Little Gems: What were you not Expecting from your iOS Device or Mac?

Since owning my iPhone I have found a world of apps, information and services which I thought that I would never have access to. I am sure any one reading this who is familiar with the accessibility of iOS and Mac will know exactly what I mean, but if you are new to AppleVis or the accessibility of such devices, having a built-in screen reader which gives me access to anything including news, travel, cloud-storage, sat-nav services and audio books to name a few is simply life changing.

One thing that I didn’t plan for though, was the ever-growing list of accessible games which are now available for iOS. Actually, I admit that I have lost quite a few hours over the past few days just playing games. When I first got an iPhone I just didn’t imagine that I would get lost in a world of so much entertainment. So as I write this and reflect on what I didn’t plan for, I wonder what you didn’t plan for which you are now finding is taking up a chunk of your time.

I will check this thread as I often visit the AppleVis site on a daily basis, but for now I am off to try and get better at pool and pin ball.
Take care all.

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I had barely expected anything of what I have now

1. I had never before played accessible games.
2. I had never expected to have instant access to information such as books, magazines, email and browsing the Internet at my fingertips.
3. I can take podcasts, Internet radio and audio described content wherever I may want to go.
4. Public transport and GPS information is more readily accessible to me.

In short, my iPhone is far more than a phone--I barely even use the Phone app. Instead of having to take many devices with me, all I may choose to take now is my iPhone.

So much!

The games for one really surprised me I never knew there were so many. Let alone more being made all the time! The one thing that really helped me though was the GPS apps. Knowing where I am and what's around me gave me a huge advantage that I never had before! About a year or so ago I was deliberately left off at the wrong bus stop. The driver told me it was the street I wanted when really it was the street before. I did not have a smart phone then so I had to walk around until I found someone to tell me what street I was at. Now with Blind Square I can get an alert when I'm near my stop as well as where I am when on the bus. It is a huge new level of comfort that I can't explain! I also love how easy it is to try new apps and see if there accessible or not, and if they’re not how easy it is to remove them. I love being able to have so much at my fingertips, news, weather, books, music, all that on a small phone! I have always been hesitant in getting a touch screen phone for many reason one being that I like devices with buttons but everything has been accessible out of the box. So many things I've brought or toys I got have not been that way growing up and a lot of things aren't accessible today even. So I think one of the gems is that it is as accessible as it is out of the box. Also the idea that I could use any other iPhone if I needed to. A family member's friend's and so on.

It is more than a phone agreed.

As has already been mentioned, the iPhone is more than just a phone. Here here!
I also love the fact that I can type my blog entries easily from my phone ann vluetooth keyboard also.

Little Gem

Many of the items listed are things I assumed I could do with my phone. In keeping with the premise of the post, here are a few things I never expected.

Remote control for my adjustable bed. There are far too many remote controls in our house for me to keep track of all the buttons and associated functions. When we purchased an adjustable bed last year, I never expected I could adjust it's settings with my phone. Now, if I could get a universal, accessible remote for the TV, I'd be styling.

Grocery List. I like being able to create and manage a shopping list on my phone, that is sync'ed with other family member devices. It makes a chore much easier, and leads to less forgotten items and extra trips to the store.

Fitness Tracking. While this may be a feature some buy their phones specifically for, I was never really interested in them. Once I found My Fitness Pal, and Zombies Run, I have become much healthier. I still see no need for extra stuff like a Fit Bit, I very much appreciate the benefit I get from using my phone this way.

Some things I wished for have not truly materialized for me. I would love a bird call identifier, the aforementioned universal TV remote, and an easy to use music creation app, but who knows what other Little Gems I will discover while waiting for these.

My list of surprises

I was amazed how easy it was to get through google groups. I hate dealing with them on my PC, yet I really want to keep up with them. The mobile interface to google groups is almost as if it were designed specifically to work well with VO.

I love the easy access to restaurant menus both with BlindSquare and other apps and through simply asking siri to search the web for a particular one. Often I have no idea where family or co-workers plan to go for lunch until we're there.

Syncing with exchange at work was another great surprise. My contacts, notes and calendar for work are with me even when I'm not at my desk. Makes me so much more productive.

Access to BARD, bookshare and Learning Ally was another great surprise. I had expected to always need a PC or a dedicated blindness device for those services.

The power of Siri is also truly amazing, though I meet many people who don't fully use it. I do everything with Siri and have listened to all the Youtube and Applevis tutorials out there. Learning to create lists, dictate accurately, search for information and get directions makes my world so much more accessible.

Surprises from my Mac

I only have a MacBook and an Apple SuperDrive at least for the time being, but I'm very happy with both and yes there have been some pleasant surprises along the way. First off, I love my SuperDrive. It is lightweight, and I can fit my CD's in the slot just fine. Plugging the thing into my MacBook and then unplugging the drive when I'm done is a breeze, and I'm comfortable with the speed at which the drive operates. I am a bit confused by all the iTunes settings, but I think I'm going to finally try and ask someone what the difference is in terms of speed and what not. I now have most of my CD collection imported into iTunes, and that process was very easy as well thanks to VoiceOver's excellent performance. Speaking of iTunes, I was kind of expecting it to be not that accessible. I think the reason for this is that prior to receiving my MacBook as a Christmas present I had been hearing mostly negative things regarding VoiceOver. As might be the case with anybody trying out something for the first time, I believed all that I heard and was therefore not at all willing to make the switch to a Mac. But back to iTunes specifically. I have found it to be very accessible. I'm impressed with all it can do, some of which I have yet to really delve into. But moving from song to song and from album to album has been pretty easy for me. It took some getting used to in the beginning, as I never used it in Windows. But I really enjoy it, and version 12.4 looks pretty good. Another pleasant surprise for me was learning of the Battery Monitor app back when the default low-battery notification didn't work with VoiceOver. I was subsequently surprised when the default notification became accessible, and the battery app was therefore no longer needed so I removed it. The battery life on here is quite good too. In general I have found VoiceOver to be excellent, and I'm looking forward to discovering new things with it.

Tuns of things!

Let's see.

1. KNFB reader. I can carry this reading machine in my pocket.

2. Tap tap see. I can now take a picture of anything and I know what it is in about 30 seconds.

3. GPS appps. I don't use these myself but I have blindsquare on my phone and siri is awesome for that kind of stuff.
(I will use blindsquare in the future when I need to.)

4. Facebook and youtube. I can access these when ever I wish to do so.

This is only the beginning. Imagine what phones and tehc will be like in 5 years from now. Exciting isn't it?

External Drive

I'm revisiting this thread because I'd like to discuss a bit about the external drive which I just received. I ordered it online from Best Buy last week, and it arrived within only a few days. It looks exactly like the drive that one of my sisters got, but I think mine has some additional capabilities. I asked my sister but she wasn't sure. But somebody with working eyeballs helped me set it up at the beginning of this week, and I have played around with it a bit. It is very lightweight and easy to use, and it came at a good price with free shipping. The installation process was very straightforward too.

Something I would be interested in.

Still got just over a year before I can upgrade to a iPhone with more memory than my 16 GB. Would be interested to learn more about your purchase.
Mike