Blind surfer shows how iPhone’s VoiceOver feature is a game-changer

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Scott Leason
Blind veteran Scott Laeson paddling out to surf.
Photo: Apple

Apple gave fans a heartwarming glimpse at how the iPhone and Apple Watch have helped a blind veteran gain more independence on his path to becoming a competition-winning surfer.

In a new post on its website, Apple shared a story about longboard surfer Scott Leason. After his time serving as a signalman in the U.S. Navy, Leason lost both of his eyes to a robber’s bullet in 1993. Getting used to his new life without sight took getting used to, but when Leason got his first iPhone in 2012, it was a gamechanger.

Nearly a quarter of Apple employees plan to delete Facebook accounts

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Facebook data breach
Some Apple employees are thinking of deleting their Facebook accounts.
Photo: Cult of Mac

The recent Facebook data breach freaked out several Apple employees enough for them to consider deleting their accounts, according to an anonymous survey of tech employees by the app Blind.

Of 256 Apple employees who responded to Blind’s survey, 22 percent said they will close out their Facebook accounts, while another 20 percent said they were not on Facebook.

Apple hardware, smart clothing could guide the blind and deaf

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smart clothing
Apple is developing a device and some type of wearable that could help the deaf and blind
Photo: Apple/USPTO

Apple is developing technology that would combine a cylindrical device and possibly smart clothing to provide blind and deaf people tactile or auditory signals to navigate their environments.

According to a patent application filed by Apple today, the device would map the environment with sensor data and provide feedback. For the blind, the device could sync with an iPhone to provide spoken feedback to the blind. For the deaf, vibrating signals could be delivered to a wearable, such as a shirt or the Apple Watch.

Apple should do more for blind app users, says advocacy group

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VoiceOver controls in iOS

Screenshot: Cult of Mac

UPDATE: Reuters didn’t use Tim Cook’s complete remarks, we’ve posted them here.

Apple should do more to improve accessibility for its apps, says an advocacy group, supported by members of the National Federation of the Blind.

“It’s time for Apple to step up or we will take the next step,” NFB of California board member Michael Hingson told Reuters. The advocacy group successfully sued Apple regarding iTunes back in 2008, with Apple paying out $250,000 and giving the service an accessibility-minded makeover as part of the settlement. While it may not reach the level of a repeat lawsuit, Hingson says that this could be “the only resort” to force Apple’s hand.

Apple Patents Graphical Interface For The Visually Impaired

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Screen_Shot_2014-03-25_at_10

Apple was granted a patent on Tuesday related to a GUI modified for disabled users of iOS devices and MacBooks.

Entitled “Devices, Methods & GUI’s for Accessibility using a Touch-Sensitive Surface,” the patent describes several methods for allowing a person with impaired vision to use a touch-sensitive surface, including a touch screen display or a track pad.

Fleksy, An Amazingly Smart iPhone Keyboard App For The Blind

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Blind? Then you’re most likely reading this post on an iOS device, because no other platform has quite the same great level of accessibility options built-in. But that still doesn’t help you when you want to write (unless using Voiceover to find the individual keys is your thing). But I bring good news! Fleksy is a new app which takes predictive text to a ridiculous new level.