as I find it.

Iphone OS3.1

So we got another update, this was much more than a security update. In regards to accessibility, a few things have been achieved here.

First of all, voice over now tells you where your insertion point is. Very useful! And it also informs you when you’re shutting down. And finally, we got it, a quick on and off feature for voice over. turn it on in settings–general–accessibility–home triple tap and you can have it either switch vo on and off, white on black or ask. Shame there wasn’t an option for zoom.

Those are the trinkets I found so far. I will update you all as I find more jewels in the apple crown.

The New Cat’s On the Prowl!

August 30, 2009

So, like many other eager mac users, I purchased my £25 copy of Snow Leopard on Friday. Unfortunately, I was unable to install the new kitty until yesterday but I will now take you through the process and give a few feedbacks on the new cat prowling apple land.

Backing up and Installation

I am very pessimistic when it comes to installing important things onto computers. I can guarantee something will go wrong or I will forget to do something. First of all, I had to back up all of my data and precious mac settings, even though I was doing an update rather than a clean install. My macbook has been behaving fine and works no slower than it did when I purchased it so I saw no reason to do a clean install just yet. But, I had convinced myself I would somehow mess this up and with it being as a daunting task as it was, installing a new OS, [something I never thought I’d be able to do independently,] I was taking no chances. So I proceeded to back up all of my precious data by copying my library, home and app folders to an external drive. I already have my itunes library running from there so I didn’t have to worry about my music, books and movies. Once everything was safely backed up onto my externals, I cleaned a few things out of the trash and shut down the computer, ate dinner and returned to install my new cat.

What I like about apple is the simplicity of things. You get a DVD, stick it into your computer and the install does the rest for you. I currently have a macbook polycarbon 13 with a 2 gig memory, dual core processor and 160 gig drive. I had 120 gig, or there about, disc space free.

I started up my macbook, closing all applications and inserted the DVD. I attempted to read the instructions in preview, but for some odd reason they seemed non consequential. I had picked up enough on mac lists to have an idea of what I was doing. So I ran the installation, that asked me to confirm I wanted to install, agree to the license, which I did, and then it restarted with my user name and password being the key.

Upon restart, I waited for a good long time while the disc spun an spun and once it had silenced in the drive, I hit fn–cmd–f5. If you were on a desk top computer the keystroke would be CMD–F5 however. Once these keys had been hit, I heard another voice over voice telling me the process of the installation. It took around thirty minutes altogether and the computer restarted again. I personally wasn’t expecting this to happen and at this point really thought I’d hurt the kitty and the macbook. However, patience can truly be a virtue, for after waiting a few more minutes, I tried, gingerly the FN–CMD–F5 keystrokes and a man said, Welcome! This was where my smile got bigger as music started to play. I did have to hit the voice over command again to get vo running after the music, which I hit spacebar, just to learn the new features. being familiar with voice over already made this an interesting step, to learn the new features that I will discuss in the following sections. But the greatest thing of all was when I finished the voice over tutorial and my mac book launched my syrinx and mail apps which I have to start up as default. i felt the biggest sense of achievement, and I was totally proud.

The set up is easy, and as long as you listen and wait, everything should go just fine. It did for me and I can have the biggest disasters where computers are concerned. i’m forever tinkering and something was doomed to happen but it didn’t. In short, apple make it that easy! 🙂

New features!

All features will take some getting used too. The one feature I love is the quick nav mode, achieved by hitting the left an right arrow keys together. Voice over alerts you quick nav is on and you can simply use the arrow keys to navigate, including up, down, left, right and interacting. This has made for a great feature, although I sometimes forget to turn it off.

Another great feature is the rotor. If anyone uses the iphone this feature will remind them greatly of the iphone’s rotor system. By replacing the links chooser menu, you can now press vo–U and the rotor menu pops up. It basically tells you what different elements are on the page and by using left and right you can move between those elements, and up and down will take you to the elements. So if you have three headings on a page, you would move left and right to find headings and then up and down to see what each heading is. by selecting a specific element as you would in item chooser, vo–space bar or if quick nav is on, up and down arrows, you will be taken to that element on the page. Just another great way apple has made navigating a breeze on the mac environment.

If you thought their iphone ideas just stopped here, you were wrong. The sounds now remind you greatly of the iPhone 3GS sound scheme which are a lot more pleasant on the ears. It took some getting used to but now I’m quite at home with the sound scheme.

As well as the traditional numpad commander, voice over users now have track pad commander and keyboard commander to customize to their heart’s content. As I stated earlier, I have the polycarbon macbook so i do not, as yet, possess a multitrack pad. I have thus so far customized my numpad to my liking, as I work on an external for comfort sake while at my desk. However, these are great features and once I have the time, I’m sure the keyboard commander will be a great tool. Not only can you customize what voice over commands you need, but now apple script, automator and applications are implemented so the mac world is now our oyster. Set up keystrokes for all kinds of events. By default, option–T reads the date and time and so not to conflict with voice over, the right option key is used, but you can personalize this in system preferences.

There are features I too do not like that have been implemented, and most would argue I’m a mac snob, and fine, if that’s the case, so be it. I am disheartened that Apple felt the need to implement the insertion point change for voice over users. it was different when coming to the mac to suddenly not have the insertion point act as I was so used to, that it would always be to the right of the character. In using the mac, I learnt to use the cursor as sighted people do and now, it just makes sense. I realize Apple have been under great pressure from windows switchers, struggling to adjust, and the NFB to implement such features, but it seems sad that people cannot take the mac and voice over for what it is, a great built in access for visually impaired folks. Switchers argue it is a “real struggle” but others managed before it was implemented and now find it a hard time to go back to the babysitting ways of windows screen readers.

I recently wrote on an emailing list, stating the three implementations I do not like about the new voice over. I give Apple credit, they’ve really gone out on this update for voice over, I again, will emphasize, I feel sad that they seemed pressured by some that are unwilling to learn the OS to implement such features. The insertion point is my biggest gripe but here are the other two.

Web content can now be read automatically from top to bottom. The feature I don’t want you to confuse this with is the vo–a, which when pressed will read entire texts/pages, or VO–B which will read from the cursor onwards. These features are great, VO–A only worked in text areas previously, now works on the web also and I am glad they’ve been improved and introduced respectively. The feature I am talking about is the AUTOMATIC reading of the webpage. I hated this feature in Jaws, and am so glad Apple are giving me the choice to abandon that particular feature. If I wanted to sit and hear my entire web content to be read, wouldn’t I just hit VO–A? It just seems like voice over has been asked to be more like the windows-based screen readers, “babysitters”. Call me harsh, but I call a spade a spade and if you need your Screen reader to hold your hand, great! But it was a reason I left windows behind me, not the only one true, if I was to list all of them, we would be here all night, but it was a deal breaker for me to move.

The third one is voice over hints. OK, maybe I could let this one slide but until I changed it, voice over kept telling me I was in an HTML area, and I should interact. Erm, Voice over, didn’t I start using you because you did as I asked not what you thought I wanted you to do? If you learn the OS, learn how it is set out, it is very easy to know all of these things. As I said previously, thank God for Apple’s ability to give me choice.

There is so much more. For one thing, the ability to label, which I haven’t tested out as yet. If a button is unlabeled we are now able to label it. So much more has been given over the user in a way that makes it easy enough to customize and to be done well. The ability to export these customizations is also a great feature in my opinion and I look forward to using it.


So would I recommend upgrading? For the price and the stability and the new features yes. I know i bitched about the holding hand screen reader experience, but the beauty of apple is they are still giving their users the choice and not forcing the choice upon us. Plenty of opportunity to customize between users, to make things more accessible, have multiple ways of navigating, whether it be on the cool multitrack pad or by using quick nav, making endless shortcuts to make us all lazy, and for the constant care of Apple, keeping our screen reader experience up to date and always advancing with technology.

Kiss Apple’s Feet

July 12, 2009

Some of us have already ventured into the mac world, I’m a mere baby I have to say, only being involved with  mac since last October and I only bought one because I was tired of MS, FS Viruses and constantly having to patch things. My Sony was dying a death and I really wanted an ipod nano. After listening to a podcast done by someone on Lioncourt I decided using a mac couldn’t be that hard at all. I had seen VO in Tiger and hated it, simply because I didn’t understand it or try to understand it. The people who were demonstrating it to me were ill informed and had no clue how to use the mac OS let alone VO so I swore, like many others did that I would stick to old faithful windows and old faithful jaws. But when I had a reality check on the price of a new laptop capable of running jaws and the jaws licence itself, I nearly had a heart failure. I hopped over to the apple website and check out a macbook. the mid range macbook cost me less than a licence of jaws by 70 pounds, not including the P&P so I took the plunge and I will never go back! as long as apple keeps doing what it is doing, making its products what they are, sleek, operational out of the box and everything I could possibly want from an OS both on my computer and phone, then I will never turn my back on them.

Kiss their feet! Why not? They have done far more than any other company has attempted too. They make their products accessible to all. And that is their beauty. not to mention they have a dedicated team for accessibility. MS will eventually lose a hold on the VI community, keep upgrading their Os with yet another version needed of an expensive Screen Reader, only to still be subjected to viruses and constant patches. Apple isn’t perfect, no one will say they are, but they are ears ahead of others in their attempt. I’ve seen people complaining about their iphones, did you honestly expect perfection? This is the first touch screen phone ever available to those with a Visual impairment. Was Voice over perfect the first time around? I highly doubt it? Is it perfect now? No, of course not, but that is the perfection in it. Where their is problems, there is always progress to be made. And apple are always willing to continue their progression.

even though I am not from the US, I have lived there and been amongst people who relate to the NfB and AcB and still hear of their policies through people I interact with online. I am appalled that an organisation is suing apple. For what? For making their products accessible? Their claim is to do with Itunes on the windows side. Now Jaws 10 is accessible with Itunes, and I know this from talking to people who use Jaws and Itunes together, I see no reason why the NFB should continue to sue. GW-micro worked with apple as i understand it to make Itunes 8 accessible last year and this coincided with Apple’s own built in screen reader becoming functional with itunes on Leopard. Did FS work with Apple? No, I doubt they did. And maybe this is a jump on my part but maybe this is NFB’s way of keeping FS with a strong hold upon the VI community. But can VI computer users continue to pay out the incredible prices FS are offering? For a programme that yes, works rather well, no one will say otherwise on it’s OS, but for the price of a Jaws licence here in the UK I bought a brand new mac with a built in screen reader that neglects to have the incredible amount of issues that I had with my PC and Jaws.

I see so many windows VI users constantly having to do something to their computer to make it work. I know that when I had skype on my PC, I was forever using scripts to make Jaws work with it well. Did the NFB try and sue Skype? no, because Skype posed no threat to them. Apple have the ability to take over the technical market eventually. The more of us using a mac independently, as most of us do, the more exposure Apple get within the VI community. Now the Iphones are accessible, and I personally think they have done an outstanding job on this product, the more every day people are aware of the accessibility built into the phone. If someone we know, also has an Iphone, and they see a visually impaired person using the same phone as themselves, it addresses the continuing knowledge that Apple have worked by themselves to integrate accessibility for all.

I’ve had several experiences within the short three weeks of owning my IPhone where people have asked me questions or been amazed that I didn’t have to pay any more than they did for their phones. Why should we be penalised for the fact we have no vision? Why should we continue to support an assistive technology market that costs us as individuals, an absolute fortune? I often couldn’t afford many of the products i would like to buy. So if this trend continues, and I hope it’s passed on to other major companies, of having mainstream products include accessibility to all in their products then I shall be a happy person. I see no reason why I should have to pay any more than my sighted peers for a product when I don’t have too. And of course, there are going to be people who believe I am wrong, and that is OK. I have my opinion, and you have yours. But let me just say this. Would you pay more for a piece of food just because you are visually impaired? Why shouldn’t companies like Apple include accessibility into their products for the same price as their sighted customers? Why should we support a market just for the sake of supporting it when there are products out there in the mainstream we could buy and use at no extra cost? And why should an organisation that is meant to be supporting the blind and Visually impaired stand in the way of those companies attempting to do what they can to make their products accessible? Why pick at the smallest thing you can find wrong and create a legal case about it? Shouldn’t these organisations work with this company to help the visually impaired community? We all know that many VI users can operate a mac, ipod nano, ipod shuffle and now the Iphone with no sighted assistance, so why does the NfB continually try to discount these facts? They are facts. no one can deny that. People operate these products both at a professional and personal level each and every day. I can only draw the conclusion that the NFB are aware of this but do not want to admit it for underlying reasons.

To those individuals who enjoy windows and their chosen screen reader, I’m glad for you. That is your choice. But please stop discounting the wonders what apple have done for not just our community but so many others. It is trying and that is far more than I can say about so many others. Would I kiss apple’s feet? Possibly not, but I would like to thank them and applaud what they have done, and continue to do for me as an avid computer and general technology user. What they have done is beyond my expectations and the thing is, I know in my apple shaped heart, there is so much more to come.

To the NFB, ACB, and to anyone who discounts what apple are doing, just sit back and wait and see, because I guarantee, there are greater things to come from this company who are about all of their customers, not just the general population.

Iphone 3 GS, worth it?

June 22, 2009

So on Friday I made it to the apple store to purchase my Iphone. Once there, I dove in and bought it, not even having played with it at the store. I figured why not? That is how much trust I had in Apple.

So I had it all activated in the Apple store, as usual their staff were impeccable and extremely helpful. Once it got home, I connected it to my trusty mac book and itunes shot up immediately. the phone repeatedly made lots of noises at me, I later discovered it was text messages from my network. So once I had registered the Iphone which was pretty painless, although I had to get my set of eyes to read the phone number on my sim-card, I activated voice over and ejected my iphone as I usually do with my ipod.

It was a strange but wonderful sensation to touch a screen and hear feedback. Up until two weeks previously, I never thought that this would be possible, for a visually impaired person to use a touch screen on a phone, let alone a popular phone like the iphone. I assumed at some point Apple would extend their access to all policy to its many products but I expected this technological advance to be a year or two away at least. But here it was, my shiny new 16 gig Iphone, ready and waiting for me to explore.

Findings so Far

Turning on the Phone

Once you have set your phone up, familiarise yourself with the buttons the Iphone has. to the upper right hand corner is the power button.
To turn the power on, hold it for a few seconds. There is no audio feedback but once the phone has loaded, it will play a jingle and voice over will start to speak if you have it enabled.

To the left hand side of the handset, on the side of the phone are your volume buttons. the top one is your volume up, the bottom volume down.

At the bottom of the phone is your home button, very useful for many things.


At the bottom of your phone is your power/cable connector exactly the same as the Ipod nano cable adapter. This port will sync your phone and charge it. Note that you can externally charge with the power cord and the adapter for power outlet and also on your computer.

At the top left hand top edge of your phone is the 3.55 mm head phone socket. This is a great thing as most headphones sold are 3.55 and if you have a set you like to use for personal reasons it is likely you will be able to use your own.

Home screen

Status Bars and Indicators

So your home screen is what you see when you turn your phone on. It kind of reminds me of the doc on the mac. At the top left hand corner is your carrier’s status and if you have Wifi on or your 3G status.

this is very useful as it gives the feedback of bars of network coverage and of the level of the wifi connection.

On the right hand side of the screen, at the top gives the time and battery indicator. Finally, I have a phone that gives me the percentage rather than the visual bars. I do like the descriptiveness of the status bars. These bars are always visible, no matter what app you are in or where you are on the phone.

Page 1

On your home page as default, here is what is listed in the top row
Messaging, calendar, photos,camera.
The next row shows you:
youtube, stocks, Maps, weather.
The next row shows you:
voice memos, notes, clock, calculator.
And the final row on the first page is:
settings, Itunes, app Store, Compass

Move your finger around the screen and with one finger only tapp twice to activate the app you would like to view more of. I won’t go into details just now on each App, guides will be coming soon but I will say that the apps that come on the phone are mostly accessible from what I can tell.

Bottom of screen

You may be asking yourself where Mail, safari and phone apps are. They are seemingly on the home page but it does seem like they are there all of the time. Fore example, I have a few other apps on my phone now and they all appear on page 2 but Safari, phone, Mail are all still visible at the bottom along with Ipod.

Voice Over gestures

Move finger around the screen will highlight any item.
Tap twice with one finger selects/activates the app/button/edit area etc
One finger flip to the left or right highlights the previous/next item on the screen respectively.
Three finger swipe up or down scrolls up or down.
[especially useful in Safari]
Two finger tap twice either ends or answers a call or starts or stops playing music depending on where you are.
Turning your fingers in a rotatory movement like you are turning a dial highlight either words or characters on the home screen or elements of a webpage in safari.

And there are probably more that I will add when I either remember them or come across them.

Conclusion so Far

I do love the Iphone and keep observing new ways to do things. It took me a while to get used to the typing but I am getting there slowly now. It’s fast, especially compared to my old nokia and the speech is excellent. was it worth the money I paid for prepay? Absolutely! I just wish I wasn’t tied to O2 but hey what can ya do? It’s a snappy, easy to use phone, completely accessible out of the box with the prospects of having apps designed for it to make everyone’s lives easier. I am super pleased with Apple, they did it again and be sure to stay tuned for several podcasts and blogs over the next few weeks to explore different apps on the iphone. I intend to use the maps feature, a lot of social networking clients and who knows what else?

All I can say is excellent job Apple and keep the amazing achievements coming.

It Is Promised to deliver! Iphone 3GS

June 9, 2009

So after two hours of anticipation, my patience paid off. During the closing minutes of wWDC Keynote, the Iphone 3GS was announced to have accessibility with voice over built in. The new technology promises to deliver the universal access that apple boast for visually impaired and hearing impaired iphone users.

This is exciting to say the least, especially now that a phone out of the box will be ready for everyone to use. Apple were very insistent that you actually don’t need any sighted assistance and I for one was glad to hear that emphasis. so much of our society’s attitude dismisses the want and need of visually impaired people to be independent. so props to apple in that respect.

So you want to hear what the Iphone promises? I will give a brief outline but until I physically play with the phone, I am still a little bemused about how to do certain things. To see what apple have written about the Iphone and accessibility in regards to vision then Click here!

Briefly, the new technology means that a visually impaired user can now use the popular touch screen of the Iphone with the assistance of Voice over, mac’s innovative screen reader that comes built into the Os. As you place your fingers on the screen and move them around, voice over speaks the items beneath your fingers. Unlike the sighted users, VI users tap twice to activate an item on the screen.

Flip technology helps to move between characters or I’m guessing up and down menus, etc. The rotary wheel that they have introduced, allows a VO user to jump between elements on a webpage or change VO settings on the fly.

The voice activation feature sounds like it will be very interesting to use along side VO, giving VI users that much extra leeway and choice of how to use their iphone.

I have to say, this will take some getting used too but it’s a challenge I am excited to undertake. Praise to Apple for even attempting this feet that most of us were not expecting for another year or two. We knew it would happen on some scale but it is definitely sounding promising from what the website details. And we will all know once the Iphone 3GS hit stores, won’t we?

My only, and this is my only criticism of Apple and the Iphone. I really wish they were not limited to one network. This appears to only be happening in the US and the UK. i did hear Australia is not limited to a network and I only wish apple would implement that world wide. I will still have one, and just run out my contract on another network but it is a real pain in the ass. And I know some of my US acquaintances have informed me that upgrading customers are paying way more than the standard price. It does seem unfair and maybe in a few years to come, this will be sorted.

But let’s end on a positive note. The Iphone is here with accessibility and soon we will be able to see how accessible Apple have managed to make it.

Iphone and Voice Over

June 8, 2009

So WwDC happened today and thousands of people have now learned what apple promises to deliver. Snow Leopard is due September and at a discount price for Leopard users. Very nice. New macbooks have been revealed with much higher processors etc. Very cool. And The iphone now has voice over.

wait! What?

Yes no need to go back and read again, I did say the Iphone 3GS has now got voice over built in. All you need is a mac or a p.c. with screen reader technology like voice over or Window Eyes, itunes 8.2 your shiny new Iphone and you are ready to go.

I will write a more detailed account of how to use the iphone once I get my hands on one. And I am afraid you will have to wait a few weeks as the pretty new phone is not available until June 19TH.

It has to be said, this is a very exciting moment in any disabled person’s life. Finally, a company has continually gone beyond its legal obligation in providing accessibility to all. First it was voice over on the macs. Then the wonderful voice of alex. Then the ipod nanos, followed by the shuffle with voice over built in, and now the iphone. Apple just keeps making me smile. Accessibility to all is what they aim for and they are succeeding incredibly. a few months ago, not many people thought this version of the iphone would have full accessibility and here it is. All ready to be shipped and to be used by us the consumer.

What I like, no correction, love about Apple is the fact that they continue to improve their products for everyone and when they say everyone, they mean it. At last, a company is not excluding the minority groups and is including the ability in its products to make them usable for all straight out of the box. No expensive third party applications, nothing to crash their system, just plain and simple tested products that come already enabled, at no extra cost.

So here is my personal big thank you to Apple. Keep up the good work and I hope that the iphone is as amazing as it sounds. If it lives up to the legacies of your other accessible products, i see no reason why it wouldn’t be.

Thank you Apple Inc. The true company for all!