AppleTV 5.2 Update Brings Accessibility Changes

Today, Apple released an update for the AppleTV set-top box, bringing the software up to version 5.2. Among the changes are support for Bluetooth keyboards, iTunes in the Cloud, Up Next, and some tweaks to accessibility.

When browsing the AppleTV interface with VoiceOver users will find that the grid layout of icons is better represented. VoiceOver navigation will stop at the far left or right ends of a row of icons, clearly delineating between rows. This should eliminate some of the confusion navigating experienced by some users.

More significantly, a new option can be found in Settings->General->Accessibility, to toggle on an Accessibility Menu. When this option is active, pressing and holding the Menu button on the AppleTV remote will activate a small menu which allows for quick toggling of VoiceOver and closed captioning. This feature will be met with particular relief from households including a mix of family members with and without disabilities.

Using the Bluetooth keyboard works very well with VoiceOver. Pressing the first few letters of an onscreen option jumps immediately to that item. For instance, typing the first few letters of "Music" moves directly to the Music option on the home screen of the AppleTV.

Update: The Accessibility Menu has been available since the prior version of the software.

Maccessibility Live Stream of iPad 3 Press Event

Today at 10 AM eastern 1 PM pacific, Apple will be holding a press event.  The presumption is that they will be announcing the next generation iPad.  The regulars of the Maccessibility Round Table podcast will be offering up live commentary of the event.

If you would like to listen, point your media player to http://darcy.serverroom.us:8576/listen.pls?sid=1

If you would like to interact with us, and with other listeners of the stream, the best way to do that is to use the twitter hash tag “#VoLive”.


The Mac-cessibility Round Table Podcast #17 - iOS 5 and Other THings

In this episode of the Mac-cessibility Round Table Podcast, the knights discuss the latest features of iOS 5 (including VoiceOver), accessibility improvements in Xcode 4.2, VoiceOver changes in AppleTV 4.4, Siri, and the new iPhone 4S.

Also, on 29/October/2011, the knights will be recording a special Q&A episode of the podcast. You can send your questions into ask at maccessibility.net, or interact with us live at 1:00 PM ET, 10:00 AM PT on Twitter using the hashtag #VOLive. Further details are forthcoming.

AppleTV VoiceOver Activation Clarification

We previously reported on a new feature in the AppleTV software version 4.4 which permits a triple-click of the Play button on the AppleTV remote to activate VoiceOver. This information was based on several reports from a couple of sources, but this information was incomplete. After users began noting that it didn’t seem to be working, we tracked down a clarification.

This functionality only works during the AppleTV setup phase. During setup, it will say, "Triple-click Play button to activate VoiceOver". Once the AppleTV is setup, this functionality is no longer available.