Siri has been relegated to the confines of the iPhone 4S for the past six months, while many a new iPad owner and Mountain Lion beta tester have wondered what's taking Apple so long to release the feature from beta. For those of you running the latest version of OS X, Reddit user Moosehadley figured out that you can inject Siri's female voice right into OS X Lion (we've confirmed that this works for Mountain Lion as well.) All you need to do is go into System Preferences > Speech > Text to Speech. Use the System Voice pulldown, and choose Customize. From the list, select "Samantha" and let it install. This is the same voice used for Siri, and should hold you over until her full functionality makes it to the Mac.
- Fixes several issues that may cause iTunes to unexpectedly quit while playing videos, changing artwork size in Grid view, and syncing photos to devices.
- Addresses an issue where some iTunes interface elements are incorrectly described by VoiceOver and WindowEyes.
- Fixes a problem where iTunes may become unresponsive while syncing iPod nano or iPod shuffle.
- Resolves an ordering problem while browsing TV episodes in your iTunes library on Apple TV.
You can grab the update now through Software Update, or at http://apple.com/itunes.
We were just sent a pretty awesome story about a blind users first week with the iPhone that we just had to share. For those unfamiliar, the iPhone has some pretty extensive and amazing accessibility features aimed at blind users that helps them use the seemingly impossible to navigate (without sight) device. I’ve seen those features in action, but of course, I’m able to see…so it’s hard for me to judge them in practical use, despite coming easy feeling like Apple did a great job in planning their accessibility features.
Now we get to hear first-hand what the iPhone can do for the blind. Even more impressive than just acting as a phone and testing device, the right apps are able to offer insights into the world that the blind have never had easy access to. Particularly awesome is the part about the app that uses the iPhone camera to tell you what colors the phone is “seeing.” You’ll have to read it for yourself to get the full picture.
The one glaring problem? The fact that Apple forces you to use iTunes with the device, which is apparently a chore for the blind. Hell, it’s hard enough for a sighted person to get through that mess.
Read More | Behind the Curtain
Apple has introduced a new iPod shuffle at their music event this morning. The new shuffle has 15 hours of battery life, and is pretty much a hybrid of the second and third generation devices. It’s small, it brings back the buttons that the third gen model lost, but keeps the voiceover features of the fourth gen model. It packs 2GB of storage space, is available in five colors, and sells for $49. You can pre-order one now, and they ship in a week.
Read More | iPod shuffle
This morning Apple unveiled a brand new, re-imagined iPod shuffle. The new shuffle hits you with 4GB of storage space, which equates to about a 1,000 song capacity, and is half the size of the previous generation iPod shuffle, which in and of itself was pretty freaking small. Another new feature is VoiceOver, which is basically a text-to-speech technology built into the shuffle. Since there is no screen, sometimes it’s hard to know what’s playing. With VoiceOver, you press a button and the shuffle will tell you the name of the song and artist, as well as the name of the playlist, if applicable. VoiceOver is available in the following languages: English, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
The downside? For some reason Apple thought it best to move all the controls on the shuffle to the headphone cable. You simple cannot control the iPod shuffle from the actual device. This immediately limits the number of headphones available, because even if you own a pair of fantastic $150 headphones, if those headphones don’t have controls, you are screwed and left with the crap Apple headphones that ship with the device.
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