Apple’s accessibility videos shine light on how its tools change lives

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Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 12.04.29
Apple's "Designed for" videos focus on accessibility.
Photo: Apple

In keeping with its trend of highlighting regular users in its ads, Apple has debuted a new series of videos on its YouTube channel, showing how Apple’s Accessibility features can help users in their everyday lives.

The seven “Designed for” videos, each running under two minutes, highlight stories like a visually-impaired DJ who uses Apple’s award-winning VoiceOver feature, or a sport-playing teenager unable to use her natural voice, but able to communicate using the TouchChat app on her iPad.

Check them out below.

Forget taking photos — the iPhone’s flash is way more useful than that

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iPhone plus camera
Flashlight, heart-rate-monitor, mosquito killer… The iPhone's LED lamp is a real multitool.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone’s Quad-LED True Tone flash is pretty good as camera flashes go, but you should never use it to take actual photos, unless you want shiny-faced, red-eyed people in your portraits. Instead, you should put it to work in more useful applications. And no, we don’t just mean using it as a flashlight next time you take a trip into the basement.

How to set up and track Apple Watch wheelchair workouts

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Apple watch wheelchair exercise
Apple Watch now supports wheelchair users.
Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

People in wheelchairs no longer get treated like second-class citizens when it comes to Apple Watch’s fitness-tracking features. With the recent watchOS 3.0 update, which brings lots of big changes to the fitness-oriented wearable, Apple Watch wheelchair workouts can be tracked after a quick and easy setup.

Miss Apple’s MacBook Pro keynote? Stream it!

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Tim Cook was short on surprises at the 'Hello Again' keynote.
Tim Cook was short on surprises at the 'Hello Again' keynote.
Photo: Apple

Apple debuted the all-new MacBook Pro and its gorgeous Touch Bar at an event this morning, but if weren’t able to catch the action at work, you can now watch all the videos online.

The full video for the “Hello Again” keynote can be streamed from Apple’s website. Apple also uploaded five new videos to YouTube featuring the history of the MacBook Pro, the new Touch Bar and Accessibility features.

Watch them all below:

Apple Stores to start stocking accessibility products in 2016

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Apple's focus on accessibility isn't going unrecognized.
Apple is stepping up its focus on accessibility.
Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly set to start selling new accessibility-related peripherals and accessories for both Mac and iOS in its brick-and-mortar Apple Stores as well as online.

The accessories, which are reported to be going on sale in the first quarter of calendar year 2016, are designed to help users with disabilities to better engage with Apple products.

How to get Hey Siri-style dictation on your Mac

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Ah, dictation on your Mac. What could be better?
Ah, dictation on your Mac. What could be better?
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

If you’ve called out, “Hey Siri” to your iPhone before, you know the joy of this Star Trek-style technology. You don’t even need to hold the Home button down. Sure, your iPhone needs to be plugged in, but it’s a pretty neat party trick.

Excitingly, you can do something similar on your Mac: activating dictation with a voice command. The next time you get a great idea and need to document it, you can just call to your Mac and dictate it right then. No pen, no paper, no walking all the way to your keyboard.

Here’s how.

How to make Siri (awkwardly) read any e-book to you

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Siri storytime
Great. Now I'm going to be up even longer administering the Voight-Kampff Test to all of these sheep.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Siri is a handy virtual assistant. It’ll fetch information for you, send texts, and even tell you a joke if you ask it repeatedly (Siri is a little shy at first). But did you know that it can also narrate e-books?

If you can’t get enough of that lovely robot voice, here’s how to make your favorite literature come to synthetic life.

What Tim Cook really said about Apple’s commitment to people with disabilities

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Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web
Tim Cook onstage at the 2014 WWDC. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/The Next Web

The devil is in the details: Tim Cook said that Apple’s commitment to accessibility is so complete that the Cupertino company never looks at the return on investment but considers it “just and right.”

That’s a pretty different picture than the one venerable news org Reuters painted by giving a quick chop to his comments in a piece about blind app users seeking more accessibility from Apple.