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Author: Colin Hughes

Apple Accessibility Preview: the unanswered questions

Ahead of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on the 6th of June Apple has previewed updated accessibility features coming to its platforms later this year. Among the software updates with the potential to change lives are LiDAR-powered Door Detection for blind or visually impaired users, Live Captions for deaf people or those with hearing loss, and features which give those with phys...

KeyboardMike: how I invented a microphone for speech recognition

Getting high levels of accuracy in the words you dictate into a email client, website text box, or document on a computer with speech recognition applications is no easy task. Tech companies that make voice dictation apps, like Microsoft’s Voice Typing tool, Apple’s Voice Control, and Nuance Dragon Professional, don’t manufacture microphones and often they will offer up the impression that a...

Apple adds useful new feature to Mac Voice Control but didn’t tell anyone

The third update to macOS Monterey for Mac computers was released last week. Among the headline grabbing new software tricks in macOS 12.3 is Universal Control, a feature that lets you control multiple Macs and iPads using a single mouse, keyboard, and trackpad. However, another feature of interest to Mac accessibility users made a quieter debut in macOS 12.3. Although it wasn’t shown in the...

iOS 15.4 update: Face ID works again for CPAP mask wearers

This week has seen Apple release iOS 15.4 for iPhone users. It’s a big update that brings quite a few useful new features to the iPhone, including the ability to turn off notifications for personal automations in Shortcuts, and 37 new emoji. One of the biggest feature updates for me is a new option in iOS 15.4 to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask with no additional hardware like the Ap...

Overdue Apple Voice Control upgrade should include better dictation accuracy

Apple operating systems and apps face various performance and reliability issues: AirPlay reliability when connecting multiple HomePods, a HomeKit bug that can kill iOS devices, and more… However, what no one, (apart from disabled users), ever talks about is how buggy, unreliable and inaccurate dictation is in Voice Control, the company’s flagship speech recognition application for disabled ...

Apple accessibility 2021: the good and the bad

Autumn has been a busy period for Apple. Following a summer of beta testing it released major updates to its operating systems, including iOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. The company also released a bunch of new hardware, including iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, AirPods 3 and new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro laptops. Over the past few weeks, I have managed to get my hands on the new iPhone 13...

TwistMike review (VIDEO)

Freedom: the ability to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, with the minimum of fuss. It’s what I value most in life. And Speechware’s TwistMike means I get to enjoy a lot more freedom. I have muscular dystrophy, which means I can’t take to the keyboard to type emails, Facebook updates, or WhatsApp messages – things we all take for granted these days. Instead, I use speech recognitio...

SpeechWare USB TravelMike review

Last year I reviewed the TwistMike by SpeechWare, a company with a strong reputation for professional microphones in the speech recognition industry. I was amazed at the accuracy of my voice dictation when using the company’s longest and most flexible microphone boom. The TwistMike solved a problem I’d been experiencing for a long time; being unable to sit comfortably close enough to t...

WWDC 2021: accessibility at Apple goes mainstream

At its WWDC event last week, Apple unveiled the latest versions of its major operating systems: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, MacOS Monterey and WatchOS 8. While these updates include some eagerly-anticipated new features — like enhanced privacy options, FaceTime calls coming to Android users and dual-screen controls for working across Macs and iPads – there were some features that didn’t get hig...

Apple Announces AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch

Apple has just announced a range of new accessibility features that are designed for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. One of the most interesting concerns the Apple Watch. Following a software update later this year, people with upper limb mobility problems should be able to use AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch to control the wrist-worn device without touching the d...

8 ways for Apple to be more disability aware

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is in its tenth year of promoting digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people worldwide with disabilities. Apple is celebrating the day by making its most popular virtual Today at Apple sessions even more accessible with sessions presented in sign language. It has to be said the Cupertino company has certainly been punching its weight recent...

Domiciliary care ignored by the vaccine rollout

Nadhim Zahawi, the Minister for Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment, has said he is confident the government will meet its vaccine targets. The first of these targets that government ministers have set themselves is to vaccinate the following priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) by 15 February: • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers...

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