Monday, June 08, 2009

iPhone 3GS - accessibility, vision, and speech

The iPhone 3GS will be on sale June 19th. It's the first phone/mobile device I know of to market accessibility features. Since it has no physical keyboard, that's arguably overdue.

The accessibility feature set includes UI zoom, speech recognition (commands), screen reader and speech UI. The device also includes a 3 megapixel camera with broad light sensitivity and autofocus including macro focus. The iTouch 3GS, due out in the fall, will have similar features.

This suggests several applications for persons with disabilities:
  1. Magnify text and other sources: This is trivial. The iPhone 3GS will be fun for macro microscopy, but it will also be a very practical text magnifier.
  2. Read text: The iPhone 3GS has sufficient resolving power to turn text images to text, and it can read the results.
The iPhone 3GS is a very interesting platform for delivering solutions to persons with a range of sensory and cognitive disabilities.


Christopher said...

I have the original 3G, does anyone know if these features are included in the OS3.0 upgrade or are they specific to the 3G-S?

John Gordon said...

Most of them will, but the new camera has a better lens and sensor with autofocus. So that won't be available.

There are cases with macro lenses included, I use one with my 3G iPHone to take pictures of business cards. (Griffin I think).

Even though the 3G has most of the pieces with the OS update, putting them all together will require new software development, most likely from 3rd party vendors.

That will likely take years, so I'm writing about promise rather than what everyone can get today.

Of course if you know a billionaire interested in funding new app development I'm sure I could move things along faster! :-)