Thursday, November 28, 2013

Made for iPhone Hearing Aids to be Avalible in Early 2014

Apple announced Made for iPhone Hearing Aids along side iOS 6 now the first Made for iPhone Hearing Aids are set for release. Apple's partnership with GN ReSound helped to create the LiNX hearing aid. The LiNX connects directly to the iPhone using a special wireless technology. Unlike other hearing aids the LiNX does not use an intermediary device to communicate with the iPhone. Apple says the following about Made for iPhone Hearing Aids on their accessibility webpage.
"Apple is working with top manufacturers to introduce hearing aids designed specifically for iPhone. They’ll deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience, and will allow you to manage your hearing aid right from your iPhone. Just look for the Made for iPhone label. Explore the FCC's hearing-aid compatibility (HAC) ratings of iPhone."
A companion app allows users to change settings directly from their iPhone. The LiNX will cost $3,000 and will be available in 2014. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

ClaroPDF App: PDF Text-To-Speech and Annotation (Giveaway)

ClaroPDF is an accessible PDF reader with many annotation options. The app uses text-to-speech to read any text based PDF. The app also includes numerous annotations options including highlighting, text boxes, underline, strikeout, shapes, and images. ClaroPDF includes a simple design that matches the interface of iOS 7. Unfortunately, there is no full screen option that hides all controls so you can better focus on your document. To start reading a PDF you can use the open-in feature of many other apps or import a document using Dropbox. Then you can use a number of high quality text-to-speech voices to read the document at up to 240 words per minute. It would be nice to see the maxim speaking rate increased to around 400 word per minutes for people who are able to understand high rates of speech. To start reading the document you can just tap on a word a press the play button.

Currently in version 1.2.6 there is a bug that causes layout issues with certain documents. The issue causes documents to not fill the entire screen.

Besides a great interface ClaroPDF includes a wide variety of annotation options. These annotations are easy to add and manage. ClaroPDF even includes the ability to add voice notes. One option that is not included is the ability to automatically add text notes to every blank in a document. This feature would significantly speed up the process of filling out forms.

ClaroPDF costs $0.99 and works on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Watch the video above to see ClaroPDF in action a click read more below to view screenshots of ClaroPDF in action. Click read more below for giveaway details.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Livescribe 3 Smartpen: Do More With Your Written Notes

By combining the ease of hand writing, the power and accessibility of Apple's iOS devices, and audio, the Livescribe 3 Smartpen is a powerful tool.  With the smartpen you can start writing on a pad of paper and see your handwriting appear on your iPad or iPhone almost instantly.

When taking notes It can record audio that is linked to your handwriting, allowing you to easily hear what was happening exactly when you were writing.  It can easily search through notebooks of handwritten pages to find the right note in an instant, and it allows you to share your notes with anyone without copying or scanning.

The Livescribe 3 Smartpen is not just a refinement of last year's Sky Wifi Smartpen. The Livescribe 3 Smartpen adds new functionality by pairing it with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. The Livescribe 3 is still capable of syncing handwriting and audio, but instead of recording the audio from a built in microphone, the recording happens on an iPhone or iPad paired to the pen with Bluetooth. With the pen connected to an iOS device using Bluetooth, features like handwriting recognition and cloud based storage options are handled by the iOS devices. Most of the pens functionality is handled with the free Livescribe+ app that seamlessly manages the Smartpen.

Read on to find out more about the Livescribe 3.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Fantastical Makes Staying Organized Easy

Fantastical 2 is a well designed calender app for the iPhone. Many say Fantastical is the calendar app Apple should have made and I would agree. Just like the default calender app for the iPhone Fantastical is easy to use and syncs with all of your online calenders. But Fantastical includes some great features that makes scheduling, managing, and viewing your calender events easy. Thes are features that the default calender app does not include. Creating events is easy, you can type or speak in natural language to create an event. If you type "lunch with study group at 1 in library" the app will automatically fill the correct information into a new calender event.

Fantastical also includes a five day view that gives a great visual look at your week ahead. The month view also provides more visual information than the default calender app. Fantastical also integrates with Reminders and displays your Reminders along with your calender events. The app includes many features that allows users to customize the look and function of the app.

Fantastical's visual design  and easy event creation feature makes staying organized easy. Fantastical can help people with memory loss or executive functioning difficulty to stay organized. With Fantastical you only have to check one app to keep up with your calender and reminders.

Fantastical's latest update improved VoiceOver compatibility, but there remains some very minor VoiceOver issues. These issues make learning how to use the app slightly harder for VoiceOver users, but once familiar with the function of the app VoiceOver users should have no problem using the app. The developer has expressed that they take accessibility seriously which is great to hear.

Watch the above video to see Fantastical 2 in action and click read more below to view screenshots of the app. Fantastical 2 for iPhone costs $2.99 on the App Store.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bookshare Offers Free Membership to Disabled Veterans Attending School

Bookshare recently announced that they will be providing free membership for disabled veterans who are currently attending a United States college or university. Bookshare also serves disabled civilian students and others with print disabilities by providing free downloadable accessible books. Veterans who qualify, but are not enrolled in school will have access to a 30 day free trial. After the trial veterans continue using Bookshare for a $50 yearly membership fee. Especially on Veterans Day it is great that veterans who are disabled will be able to access over 215,000 accessible books from the Bookshare library. Bookshare's press release says,
"Accessible books can break down reading barriers and open a new lifeline to reading to go back to school, learn a new vocation or read for pleasure."
A membership provides an individual with electronic books that can be read with text-to-speech or used with a braille device. This makes reading possible for people who are blind, low vision, physically disabled, or dyslexic. Interested veterans can find more information by visiting Bookshare's veterans site. People interested in Bookshare who are not veterans can visit

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New in iOS 7 and Android KitKat: Customize Subtitles and Captioning

Both iOS 7 and Android KitKat include the ability to customize captions. Now both major mobile operating systems include the ability to customize movie and video subtitles system wide.. For iOS, the customization settings are under Settings > General > Accessibility > Subtitles & Captioning. From that menu you are able to change the appearance of subtitles of any video played through the default iOS video player. There are many options for customization including font, font size, font color, and background color. Android includes a similar feature that can also be accessed in the settings menu. These options are a welcome addition to mobile devices and can make subtitles much easier to see. It is great to see both Apple and Google improving accessibility on their mobile products.