Apple releases iOS 4.1 and in terms of accessibility, it ain’t all good

Earlier today, Apple released iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod touch devices.  According to Apple, the major features in this update include:

  • Game center,
  • iTunes TV show rentals,
  • iTunes Ping,
  • HDR Photography,
  • HD Video uploads.

Nothing is mentioned about VoiceOver and accessibility, but that doesn’t mean Apple hasn’t focused on it as well.  Indeed, Apple *has* focused on VoiceOver and the results are mixed.  On the plus side, there are now two more audible cues, one indicating when a folder is opened and another indicating when a folder is closed.  Personally, I like these new sounds and think they’re a nice touch.  On the negative side, VoiceOver now cuts out certain syllables, such as the ending of certain characters when entering text, or when navigating the home screen.  The letter ‘e’ is hardly spoken at all and without the automatic phonetic pronunciation, it might be difficult to distinguish it from other characters.  Sadly, this particular bug presented itself a few updates back and was corrected; it’s a shame Apple has managed to reintroduce it yet again.

iOS4.1 has only been out for a few hours, so I’m sure more enhancements/bugs will be discovered in the next few days.  if you notice anything different in terms of accessibility, please leave it in the comments and I’ll revise this post.  For those wanting to see the official Apple announcement of iOS4.1 new features, it can be found here.

By Steve Sawczyn

Blind from birth, I do what I can to help make the world a more accessible and inclusive place for all.

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