Apple’s new iOS 6 operating system has brought a number of enhanced features, but some are saying that the redesigned App Store, iTunes Store and iBookstore are a step backward for the visually impaired.
Reader J. P. Shandra contacted AppleInsider this week to explain how the new layout in the iOS App Store has caused problems for him. In particular, the redesigned horizontal interface for listing the top apps, books and music is said to cause problems with those who use the VoiceOver feature in iOS.
Shandra also said that VoiceOver can no longer read application ratings. He says previously his iPhone could tell him the average review score of content sold on Apple’s digital storefronts.
Shandra made sure to note the number of iOS 6 accessibility improvements, and said Apple should receive credit for that, he’s just frustrated by the newly redesigned storefronts.
Apple has proven itself to be responsive to the needs of its disabled users over the years. Just prior to the iOS 6 release, the company made a number of last-minute accessibility fixes.
The website AppleVis, which is an advocate for blind and low-vision users of Apple products and applications, says a number of other major problems with the App Store in the GM build of iOS 6 were fixed in the release version. Prior to the changes the website had called the new App Store “virtually unusable with VoiceOver.”
iOS 6 also adds a feature for new “Made for iPhone” hearing aids. Apple is working with manufacturers to deliver hearing aids that will be compatible with iOS devices.
The software update also added VoiceOver support to Maps, AssistiveTouch and Zoom, giving more functionality in iOS 6.