Friday, September 12, 2014

iOS 8's Increased Accessibility: An assistive technology specialist's perspective!

In June, I saw a blog post about the upcoming iOS 8 update and was excited to see increased accessibility for the disability world. There are quite a few new features that have me excited for the possibilities for accessibilities. Read on to see what I'm looking forward to adding to my iPad (and a few other cool extra features, too!)

One of the main programs I suggest as an Occupational Therapist working with assistive technology in the schools is word prediction software. Currently, we all get to experience autocorrect with texting, but now Apple has expanded autocorrect into a predictive keyboard called QuickType. Apple has worked on better analyzing what has been typed to predict what you will type. I will be trying it out to see how it compares to the software I currently recommend, but I'm glad there's another option to investigate.

Apple will also allow third-party keyboards. This is great, specifically because now Apple users can use the awesome keyboard Android users already have... Swype. No need to pick up your finger while typing (great for poor coordination/motor planning), just swipe toward the desired letters and you're good to go. I have high hopes with incorporating the keyboards and new predictive text features!
Update to Search. Now you can type questions into the advanced search option and get Siri like answers right away. Currently it only searches your phone, but now it'll take into consideration your location and what you're typing. No more "Directions to home" when you ask Siri about "Curious George" because you'll be typing in your question.

Update to Siri. Siri has also gotten an update, including sound recognition and text of what you're saying while you're saying it. She also has been updated to 22 languages.

Family Share. Up to 6 family members can share apps, musics, photos, and calendars. A parent friendly function can be set up too, where requests for apps from their children's devices will be sent to them for approval.

Audio Texts. Send short audio clips as texts if you don't have a chance to type (or can't type).

Health Dashboard. Apple is now putting health data into one spot for tracking (i.e. blood pressure or glucose level), using information from third party apps. Information can be shared easily with others, such as doctors, for up to date health information.

Other cool new features:
  1. Texting without opening messenger app!
  2. Touch ID verification with apps (not just for unlocking phone anymore)
  3. Upgraded photo app with filters and lighting, and also photo sharing made easy between devices.
  4. Place calls over wifi.
  5. Locate devices easily without Find My iPhone app.
  6. Location sharing within group texts...good for meet ups!
  7. And a bunch more!

I can't wait for Sept 17th! What are you most looking forward to?


Shelly wonders if there are other school districts that work on a six-day rotation schedule. It makes scheduling fun!

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