National Federation of the Blind says ‘Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company’

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 12.50.00 PM

Last week, inaccurate reporting emerged in regards to Apple’s work on making its products accessible to all consumers. As many Apple customers are aware, and as CEO Tim Cook takes extremely seriously, Apple works hard to ensure that Macs, iPhones, iPods, and iPads can be used to their full extent by people who are deaf or blind, for example. In response to the reporting (Philip Elmer-DeWitt has a good summary of the original reporting and takedowns at Fortune), Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, has published a comprehensive blog post describing Apple’s work on accessibility, the technology industry as a whole, the resolution regarding iOS device accessibility, and what can be done to improve accessibility of third-party apps into the future.

The full blog post can be read here, but here is a key line that should further dispute last week’s inaccurate reports: “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date, and we have duly recognized this by presenting the company with at least two awards (including our annual Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award) and publicly praising it whenever the opportunity arises.” The blog post goes on to explain that the Federation believes Apple could work further with App Store developers on making all of the more than one million App Store apps more accessible to all users. “We simply want Apple to continue to discuss with us what measures the company can put in place to ensure accessibility,” the blog post reads.

It is also worth watching Cook’s speech regarding human rights and accessibility, below:

Read more

Coming in iOS 8: WiFi calling, Tips app, FaceTime call waiting, iBooks preinstalled, much more

iOS-8-features

There’s a lot of new features coming in iOS 8 that you might have missed during Apple’s presentation today. Apple briefly flashed the slide pictured above and in it listed a bunch of new features that it didn’t talk about in length or at all during its keynote. Some of them include a “Tips app”, panorama on iPad, WiFi calling, FaceTime call waiting, rich text editing in Notes, iBooks preinstalled, and accessibility improvements like multi-device support for MFi hearing aids and the ability to exit Guided Access mode using TouchID. Read more

How-to: Enable and customize subtitles and captioning during video playback on iOS 7

Screenshot 2014-02-13 17.29.57iOS devices are built with all users in mind: they come with several accessibility features for low-vision or legally blind users, hard-of-hearing or deaf users, individuals who have physical and motor difficulties, and individuals with learning
difficulties.

In this accessibility segment, we will be discussing how to use and customize subtitles and captioning.

Read more

Tim Cook voices his fight for equality at Auburn University Lifetime Achievement event [video]

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is not known for many video recorded public appearances outside of Apple events, spoke at length regarding equality at an Auburn University event. At the event, Cook accepted Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Lifetime Achievement award. AllThingsD first wrote about Cook’s appearance and notes Cook’s discussion of two of his inspirations: Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy:

“They sacrificed everything, including their lives, as champions of human rights and of human dignity,” Cook said. “Their images inspire me. They serve as a reminder to me every day that regardless of the path that one chooses, there are fundamental commitments that should be a part of one’s journey.”

Cook also quotes the late Nelson Mandela (who Apple is currently honoring on its homepage). Interestingly, Cook’s quote from Martin Luther King is the same one that he sent via video to Apple employees late in November. “The time is always right to do what’s right,” the quote reads. The video (above) of Cook is well worth a watch for the life lessons it provides. Cook also provides insight into Apple’s approach to making its technologies accessible for everyone.

Read more

How-to: Take advantage of Zoom and Large Text in OS X Mavericks

zoom_titleimage

OS X Mavericks has numerous features and settings that make text and images more visible. In this article, I will discuss many options and methods to take advantage of those features in different ways. In pointing out many different ways, I hope to help you find a method that will be a good fit for you.

Use System Preferences, Displays Settings:
Access System Preferences from the dock or the Apple on the menu bar, and click on Displays. Then click on the Display tab. Choose Scaled, and the different resolution settings available are displayed. The options available vary, depending upon what resolution your model of the computer is capable of displaying. Adjust the settings by choosing different options—the lower the numbers are in the setting, the larger objects will be displayed. Below are examples of the display setting options you will see on a white MacBook, an older iMac, and a MacBook Pro with Retina display …  Read more

Review: Wibbitz for iPhone creates video summaries from news articles

logo-negative-1920

Wibbitz is a free innovative news-reader app for iPhone that creates a video summary of text articles from major news outlets. It features political, sports, business, technology, and entertainment news providers such as CNN, BBC, Huffington Post, FOX, TMZ, and Sports Illustrated. Some specific local outlets such as the Jerusalem Post, UK Telegraph and Korea News are also available. The app summarizes the text and images in the articles into videos between one and two minutes long.

Read more

Review + Giveaway: Velocity helps you get through your reading list faster

Icon

Velocity is a new speed reader app for your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad that helps you read faster by presenting one word at a time using a technique called Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. Studies have shown that using Rapid Serial Visual Presentation helps increase reader’s reading speed because it forces the reader to stop reading out loud inside their head (subvocalization), and suppresses the tendency for eyes to backtrack the line while reading and searching for the end of the sentence. Generally a reader’s average reading speed is two hundred words per minute, but Velocity supports reading speeds up to one thousand words per minute.

Read more

How-to: Use iOS’s Guided Access feature

Screen Shot 2013-09-08 at 11.56.15 AM

iOS devices are built with all users in mind: they come with several accessibility features for low-vision or legally blind users, settings for hard-of-hearing or deaf users, settings for individuals who have physical and motor difficulties, and settings for individuals with learning difficulties.

In this accessibility segment, I will be discussing how to use Guided Access.

Guided Access is an accessibility feature that came out with iOS 6. Guided Access enables you to set up the iOS device so that you cannot leave apps, and you are able to control which features of the app you are allowed to use or not use. There are a lot of great benefits and applications for this (listed in no particular order):

Read more

How-to: Make accessible iBooks with iBooks Author

iBooks Author EULA

Apple takes pride making sure its products and software is made for every user, including students and teachers in the classroom. iPads are being used more and more throughout the classroom. To assist with this, Apple, last year, launched iBooks Author. iBooks Author is a free app, available in the Mac App Store that allows users to create interactive iBooks.

In this accessibility segment, I will be discussing how to make create accessible iBooks using iBooks Author

Read more

How-to: Have your iOS device read text for you

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 11.20.23 PM

iOS devices are built with all users in mind: they come with several accessibility features for low-vision or legally blind users, settings for hard-of-hearing or deaf users, settings for individuals who have physical and motor difficulties, and settings for individuals with learning difficulties.

In this accessibility segment, I will be discussing how to make text speakable on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch:

Read more