iPhone

Apple Maps misses accuracy but shows accessibility

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Last week when Apple released iOS 6, the software for its mobile devices, many critics pointed out the shortcomings of the newly created Apple Maps app. The app replaced Google Maps, which was the default navigation app used in all iOS devices until the release of iOS 6. Media Access Australia tested how the Apple Maps app works with the default screen reader, VoiceOver, on an iPhone 4S and found that while there are some obvious holes, there are some new features that show Apple is considering accessibility in its app development.

General

To echo what many other critics have expressed, Maps shows some inaccuracy in the mapping content that it provides. The level of detail that the app provides is minimal at this stage and as many have reported, some landmarks are misrepresented.

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Apple iOS 6 accessibility

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The release of iOS 6, the latest version of Apple's operating system for mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad, has come with new features that improve accessibility.

There are a number of new features that have been introduced by the iOS software update. These include:


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Rival to Siri could enhance app accessibility

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A voice-activated virtual assistant tool called Nina could improve the accessibility of smartphone apps. Developed by Nuance Communications, the rival to Apple’s Siri will give users the option to use their voice to perform tasks on their phones, increasing usability for people with a disability.

This week, Nuance released the software development kit so developers can begin to integrate Nina into their apps. The virtual assistant technology can be used across both Android and Apple iOS apps.

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Google Maps make Sydney public transport directions accessible

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Google and Transport New South Wales have teamed up to introduce Sydney public transport directions to the Google Maps app.  After testing, we can safely say that accessibility has been a key consideration in the feature’s development.

Media Access Australia staff tested the public transport option in the Google Maps app for iPhone and found it is accessible via the VoiceOver screen reader. This means people who are blind or vision impaired will now have greater access to information on Sydney’s trains, buses, ferries and light rail services when using the Google Maps app on the Apple iPhone.

Information that can be accessed through the public transport option on the Google Maps app includes:

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