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Inside Apple's iOS 5: Assistive Touch allows accessible gesture commands

post #1 of 13
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Available in Apple's latest beta build of iOS 5 is Assistive Touch, a new feature that will allow for quick gestures to be replicated for those who may be at a physical disadvantage.

Assistive Touch is a new interface found in iOS 5 that gives users quick access to certain commands. The new feature was enabled in the third beta of iOS 5 released to developers on Monday.

With Assistive Touch, an overlay menu is displayed that presents the user with commands that usually require certain physical actions, such as rotating the screen or shaking the device. This new feature allows for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch to be more accessible to those who may not be able to accomplish these tasks.

Using Assistive Touch, users can just tap the onscreen controls using just one finger. Doing this will tell the operating system to do gestures that would usually require the user to do a more complex task, like use two or three fingers.

Other available commands include locking the screen, adjusting the volume, and finger-based gestures like pinch and swipe.

Users can also create custom gestures, tracing certain patterns or movements with their fingers on the screen to accomplish some tasks that may be difficult. These gestures can then be given a name and accessed from the Assistive Touch menu.

As the latest build of iOS 5 is beta software intended only for developer testing, the feature seems incomplete and buggy at present. But its addition is significant for those who may be aided by the addition of Assistive Touch when iOS 5 becomes available for device this fall.









Previously, AppleInsider detailed some of the accessibility features including the custom gestures, which were not yet enabled in earlier beta builds of iOS 5. The new operating system update will also include the ability to enable the iPhone 4's LED flash on calls, and also create personalized vibration alerts.

For more on iOS 5, see AppleInsider's ongoing series, Inside iOS 5. Some of the more recent entries are included below:

New lock screen notifications, receding iMessage keyboard

iMessage to bring proprietary chat to iPhone, iPad

Built-in Twitter integration makes tweeting a snap

Calendar improvements help make iPhone, iPad PC-free

iTunes Tone Store will offer more text alert options
post #2 of 13
I'm sure that these are useful features for certain people who might have a physical handicap, but Apple needs to think about hearing impaired people also, and even people who can hear just fine, like me.

There should be a gain on the master volume on the iPad, so that somebody can boost the sound louder if needed. I encounter quite a few apps that do not have a built in volume control, and even when the iPad is set to the loudest volume, the audio is simply not loud enough. The Time Warner Cable app is a good example of an app that needs louder volume, because even at max volume, many channels are pretty quiet and not loud enough.
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I'm sure that these are useful features for certain people who might have a physical handicap, but Apple needs to think about hearing impaired people also, and even people who can hear just fine, like me.

There should be a gain on the master volume on the iPad, so that somebody can boost the sound louder if needed. I encounter quite a few apps that do not have a built in volume control, and even when the iPad is set to the loudest volume, the audio is simply not loud enough. The Time Warner Cable app is a good example of an app that needs louder volume, because even at max volume, many channels are pretty quiet and not loud enough.

They were thinking about the hearing impaired. They enable the flash to signal on in coming call.

Also giving people the ability to crank the volume on their idevices offers two problems. Noise pollution and listening safety. Since they added the ability to limit the volume to protect kids I doubt they'll ad the ability to crank the volume. They caught too much flack before the feature was added.
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post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

They were thinking about the hearing impaired. They enable the flash to signal on in coming call.

Also giving people the ability to crank the volume on their idevices offers two problems. Noise pollution and listening safety. Since they added the ability to limit the volume to protect kids I doubt they'll ad the ability to crank the volume. They caught too much flack before the feature was added.

Plus there's a good more to "cranking the volume" than just enabling it on a checklist somewhere. The entire audio circuit chain, from software to audio processing circuitry to preamp to amp, on through the speakers and how the case is designed to accommodate them, is predicated on designed audio levels. Just increasing gain without redesigning everything involved just gets you noise, distortion and case buzzing.
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post #5 of 13
How do you actually toggle the Assistive Touch menu?
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

Plus there's a good more to "cranking the volume" than just enabling it on a checklist somewhere. The entire audio circuit chain, from software to audio processing circuitry to preamp to amp, on through the speakers and how the case is designed to accommodate them, is predicated on designed audio levels. Just increasing gain without redesigning everything involved just gets you noise, distortion and case buzzing.

I was thinking of something similar to what iTunes on OS X uses. If you open up the equalizer window, there is an additional 12 db of boost that you can get, if the max volume on the Mac is not sufficient for the material that you're listening to.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

Also giving people the ability to crank the volume on their idevices offers two problems. Noise pollution and listening safety. Since they added the ability to limit the volume to protect kids I doubt they'll ad the ability to crank the volume. They caught too much flack before the feature was added.

I don't think that there's any danger of hearing damage from the speakers. iOS can detect if somebody has headphones plugged in or not. The volume boost feature I was asking for would primarily be for the built in speakers.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

How do you actually toggle the Assistive Touch menu?

Settings? General > Accessibility >
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I was thinking of something similar to what iTunes on OS X uses. If you open up the equalizer window, there is an additional 12 db of boost that you can get, if the max volume on the Mac is not sufficient for the material that you're listening to.

Good point. Treating the actual sound files before they're sent to the audio circuitry is certainly the best way to go, although it can result in very poor sound if applied indiscriminately.

It may be that this is another example of Apple deciding they don't want to give the user the opportunity to mess things up, or it might just be that they haven't gotten around to implementing it yet.
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post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Settings? General > Accessibility >

What I meant was, when you need to use a shortcut, how do you toggle the overlay?
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by LighteningKid View Post

What I meant was, when you need to use a shortcut, how do you toggle the overlay?

i got it to appear once (its a white dot you can move around) but no idea what I tapped to make it appear.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I don't think that there's any danger of hearing damage from the speakers. iOS can detect if somebody has headphones plugged in or not. The volume boost feature I was asking for would primarily be for the built in speakers.

This may be off topic a little, but with iOS4 and Snow Leopard, you can transmit sound via Bluetooth. There are hearing aids with special receivers that can interpret the Bluetooth signals.

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Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

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post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I'm sure that these are useful features for certain people who might have a physical handicap, but Apple needs to think about hearing impaired people also, and even people who can hear just fine, like me.

There should be a gain on the master volume on the iPad, so that somebody can boost the sound louder if needed. I encounter quite a few apps that do not have a built in volume control, and even when the iPad is set to the loudest volume, the audio is simply not loud enough. The Time Warner Cable app is a good example of an app that needs louder volume, because even at max volume, many channels are pretty quiet and not loud enough.

In that case, why not just use headphones?
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