Feeds

Siri, will Apple's App Store lock out blind people on iOS 6?

New fears that upgrade knackers VoiceOver support

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A website has broken the wall of silence surrounding version 6 of Apple's mobile operating system iOS - and alleged blind people will struggle to use the App Store software in the new build.

iOS 6 rolls out tomorrow for iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches - but it has been in the hands of selected developers since July, allowing them to adapt their apps ready for the big launch.

Now a writer for AppleVis.com, which covers software for visually impaired users, has reported problems with the upcoming iOS 6 release.

Developers reading the article are warned that "posting specific and detailed information about iOS 6 before it is released to the public on 19 September would in most cases be a breach of [Apple's Non-Disclosure Agreement], and could place you at risk of legal action by Apple".

But in the blog post dated 16 September, the AppleVis writer, who identifies himself only as David, said he dropped the veil on iOS 6 for good reason. The post "A Warning to VoiceOver Users Ahead of the Release of iOS 6" claimed that blind or visually impaired Apple users may be cut off from the App Store software in the next iteration of iOS.

According to AppleVis, tweaks designed to make the new App Store more visually appealing have left it incompatible with VoiceOver - the speech-driven user interface with which punters control their gadgets. The website alleged that problem occurs with VoiceOver on the iPhone, but could not verify that there was a similar issue with the iPad.

The post claims a compatibility problem with VoiceOver means that search in the App Store will not work, pages shown will not match what is being read out, and that visually impaired users will be more or less cut off from using the service.

AppleVis took the position that people should be warned:

We have been alerted to a significant accessibility issue that is likely to be present in iOS 6, and we believe that with the public release just a few days away, we would be failing the community if we did not issue a warning.

The post explains:

At the time of writing, the App Store app is virtually unusable with VoiceOver on the version of iOS 6 that was released to developers last week. This release is commonly referred to as the Gold Master, and is effectively the final version. This problem has been reported and replicated by several iPhone users. We are unable to confirm whether the same problem exists on the iPad.

AppleVis said it was hopeful that a fix would be issued before the release. David added that the changes required would be relatively simple - as the App Store is not hardcoded into the OS, but dynamically served up from Apple servers.

The Reg asked Apple for a comment on both the breaking of the non-disclosure agreement and the unsuitability of iOS 6's App Store for blind and visually impaired people, but has yet to receive a reply on either count. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.