So what's all this craze for Apple products these days? Well, to put it into 3 words, built-in accessibility; a concept that has finally been implemented within the computer world. In other words, buy any current Mac product and it's accessible out of the box. No need to buy or install extra 3rd party screen readers or large print programs. it's all integral to the operating system.
I'll be honest, I don't like learning new concepts. Especially if there is a learning curve and there definitely is one with the IDevices. But, here's the thing. Learn to use one Mac device and you can apply what you learned to all of them.
Keeping up with the cool kids on the block:
So I finally bought an IPod Touch. I figured this would be the most cost effective way of introducing myself to the Apple world. First thing I did was borrow a pair of eyeballs to turn on the screen reader which is aptly named VoiceOver. You can find this option under settings, general, accessibility, Voiceover. From there, I started flicking around. For those who have never encountered the IDevices, here's a quick basic description of the controls.
These devices are composed of a touch screen, a home button and volume up down. The home button is located at the bottom middle of the device, under the touch screen. Features and size will differ throughout the family of IDevices.
So back to flicking.
Using a finger, you can move the screen cursor to various icons. Slowly sliding your finger left, right, up and down will let you feel the structure of the screen layout. Swiping quickly left or right will move sequentially through the icons. A double tap will activate an icon. Pressing the Home button, will bring you to the main screen.
That's it. Congratulations. You're up and running with your device. Okay, there's a bit more of course, but you can definitely use the product after learning these simple gestures. There are a few things that need getting used to. For example, the on screen keyboard can be a bit challenging at first. I've heard rumors that you can use a virtual Braille input keyboard on the IPad, however I haven't confirmed this yet.
Using the virtual dial pad on the IPhone can also be daunting, however it gets easier once you get a mental picture of the layout. Remember what I said about learning curve?
Practice, Practice, Practice:
The best way to get acquainted with your IDevice and accessibility is to find tutorials.
A great repository of such things would be the Blind Cool Tech site, found at:
Mike Arrigo has a series of podcasts on all sorts of Apple products.
You can also practice your VoiceOver gestures under the VoiceOver settings menu.
And here's a link to a list of applications which will work on the IPhone or the IPod.
The main Mac Accessibility page also has good information:
Want a free scanning program for your IPhone? In comes SayText. Watch a video for this program at:
Please note, the current IPod Touch does not have a camera, although I hear the next generation will.
Welcome to the Apple world! There's no turning back.