Smartphones

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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Video on demand

Traditional video formats such as DVDs have been completely outpaced by video-on-demand services such as iTunes, Netflix, Google Play, Telstra Bigbond, Foxtel on Demand, and myriad streaming services. These allow users to purchase TV shows, movies and other content and play them on a mobile device, computer, or smart TV.

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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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Meet Georgie, the app enhancing Android phones for blind users

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A vision impaired couple from the UK have come up with an app that improves the way blind or vision impaired people use phones. The app for Android smartphones, called Georgie, combines screen reader technology and add-on features that make it easier to use.

Designed by Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds, the app comes with core features as well as add-on packs that can be purchased according to user needs. The core features include screen reader and speech-to-text technology. Users can navigate the app menu and receive audio feedback, according to where their fingers are on the screen. Users can also dictate text messages which will then be read out by the screen reader before it is sent to another user.

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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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