2014 Summary: Highlights and Recommended Apps

29, December 2014

This week we ring in the New Year. We hope 2015 will bring good tidings for all, including in the world of technology for people with disabilities.

A Look Back at the Tech of 2014 

1. Our Blog – Tech it Issie 

After much thought and planning we launched our technology blog. We are very happy to have a voice out there in the world of technology for people with disabilities and we hope you find our blog interesting and useful. We would love to hear feedback and welcome ideas for future posts.

2. Apple releases their new operating system: iOS8

So what bigHappy 2015 changes did iOS8 bring for people with disabilities?
QuickType: Keyboard with word prediction
The new keyboard predicts and suggests words according to the context you are typing in and offers them above the keyboard for quick access. The system will learn its user’s writing style used for different contacts and for different apps. For example it will offer different words in SMS than in email where the user’s language may be more professional. For individuals with disabilities, QuickType can offer a more efficient typing experience.

Support for third-party keyboards
Available for Android for a while now, Apple has opened up the keyboard to third party developers allowing apps to change the keyboard configuration.  This is great news for accessibility and the options are endless; keyboards with different colored keys, different letter groupings, and typing with a swiping motion.

Other additions and updates include:
An update to Messages
which provides access to voice recording and sharing locations from directly within Messages itself eliminating the need to leave Messages to share information in a variety of ways. This can make the process of quickly sharing information more efficient, especially for those users that use alternative access, such as switches or voice over.

New editing and search functions in Photos
More information can be found here:
https://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/

3. Release of the iPad Air 2

The new iPad has a few significant design updates, besides the sleek new style.

Size: Thickness now measures at 6.1 mm, which is half the thickness of the original iPad and 18% less than the iPad Air1. Weight is now 0.43 kg. Weight is significant especially for those users that use the device for communication and need to carry it around all day, especially when you add the weight of the iPad case.

Improved Display and User Interface: The new screen has improved sensitivity to touch for greater accuracy in tracking of finger movements.  The picture quality is also improved and the screen includes an anti-reflective coating. If the decrease in reflectiveness is indeed significant (we have not had the chance to try it yet) this will be a great improvement when using the device outside. A feature especially significant for users of AAC apps that need to use their iPad everywhere.

Other important added features: a new more powerful processor, Apple A8X, an 8 megapixel camera, and Touch ID, Apple’s personal fingerprint identity sensor.

Every year that passes brings development of new technologies. For this post we chose to highlight those that relate to the iPad, but of course there are many more devices and technologies out there that assist people with disabilities. We will address some of those in posts to come.

And, as a gift to all for the New Year, we have added an extensive list of apps to our site, divided into categories, for your use. It includes links to each app and whether or not it is available or Android. Click Apps

Enjoy and Happy New Year to all!!

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