Apple Introduces Many New Accessiblitiy Options

Here’s a rundown of just some of the new options:

iPhone 3G S now with VoiceOver
Apple introduced a new iPhone model, the iPhone 3G S, that includes a full-featured screen reader called VoiceOver.  It is completely touch-based. You use gestures to control it. It works with all of the applications included on the iPhone including Mail, iPod, Safari, Maps (with walking directions!), and Apple is working with developers so they can make their applications accessible too. It also speaks 21 languages. Through touch, VoiceOver on iPhone delivers an extraordinary new experience that makes using the iPhone simple and fun for those with visual impairment.

For making calls and controlling the built-in iPod, you use your voice with a new feature called Voice Control.  You just say the name of a person in your contact list or their phone number and iPhone 3G S dials the phone. You can also play music and ask what music is playing, all with your voice.

iPhone 3G S also includes a full-screen zoom so you can magnify the entire screen up to 500% ; reverse video changes the display to white on black to increase contrast; and, for those with hearing loss in one ear, mono audio that plays both left and right channels in both ears.

VoiceOver 3.0 in Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
Apple announced more details about Mac OS X Snow Leopard, the next release of Mac OS X, including a thoroughly updated release of VoiceOver. Snow Leopard will sell for $29 and be available in September.

VoiceOver introduces many highly requested features and a few innovations you won’t find anywhere else. For example, VoiceOver in Mac OS X Snow Leopard supports the same revolutionary gesture control as iPhone. With VoiceOver 3.0, you can use the same gestures to control a Mac laptop with a Multi-Touch trackpad that you use to control your iPhone running VoiceOver.

VoiceOver 3.0 also introduces support for wireless Bluetooth braille devices and adds support for the latest USB braille displays. In addition, you can connect multiple braille devices from different vendors simultaneously—great for classrooms and instruction.

VoiceOver also introduces auto web spots, a new technology that makes it easier to navigate poorly designed or complex web pages. It creates virtual HTML tags that are easy to navigate based on the visual layout of the page.

Apple is also responding to customers by addressing many highly requested features, VoiceOver 3.0 also supports custom labels, AppleScript automation, customizable verbosity settings, auto-read web pages, web page summary, web tables, and more.

These are just the highlights!

There’s a lot more to learn so take a few minutes to read more about these and other accessibility features on Apple’s web site.

If you have an opportunity to forward this message or reprint an article about these announcements, it would be greatly appreciated.  You can find a press release for iPhone 3G S and Mac OS X Snow Leopard with images at Apple’s web Public Relations web site,