Apple has committed to work with the state of Massachusetts to use its VoiceOver technology from Mac OS X to make its iTunes and iPod ecosystem fully usable for the blind. Before the agreement, Apple had already been making strides: VoiceOver and Braille support for OS X and closed captioning for iPod and Apple TV have already been implemented to a degree. But Apple’s taking it even further.
The 4G iPod nano features an optional spoken interface to help with audio navigation, and the new hardware includes blind-friendly features like the “shake to shuffle” function (we were wondering who that was for!). Apple’s new mic-integrated headphones provide tactile controls on the cable, and can also be used to receive vocal commands. But most importantly, Apple has promised in this agreement to flesh out its compatibility and make iTunes 8 and iTunes U 100% accessible for the blind by the end of the year, as well as donating $US250,000 to the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. As much as I rail against Apple, this is a really worthwhile cause and makes me feel pretty warm and fuzzy towards the White Overlords. [AppleInsider]