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Software Update Makes iTunes Accessible To Blind Users

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the rockbox-already-has-voice-guidance-note dept.

Media (Apple) 148

rickthewizkid writes "Recent updates to the iTunes software allow blind users to access the program without assistance. From the article: 'The new software — which transforms the written information on an iTunes-linked computer screen into speech or Braille — stemmed from an agreement between Apple, the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer company, the National Federation of the Blind and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.'" It's not just the actual iTunes app, though; the article notes that this update makes iTunes U useable as well.

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penis? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189355)

that's what i'm talking 'bout...

Re:penis? (3, Funny)

martinw89 (1229324) | about 6 years ago | (#25189621)

that's what i'm talking 'bout...

Unfortunately, blind people won't hear you.

Re:penis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189659)

Or, I suppose I should have said:

"Unfortunately, blind people will hear you."

Re:penis? (1)

stonedcat (80201) | about 6 years ago | (#25189703)

huh?

Re:penis? (2, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 6 years ago | (#25190215)

Shh... speak softly and he wont be able to see you...

Re:penis? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 years ago | (#25192469)

im sure a prescription from Dr. Sbaitso will clear that up.

iPod Nano speaks navigation and song titles too (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189359)

Part of the same effort. User may turn on larger text, or enable spoken items from within iTunes.

Re:iPod Nano speaks navigation and song titles too (-1, Troll)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#25189849)

So with the larger text on the iPod Nano you get like, what, 1 letter on the screen at a time?

Indeed (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190097)

It has come to my aattention, slashdot writer, that you are a gay homosexual. This is true to a 50% degree of certainty or maybe you are a straight heterosexual. In any case, whatever.

Re:iPod Nano speaks navigation and song titles too (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25190411)

good on them. i hope other portable device makers will follow in their footsteps.

i was going to suggest that Sony should add accessibility features to the PSP, but the PSP's media player is still pretty much a bare-bone audio player. after all these firmware updates, the PSP still doesn't support playlists, much less the advanced media browsing features of the iPod (genres, artists, albums, etc.).

though i don't have much use for it, adding accessibility features for the blind would at least be more productive than releasing constant firmware updates that are simply made to break backwards-compatibility with old firmware versions. i don't understand why Sony would waste development resources on their vain attempts to combat piracy, which also has the perhaps intentional effect of hindering homebrew development--something that actually adds value to the PSP and benefits users much more than the useless firmware updates.

i guess it'll be up to the homebrew community once again to add this neglected feature.

Re:iPod Nano speaks navigation and song titles too (2)

cyber-dragon.net (899244) | about 6 years ago | (#25190601)

I am all for accessibility for the blind and deaf but talking about adding this to a visual gaming system? That is going a little far don't you think?

Re:iPod Nano speaks navigation and song titles too (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 6 years ago | (#25190705)

the PSP is a portable entertainment device, it doesn't just pay games. i use it to listen to audiobooks and read e-books more often than i actually play games on it these days. i mean, there are blind computer users even though computers use a visual display for most output.

Re:iPod Nano speaks navigation and song titles too (2, Informative)

Rich0 (548339) | about 6 years ago | (#25192127)

Interesting.

I use Rockbox and I've noticed that a large number of Rockbox users are blind (I am not). Rockbox has supported voice prompts for quite a long time now - obviously the word has gotten out since many of these users are not the sorts of people who would be flashing custom firmware onto an mp3 player otherwise. A fair amount of effort has been devoted to accessibility on the project, and I don't think that many other mp3 players can make that claim.

You insensitive Claud! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189373)

I'm deaf!

Re:You insensitive Claud! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189441)

Don't be a jerk, you could always see iTunes just fine. What next a guy in a wheelchair mad cause an armless guy is given the ability to type. "Word is accessible to armless people, but I can't walk you insensitive claud." Jesus, do you want your own parking space near the front of every store too?

Re:You insensitive Claud! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189691)

whoosh!

Good start Apple (3, Insightful)

rampant mac (561036) | about 6 years ago | (#25189405)

Now how about incorporating this into every Cocoa app? Provide developers with an API so they can use it as well.

Re:Good start Apple (5, Informative)

ThrowAwaySociety (1351793) | about 6 years ago | (#25189513)

http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Accessibility/Reference/AccessibilityLowlevel/index.html [apple.com]

The problem was largely with the Windows version of iTunes, as well as the Music Store, which uses non-standard windows. But basic accessibility is built into OS X (they tell me its a little more clunky than the screen-readers for Windows, but it is free and built-in)

Turn it on in the Universal Access pane. Try using it; you'll probably give up in frustration after about five minutes. Makes you appreciate having good eyesight.

Yeah but what about (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189595)

itunes for the deaf?

And then there's the apple tax I have to pay on speaker and optical 7.1 audio I don't need. Apple forces me to buy them rather than making it an option.

Down with apple!

SUCK ON A SHIT COATED DICK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190105)

Macs... they are for homos.

Re:Good start Apple (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 6 years ago | (#25190887)

In addition, while they've added Closed Captions capabilities to iPods, iTunes and Quicktime, the shows on the store don't have them. Would be really nice if they could fix that.

Re:Good start Apple (1)

tyrione (134248) | about 6 years ago | (#25191039)

OSXAXModel [apple.com]

Awesome! (4, Informative)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 6 years ago | (#25189427)

As someone who has worked extensivly with the blind I have to say, its about time! I love the Mac but in so many ways it is difficult for blind or near-blind users. I hope Safari and other apps follow soon.

Re:Awesome! (2, Funny)

narcberry (1328009) | about 6 years ago | (#25189633)

If only they would make it more accessible to the deaf.

Re:Awesome! (3, Interesting)

The Iso (1088207) | about 6 years ago | (#25189889)

Actually, many deaf people enjoy music. They experience vibrations from loud music in a way that you cannot, and appreciate rhythm. They also enjoy the experience of a concert; venues are required by law to provide interpreters for the deaf upon request.

Beethoven, as we all know, continued to compose brilliant works even after he was completely unable to hear.

Re:Awesome! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190177)

Yeah, but he didn't have to listen to it. The best parts of his Ninth Symphony were just an editing of the Choral Fantasy. Have you heard his Eighth? Ugh.

I'm completely in favor of deaf people composing music, as long as I don't have to listen to it. I like writing Chinese poetry, too, but I don't speak Chinese so I just make the little picture-letters look pretty together.

Re:Awesome! (2, Funny)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | about 6 years ago | (#25190283)

Kindly call me the day that there's a DragonForce show that's interpreted for the deaf. I'd pay double the ticket price just to see someone keep up with them.

Re:Awesome! (1)

FinchWorld (845331) | about 6 years ago | (#25191281)

Surely translation would be "Lyrics are unimportant, rock out".

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25192643)

It'd be more something like "Lyrics are unimportant, and so is a decent taste in music, get out."

Re:Awesome! (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | about 6 years ago | (#25192663)

Actually, many deaf people enjoy music. They experience vibrations from loud music in a way that you cannot,

I'd say that anyone who's lived in an apartment has experienced that particular phenomenon. It's not all that fun. Of course, that could be because my neighbors have usually had shitty taste in music.

Re:Awesome! (5, Informative)

gkearney (162433) | about 6 years ago | (#25189937)

Safari and the many other application on the Mac are accessible to the blind. The Mac has a built in screen reader, VoiceOver, that permit the blind as well as the print disabled to have the screen read to them and to navigate to onscreen controls.

Most Cocoa application are, by default, accessible to VoiceOver and there are simple and well documented steps a programmer can do to insure there Macintosh applications are accessible.

Because VoiceOver is built into the OS and not an added services the blind users literally saves $1000s of dollars over the cost of a Windows PC.

Re:Awesome! (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | about 6 years ago | (#25190571)

I stand corrected, this is very nice to know. I will pass it on.

Re:Awesome! (2, Informative)

Dutch Gun (899105) | about 6 years ago | (#25191359)

In XP, just look under Start | All Programs | Accessories | Accessibility... You'll find a number of accessibility programs, including a screen reader, magnifier, and programs to configure manage these features (Vista has these too, of course). What added services are you thinking of that cost $1000s?

There's plenty to knock Microsoft for, but I don't think accessibility support in their OS's is one of them. And honestly, are you seriously trying to tell me that buying a Mac is ever cheaper than a roughly equivalent Windows PC? Macs are great computers, don't get me wrong. But they're also *premium* devices, and cost more than PCs.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Taxman415a (863020) | about 6 years ago | (#25192567)

Clearly you have not actually used the built in screen reader in Windows. (Not that you said you had.) Here's a quote [computerworld.com] :

Narrator, the screen reader built into Windows XP and Vista, is so crude that even Microsoft admits that it is not suitable for daily use.

So the actual alternatives that are usable (JAWS and WindowEyes) do cost about a thousand dollars each. And no VoiceOver, the one that comes built in to OSX, can't compete entirely with those, but it is usable. You can interact with the entire operating system, browse the web etc. It's just as someone else said, a little clunky. It doesn't have the advanced features the other screen readers have. What is nice is that you can sit down at any Mac with updated OSX and hit command-F5 and Voiceover will turn on.

While we're on it, the Gnome screen reader Orca has made big strides recently and is rather usable now for browsing the internet with Firefox 3. It has many of the advanced features the expensive Windows software has, but it's not perfectly stable yet.

Credit where it is due (1)

beetle496 (677137) | about 6 years ago | (#25192821)

Microsoft does do a good job with accessibility, especially Office, but there is no good to be had in overstating their effort.

You'll find a number of accessibility programs

As TaxMan explained in his reply to your post, those are more like utilities than robust features that can be relied upon every day.

And honestly, are you seriously trying to tell me that buying a Mac is ever cheaper than a roughly equivalent Windows PC? Macs are great computers, don't get me wrong. But they're also *premium* devices, and cost more than PCs.

You are trolling. It has been demonstrated repeatedly on /. (and everywhere else on the 'net) that Macs are more than price competative in the mainstream.

For a home or school user (or really anyone who does not have to run Windows) who happens to be blind, going Mac can save the person a thousand bucks!

Re:Awesome! (2, Informative)

gkearney (162433) | about 6 years ago | (#25192973)

In all due respect Narrator is not a screen reader and Microsoft never claimed it was. To gain access to the OS in Windows you will need to buy a Windows screen reader which will add a thousand dollars to the cost of what ever computer you will buy. Or put another way you can buy a entry level Mac for less than the cost of a Windows screen reader itself.

While many here have said that VoiceOver is not as capable as it commercial Windows counterpart I would beg to differ. VoiceOver is fundimentaly different from Windows screen readers in several ways:

VoiceOver is a integrated part of the OS. Therefor it does not attempt to step in an do tasks that the OS does. So it does not need commands to close a window, for example, as the OS provides that already.

Second in Macintosh it is the applications that are changed to become accessible with the screen reader and not the other way around. So we gain accessibility each time a developer follows the rules and improves his applications (Microsoft did you hear that? Microsoft Office for Mac is not accessible but OpenOffice 3 is.)

I would also point out that VoiceOver support most USB braille displays without having to install drivers for them. Anyone who has ever tried to get a braille display running under Windows will see the improvement in that.

Now I'm not one of these Mac fanboys who will urge a Mac where it is not appropriate but for many blind users, and for most dyslexics who require a screen reader, who have usual computer need and who do not need a Windows computer for some specific task a Mac should be considered. It will perform the basic tasks, will cost less at the outset and will cost far less to upgrade over time as there will be not screen reader updates to buy. They support braille. They are less prone to spyware and such and the out of the box voice quality is hard to match on any platform at any price

OSX UI is great (0, Flamebait)

electrosoccertux (874415) | about 6 years ago | (#25189493)

Personally, I never used the screen, anyways. The Mac UI is so wonderful, I just think what I want to open, and it practically opens it for me. Frankly, I don't understand why anyone would use a screen.

Re:OSX UI is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189569)

Silly, the screen is used to keep the embers out of your lungs.

Braille? (2, Interesting)

AaxelB (1034884) | about 6 years ago | (#25189507)

Pray tell, how does a software upgrade convert text into Braille? Does it just display a series of dots on the screen?

Actually, now that I think about it, I'd be interested in the idea of a computer screen which could create slight relief, raising dots for the user to feel. I wonder if that, combined with a stylus for clicking and such, would allow for existing interfaces to be used by blind people... Does such a thing exist?

Re:Braille? (2, Informative)

Korbeau (913903) | about 6 years ago | (#25189609)

Yeah, blind people can see dots but not text =)

Seriously, I think it requires specialized hardware that can somewhat mold some surface into Braille. Or text-to-speech etc (but that doesn't seem to be the case of the article)

I have though seldom seen semi-blind people use specialized (big!) monitors and software that output text "really clearly" (size, contrast) so they can see it.

Re:Braille? (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | about 6 years ago | (#25189643)

Pray tell, how does a software upgrade convert text into Braille? Does it just display a series of dots on the screen?

Yes, if by "display" you mean "raise and lower a set of pins". On Wikipedia, see Braille display [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Braille? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189803)

I wonder what the Blue Screen of Death feels like. Prickly?

Re:Braille? (1)

theurge14 (820596) | about 6 years ago | (#25190827)

Wet and sticky.

Re:Braille? (1)

SlowMovingTarget (550823) | about 6 years ago | (#25190957)

The Braille warning, when translated back to Roman text, reads "You may feel a slight pinch."

Re:Braille? (3, Informative)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | about 6 years ago | (#25189711)

Sort of. The interface is rather remarkable. See

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refreshable_Braille_display [wikipedia.org]

Re:Braille? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 6 years ago | (#25192277)

It was used in the 1992 movie Sneakers. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please leave your geek card at the front desk on your way out. d:

Nice headline but isn't 1990 calling back? (2, Insightful)

Korbeau (913903) | about 6 years ago | (#25189547)

I must confess, I'm not really following what is going on in helping the disabled in the technology field, but I know it's been a big issue since at least one decade and I thought it had somewhat been solved at the OS / standards / specialized hardware level.

I'm kindof shocked by this headline ... and also wondering what is the current state of supporting the blinds in other apps than iTune nowadays? Is iTune (pre-patched) the exception or the norm?

Re:Nice headline but isn't 1990 calling back? (-1, Offtopic)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | about 6 years ago | (#25189879)

I must confess, I'm not really following what is going on in helping the disabled in the technology field, but I know it's been a big issue since at least one decade and I thought it had somewhat been solved at the OS / standards / specialized hardware level.

I'm kindof shocked by this headline ... and also wondering what is the current state of supporting the blinds in other apps than iTune nowadays? Is iTune (pre-patched) the exception or the norm?

In Windows it was already fully accessible. I guess OSX doesn't have the same sort of accessibility features, but now at least in iTunes it does.

You guess wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189995)

In Windows it was already fully accessible. I guess OSX doesn't have the same sort of accessibility features, but now at least in iTunes it does.

You guess wrong [apple.com] .

The MUTE button!? (0, Offtopic)

Speare (84249) | about 6 years ago | (#25189555)

Did they add the Dock Menu's MUTE option back into the thing? Seriously, WTF did they remove the mute option in a recent update? I'm playin' my tunes or watching a video, I don't want to go find and PAUSE it, I just want to kill the sound for a sec. while I listen to something else briefly.

Re:The MUTE button!? (1)

woot account (886113) | about 6 years ago | (#25189589)

Then why can't you just use the pause selection in the dock menu? You don't have to go find it to pause it.

Re:The MUTE button!? (1)

Speare (84249) | about 6 years ago | (#25189685)

Maybe your brain paused. I said "without pausing," as maybe I don't want the video to stop.

Re:The MUTE button!? (1)

Drakonik (1193977) | about 6 years ago | (#25189953)

Then you probably need to lay off the porn.

Re:The MUTE button!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190333)

Hit the mute button on your keyboard.

Re:The MUTE button!? (1)

KGIII (973947) | about 6 years ago | (#25191337)

Err... Then he couldn't "listen to something else briefly."

Touchscreens Still Blow For Sightless (0)

meehawl (73285) | about 6 years ago | (#25189581)

Apple's fondness for non-haptic-feedback touchscreens and zero-tactile-feedback panels with a distinct lack of buttons still means that using ipods and iphones without sight is a fraught experience. Rockbox can work on ipods, but it's a much better sightless experience on an older iRiver or Archos with lots of clicky, raised, mechanical buttons.

Re:Touchscreens Still Blow For Sightless (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189959)

Haptic feedback doesn't help if you can't see the screen. And what's a "zero-tactile-feedback panel" if not a non-haptic touch screen?

Products sometimes just flat-out don't work for some people. The iPhone is a poor choice for the blind. That's why there are other products out there, not that ANY cell phone is "good" for a blind user.

"Clicky, raised, mechanical buttons" are only half of the game--you still can't see what's on the screen. Using an iPod is no more difficult than using an iRiver or Archos with buttons, since you can't feel the labels. It has distinct zones and the orientation of controls can be readily determined by touch alone--how many people even take their iPods out of their pockets to use them? None I've seen, unless they need the screen for something.

Honestly, did you even think this comment through in your head before posting?

Re:Touchscreens Still Blow For Sightless (3, Funny)

BMonger (68213) | about 6 years ago | (#25190015)

I use my iPhone every morning without looking at it. I am a master of hitting the snooze area of the screen.

Re:Touchscreens Still Blow For Sightless (1)

iiiears (987462) | about 6 years ago | (#25190277)

Apple just keeps getting better.

Re:Touchscreens Still Blow For Sightless (1)

Confuzzled (443836) | about 6 years ago | (#25191347)

It's much easier to hit the top button for snooze (the sleep/wake switch).

Braille? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189657)

So how do they turn stuff on the screen into Braille? I thought Braille was based on feeling and you can't feel anything useful from the monitor alone.

Re:Braille? (1)

Bambi Dee (611786) | about 6 years ago | (#25189945)

Good question... there're Braille output devices that mechanically display tangible Braille characters by raising the relevant "pixels" in a matrix (or running them by your finger character by character, says Wikipedia). I suppose you'd have to use one of those, or a Braille printer.

What about the dogs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25189767)

Yeah but it scares the hell out of the seeing eye dogs.

It's Good News (1)

madsheep (984404) | about 6 years ago | (#25189845)

It's always good news and encouraging to see progress like this. While it's certainly not a requirement for most parties to have software/websites that are compliant for people with disabilities, it's good to see when things are designed so they can readily use them. In the government public websites and software services are required to be Section 508 compliant -- meaning they work for those with disabilities. This has to do with colors, alt-tags, text placement, etc. One could make an argument that perhaps that same requirements should be levied on companies providing public services, however, I am not making such an argument. However, it would seem it might make business sense in many cases when you have a popular service to make it friendly to those with disabilities (i.e. the blind).

---

On a side note.. not to be insensitive... but I find it absolutely hilarious that as I am writing this response, the Slashdot Google Ads are:

"Next Day Blinds - Official Site of Next Day Blinds. Blinds, Shades, & Shutters" - coincidence? I think not. :)

FAIL: Timothy knows nothing about usabilty (0, Offtopic)

gnugnugnu (178215) | about 6 years ago | (#25189875)

First lesson of usability, learn how to spell it.
Usability.
Usable.

Sure useable is in the dictionary but so is dumbass.

It's not politically correct... (2, Funny)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#25189947)

...to call users who don't understand or care about Apple DRM blind. Think of how insulting it is to the blind.

Re:It's not politically correct... (1)

furball (2853) | about 6 years ago | (#25189971)

Can we call them stupid? Or is that insulting to the er ...stupid?

Welcome to the 80's Apple (1, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 6 years ago | (#25189985)

Windows has always had superior accessibility because it was designed to support full keyboard navigation from its inception. It's impossible to create an application using standard controls that doesn't support the keyboard. Why Apple didn't make their OS work right in this regard with the move to OSX escapes me to this day.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (4, Informative)

Graff (532189) | about 6 years ago | (#25190083)

Windows has always had superior accessibility because it was designed to support full keyboard navigation from its inception. It's impossible to create an application using standard controls that doesn't support the keyboard. Why Apple didn't make their OS work right in this regard with the move to OSX escapes me to this day.

You mean like this [apple.com] :

Full Keyboard Navigation
In Mac OS X, you can use the keyboard to navigate through a document. The Tab key lets you navigate to lists, text boxes, and other controls, and the space bar and Return key let you interact with them.

Keyboard Shortcuts
Using keyboard shortcuts (or key combinations), you can quickly perform a wide range of tasks. In addition to the large number of predefined keyboard shortcuts included with Mac OS X, the Mac lets you customize existing shortcuts, create your own, or remove shortcuts you don't use. Shortcuts can be systemwide or made to work only in specific applications. Use the Keyboard Shortcuts tab in the Keyboard & Mouse pane of System Preferences to add or modify shortcuts.

Slow Keys
If you have motor-skills disabilities, you can use Slow Keys to avoid typing errors and unintended multiple keystrokes.

Adjustable Key Repeat and Delay
If you want to change the Key Repeat or Delay Until Repeat rate to suit your needs, you can do so using the Keyboard & Mouse settings in System Preferences. Used in conjunction with Slow Keys, these settings let you adapt the keyboard to match your abilities and use it more effectively.

Sticky Keys
Using Sticky Keys, you can enter key combinations (called "chords") -- such as Command-Q (for Quit) or Shift-Option-8 (to enter the symbol) -- by pressing them in sequence instead of simultaneously.

When Sticky Keys is active, Mac OS X visually displays each key in the sequence in the upper-right corner of the screen, accompanied by a sound effect, so you can verify the sequence and correct it (if needed) before it's entered. When you press the last key in the sequence, Mac OS X enters the keys as a chord and the visual representation disappears.

Mouse Keys
If you have difficulty controlling the mouse, you can use Mouse Keys to control the mouse pointer using the keys on a numeric keypad. With Mouse Keys, you can navigate menus, the Dock, windows, toolbars, palettes, and other controls by pressing keys.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (2, Informative)

chaboud (231590) | about 6 years ago | (#25190499)

And, well, sorry, but the Windows universe has long been better for blind and near-blind users than the OS X universe. Though Apple has made some serious strides in the past few years, they're still behind.

Simple things, like not tab-stopping commit/cancel buttons, make the process significantly harder for usability programmers and users alike.

Applause should be given for making strides on this front, but Apple is still playing catch-up.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (1)

bidule (173941) | about 6 years ago | (#25190819)

Simple things, like not tab-stopping commit/cancel buttons, make the process significantly harder for usability programmers and users alike.

What's wrong with Enter / Cancel and cmd-D?

And yes, I am a mouse hater that is too lazy to fix the missing shortcuts.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | about 6 years ago | (#25192157)

Windows has better third party support since the companies coding those complex apps and drivers choose Windows over Apple. The Windows accessibility which is built in is a 'fallback' thing. Look to its help if you don't believe me. Blind people use way more advanced apps but... apps doesn't exist on OS X.

When they port to OS X using XCode or when they finally wake up and start porting does Apple refuse to support them? I bet they would even support them for free.

What will Apple do? Bribe them and make them code? Is there a more consistent and documented single user interface rather than OS X?

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (2, Informative)

Yer Mum (570034) | about 6 years ago | (#25192743)

The option is there but by default on Mac OS X tab only jumps to the next text field. If you want to make it jump through all controls you need to enable it in system preferences. I've forgot exactly where it is though...

verbiage, not solution (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 6 years ago | (#25190771)

Have you tried actually using OS X from the keyboard alone? I have, and it doesn't work.

All that verbiage from Apple is just trying to cover up that fact. In particular, the section "Full keyboard navigation" is misleading.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190993)

Not quite -- it's trivially possible to make applications where the tab key skips over controls. Combined with no keyboard shortcut, and you have a control that's only accessible via the mouse. It's sloppy design on the application developer's part, for sure, but the fact that it's possible (and even worse, possible by mistake) is somewhat a shame.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25191035)

I'd love to be able to activate my Mac's menu from the keyboard. There used to be an extension for this under OS9 (can't remember what) but I don't think there's anything for OS X like this.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (1)

SPY_jmr1 (768281) | about 6 years ago | (#25191307)

Ctrl-F2.

If you hit Ctrl-F1, and wonder why it won't work anymore, Ctrl-F1 is a toggle to enable/disable the Ctrl-F2 functionality.

Weasel words. (2, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | about 6 years ago | (#25191095)

Full Keyboard Navigation
In Mac OS X, you can use the keyboard to navigate through a document.
[emph mine]

Notice that while the page you link to gives the impression that the OS is keyboard navigable, the above statement refers to navigating through a document, not all Operating System features.

Apple have managed to suck a few disabled into buying their systems with this sales pitch. Have a read of this guy's experiences [accessifyforum.com] (he interacts with his PC via a mouthstick):

Very annoying. In short i'm refering to the lack of underlined letters in menu items and such, a-la XP. Also most tabbed Preference dialogs have no keyboard access to the tabs themselves, plus theres many more issues that just make OSX an annoying experience for me... looks very pretty though.

I've used XP since forever, and i used Gnome desktop on FC5 for a while too and both were lightyears ahead of OSX as far as keyboard navigation goes.

Short lesson here for you: Unless you've directly experienced something, do not believe Apple's marketing literature to the contrary.

Oh - and Kudos to the gnome team.

Re:Weasel words. (1)

Graff (532189) | about 6 years ago | (#25192673)

Notice that while the page you link to gives the impression that the OS is keyboard navigable, the above statement refers to navigating through a document, not all Operating System features.

You can navigate through all operating system features, not just documents. All I have to do is hit control-F2, for example, to control the main menu with the keyboard. This sort of thing exists for all UI elements, all you have to do is read the appropriate documentation and it spells it out very nicely and in a fairly logical manner.

Oh and if you have a menu open in this fashion you can just start typing the name of the menu item and it will select it. If there are two menu items with similar names just type another letter or two, it will select the first menu item it finds with those characters. It actually works pretty well.

Re:Welcome to the 80's Apple (1)

chaboud (231590) | about 6 years ago | (#25190483)

Sorry, but that's not entirely on the mark. It's possible to create a Windows application that isn't fully accessible by keyboard by screwing up tabstop ordering, failing to add accelerators, etc. That said, it's much easier to get it right. You have to go out of your way (and a surprising number of people do) to screw things up.

What about deaf users? (0, Redundant)

barfy (256323) | about 6 years ago | (#25190115)

I think if they could bring Itunes for the Deaf, that would be rad! (Waving my hands in mime excitement)

Attorney General (2, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 6 years ago | (#25190141)

I don't mean to sound like I'm against making software more accessible to disabled users, but what are the details of the Attorney General's involvement in this. Were there any threats made against Apple concerning iTunes accessibility? I thought private companies weren't required to make their software accessible, which is a policy that I fully agree with.

Too much bullying by Attorneys General these days (see NY AG's actions w.r.t. UseNet).

Re:Attorney General (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 6 years ago | (#25190729)

I thought private companies weren't required to make their software accessible, which is a policy that I fully agree with.

And why would you "fully agree" with that? Why should Apple or Microsoft not be required to do in their software what companies have to do in the physical world?

Re:Attorney General (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | about 6 years ago | (#25190943)

I would argue that software is not a fundamental right and part of existence. Getting the lawyers involved threatens to open a frightening floodgate of frivolous lawsuits.

Re:Attorney General (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 6 years ago | (#25191329)

I would argue that software is not a fundamental right and part of existence.

Is eating in a particular restaurant a "fundamental right of existence"? Shopping for clothes? Going to the zoo? Using the public water fountain?

Getting the lawyers involved threatens to open a frightening floodgate of frivolous lawsuits.

Lawsuits are only "frivolous" if people are suing over things that the law isn't intended to cover. But if the law says that accessibility must be provided, then suing to make sure companies comply isn't "frivolous".

What I consider "frivolous" is your blatant disregard for the needs and suffering of your fellow human beings.

Re:Attorney General (1)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | about 6 years ago | (#25191015)

Prove to me that people are entitled to a particular software package and I'll agree that accessibility features should be mandatory. Failing that, show me that the software's creation was publicly funded and I'll agree that accessibility features should be mandatory. Otherwise, I don't think it's the government's place to mandate development of accessibility features. But perhaps I'm wrong, so please tell me: "Why should Apple or Microsoft be required to [make their software accessible]?"

Re:Attorney General (1)

eggnoglatte (1047660) | about 6 years ago | (#25191187)

People aren't entitled to stay in a particular hotel room or shop in a particular store either. The law still requires hotel and shop owners to provide handicapped access.

Re:Attorney General (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 6 years ago | (#25191363)

Why should they provide accessibility features? For the same reason restaurants, hotels, airports, schools, hospitals, and lots of other places have to: as a society, we decided it's the right thing to do and therefore to impose this cost on our economy.

And can we impose that on corporations? Of course, we can. Corporations only exist and only can operate because the public supports them and the public created the legal framework for them. If Apple or Microsoft dislike some regulation so much, they can always dissolve; nobody's private property is taken by regulating how corporations operate or imposing costs on them.

tagging fun (1)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | about 6 years ago | (#25190319)

applehatesblindpeople

Would be way more impressive... (1, Redundant)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | about 6 years ago | (#25190561)

If this update made it accessible to the deaf.

*ducks*

that's pretty depressing (1)

jipn4 (1367823) | about 6 years ago | (#25190693)

I had been under the impression that Apple had at least as much accessibility support as other platforms. If it takes this long for one of their main audio apps to become accessible to blind users, Apple is doing poorly on accessibility.

so they've helped the blind (2, Funny)

ZipprHead (106133) | about 6 years ago | (#25190817)

But what about the def users?!

#IRcC.TROLLT;ALK.COM (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190835)

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YOU FAIL IT. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25190893)

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When is iTunes coming out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25191001)

That supports deaf users?

Independent verification? (1)

blitzcat (69699) | about 6 years ago | (#25191117)

This is a PR fluff piece, with no feedback from anyone blind. And everywhere I looked for derivative articles was more of the same. I want to know if it really works for a blind person, or is it just frustration in a tiny box.

Two years+ late... Rockbox does this too (1)

Ptur (866963) | about 6 years ago | (#25191389)

So this is news? Rockbox has been offering spoken menus and player content for many years.
Also on ipods (a little less than two years).

I wouldn't be surprised if they would patent it anyway....

What about the deaf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25191501)

Is there no more love in the world?

foobar2000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25192279)

foobar2000 has had this feature since somewhere in the 0.8.x series. It was one of the first accessible audio players in existence. I'm glad to see that iTunes is copying more features from it, such as accessibility, SoundCheck (from ReplayGain), gapless mp3 playback, an so on.

By the way, join http://www.last.fm/group/Friends+of+foobar2000 [www.last.fm] !

but... (1)

gimpimp (218741) | about 6 years ago | (#25192299)

does it make the ipod/iphone usable for linux users?

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