RNIB sings the praises of the iPad

In its short little lifetime the Apple's iPad has caused quite a hullabaloo. Its supporters have labelled it a game changing device that will revolutionise the way we consume media. And it's critics have labelled it just a big iPhone.

Well, it's maybe that criticism that may have just played a part in the Royal National Institute of Blind People calling the iPad a "a revolution in access for blind and partially sighted consumers".

RNIB has congratulated Apple for producing a device that blind and partially sighted gadget lovers will be able to engage with. The praise is for the software built into the iPad such as the zoom functionality and the VoiceOver feature. It states that the VoiceOver functionality and the large text available on the iPad could lead to an ebook revolution.

RNIB's principal manager of digital accessibility, Robin Spinks, has called for other tech developers to follow suit. He said: "When it comes to embedding accessibility, Apple has set the standard in recent years, changing the expectations of blind and partially sighted consumers. The fact that iPad's accessibility features are in-built is a very exciting development. It is now up to other manufacturers to follow the lead set by Apple".

Kiran Kaja is blind and uses a screen reader. He says: "The VoiceOver screen reader on iPhone 3GS and iPad provides very good accessibility both to built-in and to third-party applications. But being able to buy a book from the iBooks and read it instantly is a feature that I never expected would be available to blind people".

More good news from Apple for the blind and partially sighted is that larger text for SMS messages will be a feature that is available in iPhone OS 4.0. The Guardian has reported how Steve Jobs personally replied to an email from a UK developer who asked if the option to increase the SMS font size would be available in the new version. Jobs said it would be.

Are you blind or partially sighted? What tech do you find user friendly? Let us know the usual way.



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