Apple’s breakthroughs in accessibility technology are being honored by the American Foundation for the Blind today. The organization announced that Apple is among four recipients of this year’s Hellen Keller Award, which well be presented at a special gala in New York City on June 18th.
Along with this morning’s iOS 8.1.3 update, Apple also has some new goodies for Mac users with the release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2.
The update fixes a problem that caused Wi-Fi to disconnect. The latest version also includes a number of bug fixes for Spotlight, Bluetooth headphones, iCloud Drive and VoiceOver, while also improving stability and security in Safari.
The update is available now in the Mac App Store. Here’s a full list of the changes:
I personally can’t stand audiobooks except under one specific condition. I like them when I drive long distances. There’s something about listening to a book being read to me that puts me to sleep if I’m anywhere else, but for some reason, I’m able to listen in the car.
Now, I purchase a lot of iBooks, but not many audiobooks. One reason is that they’re more expensive, but I mainly avoid them for the reasons above. However, when I next take a cross-country trip in a car, I’m going to use this tip to turn the written iBooks into ones I can listen to off of my iPhone or iPad.
Twitterrific, one of my favorite Twitter clients on iOS, got a new update this week that adds Readability integration for bookmarking tweets you want to catch up with later, as well as support for image hosting service Droplr. The update also comes with a ton of bug fixes and improvements.
Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS hasn’t always been as accessible as Apple’s own iBooks, but that changed today with a new update that adds VoiceOver support, among other new accessibility features. Kindle will now read aloud over 1.8 million books, allowing those who are visually impaired to kick back and listen to their favorite titles.
Accessibility is a priority to the designers and engineers at Apple. They have built some amazing software right into each operating system, from OS X to iOS, all for no etra charge and no need to add extra programs on to be able to use the products if you have a visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive disability.
But if you don’t have a disability (yet–we’re all just a lucky step or two away), you can take advantage of these systems for yourself or other family members.
VoiceOver is the name of the amazing text-to-speech feature in iOS and Mac OS X that allows those with visual impairments to use their Apple devices right out of the box, without needing help from a sighted person. On the iPhone or iPad, it empowers those with a visual disability to become more independent and function on a day to day basis in a world that isn’t really set up for them.
As an individual without a visual impairment (aside from a slight nearsightedness), I use VoiceOver to have my iPhone read to me when I’m in the car but need to catch up on email or want to hear what folks are doing on Twitter. Here’s how to set that up.
Tap Tap See is a camera app for blind people. Sure, any partially or non-sighted person could just snap bad, out-of-focus pictures of their shoes, or of the backs of their friends heads, with any camera app. But only Tap Tap See will then say to them, out loud, “Shoes,” or “Head.”
You see, Tap Tap See is like a sighted assistant that never grow tired of you asking “what’s that?”
Stitcher Radio for iOS has today been updated to add a nifty new “Topic Search” feature that helps listeners discover trending topics across more than 15,000 shows. The update also brings better episode management, improved Voiceover mode, performance improvements, and more.