Apple's new commitment to accessibility

Yesterday's Apple media event brought us more than just new iPods and a revamped version of iTunes. Apple used its new iPods and iTunes jukebox software to introduce new accessibility features for the visually-impared.

AppleÂ’s new commitment to accessibility
Yesterday's Apple media event brought us more than just new iPods and a revamped version of iTunes. Apple used its new iPods and iTunes jukebox software to introduce new accessibility features for the visually-impared.

The iPod nano (4th generation) announced yesterday includes spoken menus that allow blind and low-vision owners choose music more easily. It also includes a new font size setting that lets you choose a standard or large font size. You can enable the large font in the Settings menu (pictured).

Apple also touts the high-contrast, adjustable brightness, backlit screens of the iPod classic, nano and touch as part of their accessibility features (they're easy to read in low-light conditions). While true, these features have previously existed in those products.

iTunes 8 is now screen-reader friendly on both Mac and Window PCs. It also provides compatibility with VoiceOver in Mac OS X Leopard and Window-Eyes 7.0 for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

What's nice is that Apple's new accessibility features are potentially useful for all users and things like spoken menus can be come in handy for operating an iPod when you can't (and maybe shouldn't) give it your undivided attention. Kudos to Apple for the taking these step and I hope that they'll continue to innovate with their accessible features.

The new features are highlighted in the vision section of Apple's new accessibility Web site.

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