Rank #1: Post-WWDC Pontifications
Steven and Timothy return to discuss all things WWDC, including Voice Control, pointer support, and more.Support us on Patreon.
Steven Aquino: Hi everyone, welcome to this episode of Accessible. I am your host, Steven Aquino, and with me as always is my friend and co-host Timothy Buck. How are you, Timothy?
Timothy Buck: Hey, Steven. I'm doing well. It's a nice day outside. Excited to be recording with you though.
Steven Aquino: Yeah same here. So it's been a few weeks, about three weeks since we had our last episode. That was our WWDC episode where I was in San Jose for the event and I interviewed, as I did last year, Apple's Senior Director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger. I haven't gotten a response from that show have you? I haven't heard anything, you know, either way if it's good or bad or not.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I've heard a little bit. Like last year, it's one of our most listened to episodes. We got linked on several different sites and stuff. I know this year, unlike last year, Apple sent out many of their people to podcasts. I think last year it was kind of just like us and Gruber were the only two podcasts who had anybody from Apple on them and this year a whole list of them including you know, Rene Richie's I think had two different ones. Mac Power Users had some there was like a whole list and so a couple different sites put together lists of all those episodes and we were of course on those. I know like MacStories had a list. I think I feel like iMore did, or I could be wrong, but there were a couple places that listed us and that and said some nice things, but apart from a few people who DM'd me. I haven't heard that much about it.
Steven Aquino: You know. I've had stuff happening here at home. So I kind of forgot about the episode after it went out, and I, you know, haven't heard anything from anybody so.
You know, I think just to take a second here I think doing these shows are a good PR strategy on Apple's part, you know, they clearly know that people listen to podcasts and you know. It's just cool to see them put all these executives, you know higher up people, on you know our show and then on other shows so, you know, it's smart. It's cool.
So we wanted to kind of... Now that it's been about 3 weeks since the conference, we wanted to come back and talk about some of the announcements that were made and ,ow they involve accessibility. I was in the room for the keynote, and I was there for like three days doing stuff, talking to people, and having briefings, and all that stuff. And I think on a high level this year was a huge year for you know accessibilty.
Probably the most... Well, I shouldn't say most important, but it was the biggest year that I can recall in the five years I've been covering it. And yeah, there's a lot to it. So I'm going off of sheer memory here. But I you know that it was a huge thrill to the people I sat with at the event when Craig Federighi talked about voice control and in Mac OS Catalina, and I think we should probably start there because that's the huge thing. If you care about this stuff.
So voice control is not the old voice control that you might remember from iOS. I don't know 3, I think it was when or two or three when you could hold down the home button and then you could talk to you your phone and you could do bare-bones things. like I don't know ask it the time or ask it like. What song is on our stuff like that. The voice control feature that I'm talking about is the feature on Mac OS and on iOS where you can literally talk to you your phone. I mean, sorry, you can talk to your computer. You can send email. You can send a text. You can surf the Internet. I mean. Pretty much anything you can do with your laptop or iPad or iPhone you can do with just the sound of your voice and the huge thing is just like having the ability to talk to your to your iMac or your iPad and and then have it do stuff. You know, there's a certain little bit of it now with Siri but this voice control feature takes it to a whole new level and from what I've seen, it's I mean if you're somebody who you know has to talk to your you know stuff because you know, you can't touch the screen or something like this is gonna be huge.
Timothy Buck: Yep. Definitely. I think it's interesting that you called out the like the really early stage tool that I think they had the same name if I'm remembering correctly.
Steven Aquino: Yep.
Timothy Buck: But it's, this is this is not that. That was before Siri and it was really not that powerful. Whereas I'll try to find the video they played at WWDC and link it but it's really really impressive what you can do and one of the things that stood out as particularly interesting is the phone being able to tell if you are basically looking at it and so in the video they show this man talking to his iMac and getting it to you know, like zoom in on stuff and reply to things and search things and like just navigating entirely by voice and even like writing out sentences and going back and changing a single word.
Stuff that has been really kind of hard in the past, but then he looks down at his phone and he just starts talking to his phone and the computer stops listening to him and the phone does what he wants it to do and I think he's like iMessaging somebody or something which is huge.
I think that like it's something that you or I might do with our hands very easily, go from like desktop and then look at her phone and do something there and giving that ability to somebody who needs to navigate their devices just by voice is that to me just like shows the level of effort and detail that they're putting into this and I haven't had a chance to test it. I have the beta on my phone and I haven't turned it on yet. I'll have to check that out, but based on like their video. This looks amazing and like something that's going to be incredibly valuable to to a lot of people out there. And yeah, I hope it says as good as it seems.
Steven Aquino: Yeah. I got to talk to Apple after the event was over. We got something to eat and then we sat down and I was shown voice control and you know, it was a. We were in a loud environment. We were in the hallways of the you know of the convention center and people are all you know all around and talking and stuff and you know, It was hard at first because of all that noise, but I mean once the noise kind of settled down, you know, it was fluid it was.
I mean, it's really the sort of stuff that like science fiction stuff. Like, you know, I was told by Apple that it was a huge effort between the accessibility team and like the Siri team, you know. If you have a device that uses the true depth camera, it can tell when you're talking to it and it'll stop listening.
I don't know how that exactly works on an iMac since they don't have a FaceID.
Timothy Buck: This is just me guessing but my assumption here is pretty much kind of how they do it with Siri that it doesn't necessarily always work, but if you're holding one device and talking at the other one.
They there's some sort of like of those two devices talk to each other and say like hey look at me. So I think if you look at the phone, it has true depth it can tell that you're looking at it. It will then say like hey iMac I'm going to handle this one and then kind of the same way the other way around if you're looking at the iMac the phone will say hey, this person's not looking at me. iMac you handle this.
I have no proof of that. It's just an assumption that I'm making
Steven Aquino: That sounds right because I think it's similar to how Apple Watch unlock or something like somehow your your macBook knows that you have an Apple Watch on. I thought Craig talked to about that on a talk show like two years ago.
I could be wrong but I think as that's the similar technology.
So yeah voice controls a huge thing, you know, I have not had a chance to look through it at all. I mean aside from seeing it at. The reference I don't have iOS 13 or anything. I don't have a Mac OS Catalina on my laptop. So I can't say how it is or anything, but just from having been having been shown it for a short time and then, you know talking to Apple.
I think it's going to be a huge thing, and you know we talk about it on the MAc but it's you know, it's on iOS too so you can use on your iPad and your iPod touch and your iPhone because they all run iOS 13.
So the other big feature that I wanted to kind of talk about because it kind of caught me in a bit of hot water is the pointer feature in iOS.
So in our in our iPad in i-pad OS and I iOS 13 boy, that's hard to say when you've got iPad OS and iOS you can hook up a trackpad or a mouse or oh, gosh, I think even Apple told me a joystick to your iPhone or iPad and control the interface as if it were a mouse and a lot of people have latched onto it thinking that it's your old schoo mouse that I have here. You know that I'm scrolling on my laptop at you know as I record the call and stuff and that's not it at all it. Well it it does function. I mean it does do that to an extent. I mean it does function like a mouse to a certain extent but there are people in the Apple community that have really latched onto his this thing as like it's a mouse and.
You know, oh my God, Apple's so stupid for hiding it in accessibility and I can't make the orb smaller and it you know, I got into some hot water on Twitter last week because I kind of. Because I kept seeing these people who I won't name like talk about how horrible it is that like.this feature isn't Assistive Touch it, you know, it's not a real Mouse and I don't understand why Apple doesn't just add it to the system and I got angry, you know and I just said like, you know, you stupid people like this feature is not built for you and apple told me it was precisely built for a certain subset of users and you have no right to harp on something that is not built for you, and I took it further than I intended to said some things that that I should have said.
However, I did get feedback from some people in the accessibility world that said that what I was trying to say was actually righ on. Which is to say that people have to realize that you know Apple knows that you're going to go and turn it on because your nerd and you want a mouse and you want, you know, all this stuff, but it's not built for you. It's not even built for the task that you think it is.
I'm kind of going on a right now. I'm sorry, but I think people are making this out to be they don't and to do stand it.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, just to kind of try to rephrase what you're saying. Apple does say that their accessibility features are for everybody. Right. Like anybody can use an accessibility feature at any time for any reason but certain people out there who wish there was a traditional mouse on the iPad that is an okay thing to want but when they disparage this feature that was primarily built for people with accessibility needs. It can be frustrating because this is a really good feature that is going to help people who need it and they are right that this is not a regular mouse that you would see on a laptop or an iMac but it wasn't meant to be that and so there's a hard like there's a hard line to stay on there which is yes anybody can use this but no your criticisms of this feature are incorrect because that is not what they were trying to build here.
Right. There's a separate criticism that they have that is fine to have that maybe they want to have a mouse meant for every person to use every single day on their iPad. That's an argument you can make but that shouldn't apply to this feature because this feature is not meant to serve that need.
It's meant to provide accessibility to people who need it and that's a really really good thing and we should be glad that they did.
Steven Aquino: How I said things on Twitter, you know In the Heat of the moment after seeing these tweets fly by you know, I got upset. I'm human. You know and I said some things that I should not have said and I said, I'm sorry,
however, you know one high-profile person you know said to me that you know nothing is so perfect that it can't be criticized and I understand what he was trying to say, but like that kind of defeats my my argument which is what you had said Timothy like there's a final line here. There's a hard line here where I'm not saying that you know, there isn't anything wrong with it.
I mean, I'm sure that there are I haven't seen it, but like you can't it's really hard for me to to say because as a disabled person I know what I'm trying to say, but it's not coming out the right way. And I think I have set a lot of people when I said what I said, but what I said was like you can't. You can't really it's not it's not per you. I mean, yeah, I know
Timothy Buck: I get what you're trying to say and I agree and what I think is really hard about this conversation over all is there is room to criticize whether or not the iPad should have a mouse support in general, right?
There's an argument there that can be had that's legitimate and we're not having that today. But the thing that makes this complicated is the cross-pollinating of that idea versus the accessibility feature and how people who want that are now denigrating this accessibility feature that is actually a good thing and according to like all the people who've been testing it that I've talked to actually does that well, so if it if for some reason it is not a good accessibility feature, then we should definitely speak out and say hey, this should be improved.
That's one thing to say. I haven't heard anybody make that argument I think as far as I know it does what they're claiming it does really really well and I think that is where there's this disconnect between the arguments that's really hard to do on Twitter is.
One person is upset that there's not a general feature meant for all users to be able to use a mouse. And another person is saying hey this accessibility features really good at accessibility based on all accounts. And those are both things that can be true at the same time. But we get to this point where we're just kind of speaking past each other because they don't actually care that much about the accessibility feature their caring about this General feature that they want for their day-to-day life. And this is not that and so they're upset at this accessibility feature. And and at that point, I think it's really hard to have a productive conversation because we're really talking about two different things and there's two different arguments happening at the same time.
I don't actually care that much about whether the iPad has mouse support so I don't really want to get into that but I do want to say that this seems like a really really valuable feature to for people who who do need an accessibility feature to be able to use the iPad. I'm glad that it's there for for that reason in particular.
And if anybody out there is using it for that purpose and you're not, you know. If you're not satisfied with it, for some reason or you are satisfied with it, and you think it's doing that job really? Well definitely reach out because I would love to know I haven't had a chance to try it. I don't actually have an iPad to try it on and I'm not going to put the beta on my wife's iPad.
But yeah, so once the full version comes out, I'll definitely try it out on her iPad and see how it works. But until then I don't really think I'll be able to experience it for myself.
Steven Aquino: The last thing I'll add to this and you've been helpful Timothy trying to to kind of get out what I was trying to say that I did so horribly on Twitter.
Is that, when I talk to Apple about this at the conference? First thing I said was why are you building in a mouse? Because that's that's not just essentially what it is and they were very clear that this is not a mouse as you think it is. And it's there to suit a very specific segment of your user there and they went on to say there is no code in UIKit about pointers or anything else except for our code for the accessibility code. So yeah, I'll just I'll just leave it at that.
So the other thing they came out with this year that I think is worth mentioning is something on the Mac called hover text. Which is when Apple showed it to me Ike I told them it reminded me of tooltips on Windows and they just kind of gave me the side eye, but what it is you turned it on under zoom. So it's a subset of zoom. So you go into settings on your map. You go to zoom under accessibility. And I think you do check hover text.
And what it does is anywhere you hover your mouse the the text will show up as sort of a tooltip like captioned on top of the screen so like oh gosh let's see if you go to system preferences okay, and you go to I don't know Touch ID or right if you can't see the word touch ID if you have hovered text on it'll show up in a little caption thing saying Touch ID and it works all over you know this system and you can change the fonts.
You can change the contrast you can change the text size. You can change the color. You can do all sorts of you know, you can. You can change it to be however you want it so you can see it and as someone who's been harping on for dynamic type on the Mac for five years or six years.
Hover text feels like Dynamic type built for the mac. And again, I haven't seen it. I mean, I mean, I have seen it but I haven't got a chance to actually use it for mum self. But I did see it and it seems like it is. Dynamic type but so much more. What's the word I'm trying to say...
Timothy Buck: I would say, just to jump in, I think the way that I've been thinking about it is similar to how as Apple has been bringing a lot of Mac features to the iPad. They haven't just been doing them in the exact same way on the iPad in which they're done on the Mac like this idea of multiple windows.
You can have multiple windows of the same app now and iOS 13. That's a huge new thing. It's a very classic Mac idea, but they did it in an iPad specific way in a very touch and drag and drop e like way that is not just free floating windows on a screen and I feel like this is same thing but for a dynamic type like some Dynamic type of something you've been talking about for years now is something that Apple really needs to bring to the Mac which is true and what they've done is similar to how they brought multi window support to the iPad in an iPad specific way.
They've brought Dynamic type to the Mac but in a in a Mac-specific way in a way that makes sense in theiIn the context of a Mac. And again, I hope it works as well as it appears to work from the demos and the videos. I've seen I don't have debate as on any on my Mac because I just have one but again, it looks like this is a really really great feature and I'm excited to try it out and see if it is and if anybody out there just like I mentioned before like if anybody out there does have the beta on your Mac definitely check this out and let us know if it works well, and I'm sure like they this is a the type of thing and this is the time to submit bugs.
So if there are bugs in that let's find them and submit them so they get fixed before the. Or release definitely tweet at us or send us an email and we'll will reach out if if you've had any experience with any of these accessibility features, we're talking about
Steven Aquino: I'm probably behind here in terms of like because I've only talked to Apple about this stuff. So I haven't actually got to see it for my self. Actually Hands-On time. So, you know, if you if anybody, you know has some of these says if you're out there and you have the beta somewhere iOS or the Mac, you know. We want to know how it works. The only thing I've heard about is of course what I just said was the pointer support in iOS because everyone is you know, showing their iPads hooked up to a mouse which is you know, but you know, that's the only thing I've heard about since the event.
So, let's see. Other than that there are like a bunch of smaller things. Like they're bringing the color blindness filters to the Mac. They have a new contrast option on iOS that you can differentiate with color now. So if you can't see shapes app developers can now differentiate state with you know like a change stayed in an app with color now. Oh, there is one that I think is flying under the radar. But um in iOS 13 and Mac OS I think voiceover is using ml to suggest labels.
Timothy Buck: Can you explain that a little bit more? I don't know if I'm following.
Steven Aquino: So. I don't quite have all the details on this so I know I can't speak to it to definitively but I was told that voiceover will use machine learning to ID some stuff in apps. So apparently if you are an app developer and you have custom UI that you are having a hard time trying to label for voiceover, I think voice over will use machine learning to try and analyze your label and then name it something. Does that make sense?
Timothy Buck: Yes, it does. It's cool.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, so I think that. I think that's right if I'm wrong if you're from Apple and I'm wrong tell me but that's the gist of it. But other than that. Oh, the other thing there is one other thing. Accessibility is on the front page of settings on iOS.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, that was cool. I was really happy to see that and I think Sara mentioned that actually in your interview as like a really cool change that she's really happy about to so,
Steven Aquino: Yeah, and I've talked about this a lot. Like I think it's a huge thing not only to find stuff faster because you don't have to tap tap tap.
Just having it on the front page with all the others system stuff is a huge deal and you know, it says a lot about how Apple feels about accessibility and and it's really putting us on the front lines as it were and it's cool. So I think that's about all that there was for accessibility in terms of features. I can tell you that the time that I was there at the at stripped of it was just one thing after another, you know. I went from this thing to that thing and then I got to stop to eat lunch and then after lunch we went to this thing and that thing and this thing and that thing and it was just really jam packed with stuff and as I said at the start like this year felt more involved more faster, you know like then any of the year. And hopefully, you know people see these things and get to look at them and enjoy them. Did you have anything you wanted to add about WWDC?
Timothy Buck: No, I don't. I don't think so. I'm happy to see that they made accessibility something that they talked about on stage again this year and I'm also glad that Sarah made the rounds on a bunch of different podcasts.
She came on ours obviously, but she was on a few others as well that I think are their LinkedIn the MacStories list and a TidBITS list that I'll put in the show notes that have like every episode that Apple sent somebody, of podcasts that Apple sent people to. So she had she had several different conversations and I'm glad to see that as well.
It was a jam-packed year with a whole bunch of stuff going on and a lot of it having to do with accessibility as well. And I don't think I fully processed it all as you were saying, but I'm I'm glad that I'm glad for the things. I don't know how to say this but. The things I have been able to process so far have all been really positive and I'm excited to see them and just to see what the impact of these features ends up being.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, and I mean I haven't even talked about like we've been talking about the the accessibility stuff. That's for you know accessibility but I haven't even gotten into like the UI stuff in iOS 13. There's a whole bunch of like UI kind of changes Apple introduced a new font family called SF symbols that I think look really good.
You know. There's iOS 13 like UI stuff. There's iPad OS. How accessible are the new drag and drop gestures. Not drag and drop. The text selection stuff. What else watch OS 6 has the hearing thing. I mean we could have ten shows on all the stuff and we probably still wouldn't get done
Timothy Buck: Agreed but we're approaching time on this one.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, we are about done. If you want to follow us online you can do so, I'm on Twitter @stephen_aquino, and Timothy is at @TimothyBuckSF.
He also is host of his own show the sister show of Accessible, UNCO, and that show if you haven't heard it lately, it's been super good. Timothy has a new series on about the future of Voice First. Is that what it is?
Timothy Buck: Yep, that's it.
Steven Aquino: Because I heard you interview Cathy Pearl.
Timothy Buck: Yep
Steven Aquino: Yeah Cathy Pearl from Google, she was on. That was cool. What else, so I'm on Twitter. Timothy's on Twitter. If we had a sponsor I would be thanking them here. Hopefully we will see you again in a fortnight. Thanks for everybody who listens you can go to accessible.fm to find the show. We are @_accessiblefm on Twitter and we'll see you again.
Thank you, Timothy. Bye.
Rank #2: WWDC Interview with Apple’s Sarah Herrlinger
Steven interviews Apple's Senior Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, at Apple’s Word Wide Developers Conference in San Jose. They discuss Apple’s approach to accessibility and many of the new accessibility features announced this year.Support us on Patreon.
Timothy Buck: Hello everyone. Welcome to Accessible, a podcast about accessibility in tech. I'm your host Timothy Buck.
I'm super excited to introduce this episode. It's a really special one. My co-host Steven Aquino had the honor and pleasure of recording an interview with Apple's Senior Director of Accessibility at WWDC again this year, but before we jump into the show, we went to remind you that we have a Patreon over at patreon.com/accessible. If you want to hear more from us, please support us on Patreon. It's a huge help.
Without further ado. Here's the interview.
Steven Aquino: Hi Sarah.
Sarah Herrlinger: Hello Stephen!
Sound Person: All right, so we're already recording. So go ahead and feel free to start whenever you’d like.
Steven Aquino: Great. Okay.
Well welcome to episode 12 of Accessible. I'm your host Steve Aquino, and I am here in San Jose at WWDC. We had the Keynote this morning with iOS 13 and watchOS and everything else. And right now I am with once again Apple's... Sarah your title is very long.
Sarah Herrlinger: Yes. I'm the Director of Global Accessibility Policy Initiatives for Apple.
Steven Aquino: Yes. So Sarah I had you here last year, and we talked about what was new then. Hoping that you could kind of run us through some of the highlights of what is new.
Sarah Herrlinger: Absolutely, and it is a pleasure to be back on your podcast. This is my second time doing it, and I always enjoy being able to spend time with you and do this. So, thank you.
Steven Aquino: Thank you so much.
Sarah Herrlinger: So yeah, this is it's a big year for us. We have a lot of really wonderful features to bring out to the world and we're really excited.
One of the things that we always try and do is to give some love to all of our operating systems and to all different types of users of our technology. So hopefully there's something in the operating systems to surprise and delight everyone. And so I definitely encourage folks when they get access to, whether they are people who download beta builds and start to give us feedback early, which we always love, or people who wait till the final release. But hopefully, you know, you'll find some things as you're moving around in the operating system and you'll find new fun features that are there for everyone.
Steven Aquino: So are there features that, and it doesn't matter which platform, but are there some things that are new that really stand out as your favorites?
Sarah Herrlinger: Yeah, well, gosh, two of them that we talked about during the keynote today in different operating systems. One is a new feature called Voice Control, which is available in both macOS and iOS, and it is a feature which allows you to use. To run both your Mac or iOS devices using just your voice.
So the idea is that it's there for navigation, for text entry, for kind of all the things that you would want to do. If you are powering your device using just your voice.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I saw that on stage, and I have to tell you I got really excited when I saw the accessibility literally icon on stage on the slide and Craig started talking about it.
You know and he seemed super enthused about it, and I'm excited to, you know, check it out, and also see what other people have to say about it. Is there anything across watchOS or iOS or tvOS that you're excited about?
Sarah Herrlinger: Yeah, one of the things for watchOS which also was mentioned in the keynote today is the noise ap. You know, one of the things I think that is certainly of incredible importance is hearing health and ensuring that we keep our hearing health. And so one of the things now built into the watchOS is an app which will tell you if the ambient noise around you has reached a level that would be harmful to your hearing Health if you remain in it.
So the idea being, if you for example happened to be walking past a construction site, that it would let you know that that ambient noise is more than your ears should be taking in and give you that warning to let you know that it would be good to move out of that area.
And then will keep track of that in your in the the health app, so that you can kind of have knowledge of kind of the environments that you're in and how they are conducive or not conducive to your hearing health.
Steven Aquino: Is that something that has some sort of hooks with the made for iPhone hearing aids? You know, if you had a hearing aid, then you had an Apple Watch with that, like somehow, would your hearing aid know that you're in a loud environment somehow?
Sarah Herrlinger: Well right now the feature is built to support everyone. So it is not specifically tied to your hearing aid. But as a user of the watch you would be getting that information, you know, as would anyone else, but to let you know that as a hearing aid wearer you may want to certainly not do any additional damage and and move out of that area or do what you need to do in order to to keep your hearing health intact.
Steven Aquino: Great. Well, I was really excited when the show first started and Tim talked about tvOS, because I just recently got an Apple TV at home. And I was really excited to see the new UI of the new tvOS. It seems like there's a lot higher contrast. The options look like real buttons, if you look at something like the TV App and Control Center. Is there something with tvOS, that's new that people should know about?
Sarah Herrlinger: Well, one of the things I'm excited about is we've done a redesign of Zoom to make it easier to use and easier to kind of control and navigate. So as you move around on the screen that you'll have more more feeling of control as to where they where you're moving across the screen and just an easier and easier time being able to navigate the device while you have Zoom enabled. So I'm excited about that. I think as well just as the redesigns have happened. I agree. You know, I think as they there's more, as the contrast continues to improve and different ways that things are laid out in the UI. It can be really helpful to support different types of vision challenges.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I know speaking for me, like even the Apple TV UI that we've got now, you know, I find it super helpful to have all the sounds on all the all the movement. So when you hover your thumb over an icon it kind of pops out at you. I think that's super helpful. So, you know, as of Apple TV fan, I was excited when I saw Tim talk about the new tvOS.
Can you talk to us about you know, on a sort of a higher level, as much as you can about like what Apple sort of thought was coming into this WWDC, because I know the last couple of years you've really honed in on the fact that the tent pole features were built for everyone.
But as a disabled user myself, it seems like this year you've kind of you've kind of gone all-in on sort of accessibility stuff, for accessibility's sake. Can you kind of talk about sort of your higher level like kind of thoughts on this?
Sarah Herrlinger: Oh, I think in general in our goal as a team is always to make sure that everything that we ship we try and make it as accessible as possible. And that is really that foundational part that you were talking about at the start to make sure that anything that's made for everyone to use that really everyone can use it, but on top of that I think we also really try and look at what are additional ways that if we just did anything from a small tweak to an entirely different new type of assistive technology that that would expand people's ability to use our products and you know this year we've just we've had a lot of great things that we've been working on and it just seemed like a good year to kind of come out with a lot of really, some real great innovative new features that we've been, you know working on for a while now and really felt like it was time to get them out to the world.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I have to say, you know, people talk to me about, you know, Apple's accessibility software all the time. And I'm very, you know, forthcoming, that what you guys ship is, you know, deep, and it's it covers a lot of developmental areas, like hearing eyesight, physical.
But you know kind of absorbing what you guys announced today and talking with you after the fact. You guys seem to come up with all these new things that that I didn't even consider. I mean just as an example. We were talking earlier about Hover Text and you know, I've been harping on macOS not having Dynamic Type forever.
Here it is Hover Text and it seems like it's not exactly the same thing, but it's in that same sort of vain, and you guys have done it in a really smart way.
Sarah Herrlinger: Well, thank you. Yeah. Yeah Hover Text is a brand new feature for the Mac which allows you to hover over text on the screen and by holding down the command key to have that blown up to 128 Point font, if that's the amount you want, all the way to, you know lower levels as well. But larger than what is standard on the screen and I think one of the things we also try and look at as we design is what's the best way to do something on one operating system might be slightly different on another operating system.
So in this case rather than just implementing Dynamic Type. The goal of hover text is to be able to open up all of those elements of text on the screen regardless of their size while still keeping the look and feel of the the entire operating system, as it is originally intended, but still give you that flexibility to be able to have that increase in in text size as needed wherever that might be.
One of the other things. I love about it that we have is a feature on the Mac is another feature that's speak text under the pointer and when you have those two things hover text and that included you can have giant text in the font type that you would like, in the color you would like, have it spoken back to you if you would like. So, you know in that way, we really try and look at what are all of the possible ways to customize this that would work best for each individual use case.
Steven Aquino: I think that, you know, again like when I first sat down in the hall for the event, and I was getting ready to take, you know, everything in, and I was thinking to myself, if Apple does not announce Dynamic Type on that slide of all the ancillary stuff or I hear about it afterwards, I'm going to be really mad because that's something that I love and you know on iOS and like why should it not be on the Mac.
Well in a true Testament to Apple software know, how you guys have again done it in such a way that makes total sense and is unique to the OS but is still in a similar, you know, style sort of, and I think it's super smart.
Sarah Herrlinger: Well, thank you. Yeah, it's one of the features. I'm really excited for as well. I think. With so many of the accessibility features. They have great applicability for so many different types of use cases. Even if someone doesn't self-identify into a specific disability type and something like hover text I think can be really valuable for so many users. So we're thrilled to have it out in the world.
Steven Aquino: I I kind of want to Circle again to watchOS six. There's a lot there with the hearing stuff, there's a big emphasis on health stuff which you know, I certainly think has accessibility involved in it, too, but I wanted to see like what your thoughts were about the watchOS 6's new haptic chime feature.
Sarah Herrlinger: Yeah, but it's an interesting one because the there's the chime and then there is what we have referred to as taptic time for a while which actually was a voice-over feature for a long time, but it was so popular as a feature that it's been brought out as something for the general public as well.
So. That feature to to give you either a vibration to give you the haptic to tell you about to tell the time or to also use a an audio, you know, uh, chime of some sort as well is I think it's a great once again a great feature that can benefit anyone and so being able to very discreetly. Tell time I think it's a really fun new feature to add.
I'm excited for that and I'm excited that it's gone from being a voice-over feature to being something that is mainstream.
Steven Aquino: I am not a day-to-day voiceover user. My eyesight is such that I don't have to use it but it's so cool that something that came out of VoiceOver which you know the average user wouldn't necessarily hear about, like, has something in it that is that you that take from it and turn it into haptic chime taptic chime.
Sarah Herrlinger: Yeah. Absolutely.
Steven Aquino: I think that's cool.
Sarah Herrlinger: Yeah. I always love when accessibility features become mainstream features or when people find them and they get so excited about them that they start to utilize them in other ways for a feature that actually has been out for a little while, but same type of thing's live listen, Which started off as a feature specifically for made for iPhone hearing aids and now has been added to AirPods and Beats headphones and a number of different areas because it was picked up and you know became valuable and so many use cases.
Steven Aquino: You know to that end. I know quite a few people who have used type to Siri as their main way to talk to Siri. I know somebody who is in school, and she uses type to Siri to tells Siri to help her with stuff while she's in class so she doesn't disturb.
Sarah Herrlinger: That's a great use case. Yep.
Steven Aquino: So, you know and she only found out about it because I told her about it, but be that as it... You know, I think I have gotten through all of my. Questions. I want to thank you again for stopping by and talking with me before we sign off is is there anything that you'd like to add? Anything at all?
Sarah Herrlinger: Well, they got all I always appreciate the opportunity to come and be a part of your podcast. So once again, thank you. Yeah, and I've just encourage people to to open up the accessibility settings.
One of the things that we didn't get to but will be I'm eager for people to find and to you know play around with his we moved the accessibility settings up in iOS and watchOS and tvOS. So now instead of being in general settings, they've been moved up to the first level of the settings in the settings app so that they are more easily discoverable and also been been brought into the Buddy sort of set up programs.
So if you get a new device and it's walking you through all the different elements around how to setup your device. It gives you the option to set up a bunch of the accessibility features while you're going through that setup process. And so I'm excited for more people to to open settings and go in and play around with some of these and find settings that are beneficial because I think there's such a great element around just customization of your device which comes out of accessibility features and so regardless of what someone might benefit from, great that the features are there and we want people to use them.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, and just to sort of tie that home. I think the fact that you, Apple as an institution, have put accessibility on the front lines as it were, and having it be top level in settings and having it be part of the setup, I think it helps the user, right? But I think it says a ton about you as an institution, like it says a lot about you, Apple, how you feel about this and how you feel about serving people who are like me, and as a person with life-long disabilities that means a lot.
Sarah Herrlinger: Well, thank you. It is certainly a priority for us and something that we do, you know, we do work on every year and I hope. We always have the chance to keep building out amazing things and surprising and delighting everyone. So I hope people open them up take a look, you know play around send us feedback at email@example.com. Let us know what you think and we'll keep keep moving forward.
Steven Aquino: So Sarah that was an awesome job. I'm so happy that I got to sit here again with you, second year in a row. That was Sarah Herrlinger. She's the senior director of global accessibility policy at Apple. I think I got that right after 6 years.
Sarah Herrlinger: That's pretty close
Steven Aquino: Thank you everyone for listening to this special episode of Accessible and we will see you soon.
Sarah Herrlinger: Thank you very much.
Steven Aquino: Thank you.
Rank #3: Good Job, Google
Steven and Timothy discuss Google’s accessibility announcements at I/O, then dive into smart home tech with Steven’s multi-platform setup and his Apple TV 4K.Support us on Patreon.
Steven Aquino: Hi everyone. Welcome to episode 2 of season 2 of Accessible. I'm your host Steve Aquino and with me as always is my friend and cohost, Timothy Buck. How are you, Tim?
Timothy Buck: I'm doing really well. Sorry if you can hear the sirens in the background, but I actually was looking at our stream the other day and I noticed that we have this set of season 3 in iTunes and I was like, why did we do that?
And I remember it's because you did a season one a few years back with another co-host. So technically this is season 3.
Steven Aquino: This is season 3 technically in season 3. Okay. Well then this is season 3 episode 2. So it's been about two weeks since we recorded. If you didn't hear us on the last episode we didn't do much.
We just talk about what we want to do for the show and why we went on hiatus. And if you want to go back and listen to that it's on iTunes and we can probably throw it in the notes. But today we want to kind of get back into a quote-unquote real episode and talk about a few things the top being Google I/O which happened last week.
They had their annual developer conference down in Mountain View and there was a big push from Google about accessibility. And they have quite a bit of new stuff in Android Q, I think it is. And we kind of want to talk about about that and kind of talk about what that means for users.
There's an article by Chris Smith at BJR. He does kind of go over the accessibility stuff in Android Q. So going from our notes from the articles and our show notes to document the first thing that they announced is something called Google Lens text-to-speech.
And what it does is it allows somebody who. Who is illiterate to hold up their phone camera to text and have the AI read it aloud in their native tongue. So if you click on the link to the story by Smith, Google has a video of someone in India a woman named Urmila.
She doesn't know how to read and she's holding her phone to a book and the book. The phone is taking the text and essentially turning it into an audio version.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, essentially what they've done is take what they've had for a while was in Google Translate which allowed you to put your camera up to anything in another language and it would translate it in the image.
If it was in, I don't know, German, and you held it up and you don't speak German. It put English text over the German text so that you could actually read it. And what they've added is they've made it a lot easier to get to in the newest version of Android not like within an app or anything and they've also allowed you to have it play but like stephen was saying, play sound back to you. So like in this case this this woman wasn't taught to read and she in the video. I would just recommend watching the video but she talks about like her children are in school and she wants to be able to help them with things or like read their report card and things like that.
And now with this she's able to do that because she can point this device at a report card or whatever may be and it'll read out to her what it says. And so she can she can know how our kids are doing in school through this really incredible technology that it in in reality. They added like just speaking features to a Google translate saying that they've had for a long time, but I think it's it's.
For actual users. It's a massive change and I think it'll mean that a lot more people out. There can have accessibility to reading things either in languages. They don't understand or in if they're illiterate entirely.
Steven Aquino: Yeah. I think it's cool. Like I don't use Google Translate at all. Just because I don't have to, but you know, it's really cool of Google to be kind of taking that tech and to make literacy, you know a more accessible thing. You know in the video that they show shows someone who is in an another country, but but even here in the United States, there are people who are illiterate. And you know literacy is something that everyone has to have so, you know, I can see this technology if they're able to use a phone like, you know being helpful.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I think what's particularly cool is you don't even really have to be able to read to get around the phone.
It's just a really clear button you press it once and it camera you just hold it up to it. There's not like a lot of clicking around driving to understand how to do anything. It's really really easy to use. I think the thing that stood out to me about this Google IO. As opposed to previous ones.
Is that Google did announced many things that they specifically called out for their accessibility features, and Google has had accessibility features in the past that they've added two things. But when we talk about accessibility we tend to focus on Apple because Apple makes the videos explaining why their features are accessible or they take the time on stage at WWDC to explain that they have these four new accessibility features.
And other companies until recently didn't really do that. They didn't really spend that precious time at these events to explain this stuff. They may like have a press release or whatever later that had a small feature or handful. But this seems like a shift to me and it's not that I've like I don't know.
Hey, I could be wrong, but this seems like a shift in Google, at least for this year. They have made accessibility more of a priority, and they've taken the things that they're really good at and we're going to talk about a bunch of bunch more of the features that they've added but they've taken what they're really good at in services and they've made it more accessible and usable for the masses and for people who have different needs and that is really really exciting to me and I just want to say even before we go through the rest of them that I'm really happy that Google's doing this and I hope they continue to do it moving forward.
Steven Aquino: Just before we head on to this is the other features. You know, I've said this on the show, I've said it on Twitter, you know, I have spent six years.
Covering Apple at close range, you know, I. You know, I get review units of stuff and I'm I've become a regular at at their press events. And you know, I've gotten some criticism from. People out there who say that like, I'm I'm in the bag for Apple because I always say complimentary things about them or what not, but I I think it's really important too.
You know what I've said about Microsoft of wait how they're really doing well with the accessible Xbox controllers and all that that they're doing. You know, Google is still generally not from people I talk to in the Disabled Community. Google is still not as far-reaching and as polished as Apple in terms of accessibility. But as you were saying Tim like what they showed off at I/O, it feels like there's been a shift and they are using a lot of their core competencies with the ML stuff and all that to really deliver some really cool, you know accessibility features to people who use Android and you know, I'm not on team Google or team Apple or team whomever. You know accessible is an industry wide thing. I mean not just Apple not not just Google. I mean it's you know, it's everybody and you know, I'm not a above saying that Google is doing a. good job here like. You know, you know the said they're taking their core competencies you know in ml and all that and they're doing good with it.
Timothy Buck: And that's what I'm excited about like that it seems and I don't know how to say this other than to say. What you're saying is completely correct. It's more than just an Apple or a Google or a hardware-makers thing. Accessibility is larger than that. And I think that's why we want to make the show, even though we will talk about Apple a lot because we like Apple a lot and we use Apple devices a lot.
We also want to get into talking about the Twitter app and its accessibility. That Matters too. And you know Gmail and Gmail's accessibility. That Matters too. Or whatever it may be. A lot of the software out there that we use needs to be accessible. And this is just an instance where in the most recent Google announcements they have four five six different things that are making previously inaccessible tools accessible.
And the first one we talked about being lens to speech is making Google translate accessible to the people who are illiterate and I'm going to mess up our order here Stephen, but I think the next one that really stick out to me was Project Euphonia and we watch the video before we started recording and that one in particular is just incredible in what they are working on making.
Google Assistant understand people who have different diseases or are deaf or whatever it may be and when they speak it's hard for assistants to understand them today. And if they can get to the point where literally anybody speaking to an assistant can be understood that is massive. It's a thing that the other assistants just clearly do not have today and that would be that would be a huge win.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I did not hear about this when IO was happening. I was kind of going through on Twitter and kind of looking to see what people had said who were there. So I just got wind of the. live capture and live listen thing which we'll talk about about soon here.
But yeah about project, Euphonia, you know, I've been saying for a long time now at least three years, maybe four. I don't know that you know these smart assistants like Alexa and fiery and what's Microsoft's one?
Timothy Buck: Cortana
Steven Aquino: Cortana, you know.
Timothy Buck: Bixby
Steven Aquino: Yeah, you know, they they're fine. I mean they. You know, you can talk to it and all but they're designed sort of assumes that you speak fluently which is to say you speak in a normal tone, you you don't stutter, as I do, you have 100% fluency, so and as Google is showing here, like that's not the case ,with me or with people who have a stroke or ALS or what have you.
Timothy Buck: Even children or people who have a strong accent because whatever language they're speaking to this device is not their first language. There are a bunch of examples where this type of ability to understand not mainstream pronunciations of words or tones or speeds of speaking is. This just opens up so much. So so so much. It's huge.
Steven Aquino: You know again, like what I was talking about earlier about Google sort of core competencies. This is a prime example of that because like something as critical as getting a Google Assistant to understand you if you stutter or if you have an accent. Like they're taking their skillset. They're taking their their skillset in Ai and ML and and their harnessing all that and they're developing this technology that helps someone like me who stutters or whomever. The smart speaker sort of smart assistant will be more accessible. Because you know as I've said with like iOS 11, I think or was it 12? Apple introduced something called Type to Siri where you go and accessibility you flipped on type to Siri and you can type to her type to it just as if you're you know, it's kind of like iMessage for Siri.
You know, I'm not saying that that that feature is bad. It's not, but at the same time like it doesn't solve the problem of actually speaking to your assistant which you know people have these assistants in their home all the time and you you just want to kind of shout into the ether to talk to them and if you can't talk to them because it doesn't understand you because you have a thick accent or you stutter or something then why are you having it? You know, whereas type to Siri is good. It doesn't had on solve the problem of actual speech.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I do want to point out that. I don't want to misrepresent what project Euphonia is. I t is not that they have solved this and are releasing it to the public.
It is a project that they are undergoing and they're requesting. I just did a little bit more reading up about it earlier today and it's not now I'll actually link I'll make sure I linked to The Verge article that I was reading in show notes, but what basically what the Verge article explains is Project Ephonia is a project where they are working really hard to solve this problem and they have gotten a bunch of people to submit voice samples and they are requesting that people submit their own voice samples so that they can train the voice recognition AI to understand different types of speech and basically the way that it was explained I think in the video is that we also link in the show notes is that these voice recognition. AIs out there, Siri or Google assistant or whatever it may be they are trained off of these massive data sets of people's words who are asking for things or saying things saying turn off the lights and all the different ways.
You can say turn off the lights in every different situation and that's how they can understand it, but. The reason why they don't understand people who have stutters or who have ALS or who have you know, really really strong accents is because the data set they have doesn't include those people.
And so what they're requesting is that people who fall into those groups submit their voices and submit. BAsically just it's an initiative where they're asking people to help them solve this problem and they've done a lot of work on an already especially definitely recommend watching the video that explains what they've done so far. But yeah, so I'll actually also they have a form that I'll link as well.
That shows like if you are personally interested in submitting. That you can. It shows you how to do it and I haven't clicked. I haven't like gone through to actually submit anything but it's a Google form thing that you can fill out and submit your own voice if you're interested in submitting to this project.
So to make Google Assistant better understand you.
Steven Aquino: This is something that. You know, I don't have any inside knowledge which have been anything. So, I don't know exactly what Apple has done here or is doing. But you know people in the tech sphere they talk about, you know, talking to your Siri and Google Assistant and Alexa and you can just talk to it and it'll can do things for you. And I mean, it's all fine. But like. Oh. I just turned on my Echo Dot in the kitchen. It's talking to me.
Timothy Buck: Of course.
Steven Aquino: I have an Echo Dot which we will get into the smart home stuff. I have an echo dot in the kitchen, which is adjacent to my office space and it just turned on.
So what I'm saying here is like, you know, this is not something that Google is is actively gonna ship but I'm saying like they deserve credit for tackling the like head-on problem of actual speech.
And you know they're not taking a they're not... How do I say this... They're not sort of taking aways some of the appeal of a smart assistant in the way that maybe a typ to Siri would because you're not you're not actually talking to it. I don't know if that makes any sense, but you know, this is cool. And I'm going to keep tabs on it, even though I don't use a lot of Google stuff I might think about contributing to this. I don't know but yeah.
So the other things that Google announced if I want to go in order again, there are two features that are similar there's something Live Transcribe and there's also something called Live Caption and Live Relay. I'm going to kind of group them to group them together because they're very similar.
So live transcribe,according to the article by BJR says that the app will transcribe everything it hear's so anyone hard of hearing can follow the conversation. So what it's saying is and you can watch the video as someone is talking. You can effectively use closed caption for someone who's deaf or hard of hearing to to hear what they're saying to hear what they're saying and.
It's similar to. Kind of what Apple did increase lips with future they have called wive titles where if you use the Clips app if you know start talking and you want to share it to your aunt who's deaf like. As you're talking your speech will be shown up as text on this on the phone. So right there in the app, so she'll know what you're saying.
Timothy Buck: What's cool though is I think this expands a little bit beyond like audio that's or video that is sent through Clips. It's anything in your photos. Correct? I'm pretty sure that's how it works. It's like any video that you have in your Google photos can have this turned on which is. Pretty sweet.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, so that that's a good segue into wife caption and live relay. Pretty much. You know again like the Google is live captioning videos and live relay. So what that is... is like you can, let's say you're deaf and you have to call the Hair Salon to make an appointment. You know you can call them and while you're on the call the person on the other line, when they speak, their text,heir speech is being converted into real-time text on your phone. So you don't have to call a third party phone number to facilitate that conversation.
Tim do you have any thoughts on that or questions or?
Timothy Buck: Yeah, when you were tweeting about it, I was following some of the links. I didn't even know that that was the thing in the past where you had somebody else on the call. It's pretty cool that that's been around for a long time. And it's also really exciting to be that Google is making this more available to more people so.
It's great. So I think the last thing at least in that initial article that we've been kind of using as our outline was sound amplifier, which is a not like an AI based thing based on what I've read in a few places it seems. It's pretty much an accessibility setting that will amplify sounds to be louder for people who who need that to be able to hear.
Is that something that Apple currently has an accessibility settings. Do you know?
Steven Aquino: I don't think so. I don't know. If you have hearing aids. They they have a whole bunch of Sound audio settings that you can check if you have a hearing aid. But since I don't have a hearing aid, I can't check but I do know that if you have a made for iPhone hearing aid if it's paired to your iPhone, you get a whole host of like different audio switches and you know, you can flip them and but as far as sound goes.
Timothy Buck: I don't see it. I'm looking at him now. There's a bunch of hearing settings, but they don't seem to be one that does this specific thing. So that's kind of let us know. Let us know if we're wrong.
Steven Aquino: Let me just just double check real quick from my own. Yeah, so there's no like special audio Modes, you know, they said if you have a hearing aid made for iPhone you can turn that on and once it's paired, you know, you'll get stuff but everything else is just sort of. Not for audio like, you know, it sounds as if what Google's doing since I have it here since I have my phone here. I kind of want to take a quick moment to say... I can't remember if it was Mark Gurman or someone else but there was a report somewhere last week that said that in iOS 13 accessibilty is going to have a top level menu option in settings. So now if you want to get to accessibility, you have to go to you have to tap settings, general and then accessibility to get at those options, but in iOS 13 they're going to move accessibility to the top page. So. It'll be right there, which I think is good. So I just wanted to throw that out there.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, that seems like a really small but significant change.
Steven Aquino: That's something I've been talking about for a long time harping on that like it should be top level and since I was staring at the phone, I just wanted to throw that out there.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, for sure. I think we're done with the Google I/O stuff. Yes, so. You have a smart home set up now? that's new.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, relatively new with everything that's been happening here at home. We, well I, because I'm the tech person. I've gotten to kind of turn our house into a smart house and I haven't settled on... You know, you would think as being an Apple person that I would settle on HomeKit as my smart home, but I haven't I have actually cobbled together a smart home that incorporates HomeKit, Nest, some Amazon and a little google mmm sorry folks.
I you know. I've got to talk to a couple people about this and they're like, why don't you just settle on one kind of platform but like I have felt that having more than one smart home kind of is good for us because there are certain things about each system that I want and I don't want to throw all my eggs into one cart.
Timothy Buck: I have found that a lot of the generic. Not necessarily generic but a lot of the like non hubs tend to work with everything which is really really nice. So like Hue Lights work with Google. They work with Amazon. They work with Apple. I'm sure that they are adding ability for it to work with all the others as well.
And I think, the more that that happens the better we all are, because that forces those voice providers to get better and better at actually understanding us and providing is value and not just having us locked in because we've spent you know, $300 on stuff around our houses that only work with them.
So I have a similar combination of some HomePods, some Alexas, and that kind of thing, and they all can do all the same stuff.
Steven Aquino: Yeah. I don't want to like get into great detail about like how this all happened or anything. But last year we redid our house and we decided to.. I decided to upgrade our Thermistat and at first I got a I got an Ecobee because I wanted to work with HomeKit, but then there were some huge headaches with, because my house is over a hundred years old, and turns out that the wiring is incompatable with with our house. Even though the people I talked to said it was. So I ended up getting an nests thermostat e which is the current wirecutter pick and the HVAC guy that we went with he get gave us a discount on the E after I told him about all the headaches. And it's awesome.
Like I think it's really simple to use. I like how it looks in our house. We also have the The Nest smoke alarm that we have in the hallway too and they talk to each other and it's good stuff, you know.
I'm happy with it. And then after I got the thermostat and the smoke alarm done, I kind of went out and got other stuff. So we have a doorbell by Ring.
And I chose the Ring doorbell over, you know something else because. Number one the Wirecutter said it was good. And also they have these little things called Chimes which act as a doorbell if you can't hear your doorbells, so well, so I have two in the house and the front and the back of the house and it's great.
I'm trying to look at my smart home apps here. I've got Hue lights. I've got Weibo smart outlets. We just put a HomeKit sensor in our garage. So now I can tell Siri to open and close it which is super cool.
Timothy Buck: How did that work? Is that... Did you have to get a new garage door opener or is it just like an add-on to your current one?
Steven Aquino: So it was kind of a hassle. We were able to keep the opener itself, but you have to buy these two like. What do you call them? They're like hubs. So there's the actual Hub that turns it into a smart opener that hooks up to you your internet and then there's a separate little thing that is for HomeKit.
Timothy Buck: Hmm. Can you as you've been talking it just had made me interested. Can you? Put all of this stuff in the show notes, like just links to whatever you have.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I can do that.
Timothy Buck: People might be interested.
Steven Aquino: Um, we have a Echo Dot in the kitchen because last year like towards the end of the year I got an Echo clock which is super handy for setting timers when I cook and I just like the idea of having an old-school clock and you know up there and it's easy to tell time just look up and I've got a home pod and I actually I ordered the home security system from Nest and they gave me a free Google home, but I haven't opened it yet. I'm sorry for taking over the conversation. But I've got a whole lot of smart home stuff in the house from different services and you know again, like people say well why don't you just just stick to one system but. There are in other said there are certain things. I want from each thing and they're all good in their own way. So I just use one for this and one for that and it's fine. I mean, it's not hard.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I think honestly, that's what we're moving towards. More and more people I know have a set up similar to that. I don't know if that's going to change anytime soon because they do kind of each have their own benefits and because it works right? Like even if you never buy a HomePod, it makes sense to have things in your home that you can turn on and off from your iPad or your iPhone or whatever it may be. So and it makes sense to keep your options open. I've made that a priority when buying plugs or lights or whatever that I have around our house. So that I don't get locked in and so that I can do it from my phone really easily and I can also speak to Alexa or I could also use the Google app on my phone and speak to that if I wanted. There's a million ways I can do it and that type of choice is good for the market. So yeah.
Steven Aquino: And to speak to the accessibility of it like I haven't touched on that but but in cobbling all this to rather I. I find that it's really really accessible to be able to tap the Home app on my Apple watch or my iPhone and turn on the lights in the in the office or turn on the light in the living room.
You know or tell Alexa to set a timer for you know, well I cook like, you know, it's really opened my eyes to like this smart home stuff is cool. And you know, I'm just you know, I don't have a whole lot but like. But I do have I'm I'm real we're enjoying.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I agree man think we're on the same page there.
Steven Aquino: So on that note, we kind of wanted to finish off the the show. Whoops... By talking about another sort of smart home thing which is. I got an Apple TV 4K, at the end of last year. And I got a 4K TV. Maybe I'll try to put the model number in the show notes.
We got a Black Friday. No, not Black Friday. What was it? I don't know what it was, but we got a deal on some holiday thing on a 4K TV. It's 55 inches. It's Samsung. It's not like the super high-end top of the line. It's not low end either. It's sort of like middle of the road, you know, but as someone who can't see very well and as somebody who didn't have an HD TV until now like this, this TV is awesome. Like, you know, I can see I can see I can see everything on the TV. I don't have to like turn up the text too much and. You know, everything is super Sharp. You know, I kind of put together my home theater with stuff and it's super cool man, like I you know again like my TV is not the highest end thing but you know from where I came from it's super cool.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I'm kind of jealous man. I have a cheap not 4K old TV, but not going to upgrade it anytime soon.
Steven Aquino: So I got it an Apple TV 4K and it was my first time with an Apple TV.
Timothy Buck: What have you thought about the input mechanism and the way it works and I don't know I've been using Apple TVs for years now and I feel like a lot of people have talked about it, but I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Steven Aquino: So I you know, I'm not gonna get too. Deep into it but but I enjoy it. Like I know people say, oh, it's not this it's not that like it should have this it should have that but like for me and what I do with it and what I want with it, like it's great. I do not use the Siri remote. As I was putting together my home theater I decided that I wanted to consolidate everything. So I got the Wirecutter pick for best universal remote which is the Logitech Harmony Companion.
Timothy Buck: Talk about this. Does it work well it?
Steven Aquino: The app is bad and it takes it's sort of fiddly to to do you've got to tell the Hub like what turns on this and how did your sound work and what what input is it on it? I mean it's a it's a pain in the butt. But once you have it all set up, it's cool. Like I just hit one button on the on the remote and I start up my Apple TV and the the Harmony remote controls it fine. The only thing it doesn't do is Siri and search so if I search like the App Store for an app or I want to talk to Siri. You can't do that unless you use the iPhone app.
Timothy Buck: That's kind of a bummer. I use those two things a lot.
Steven Aquino: But you know, it's cool like. You know, I the Apple TV I think is is cool. Like I'm I'm excited for 12.3 for the new TV app and I love the the thing where the how you I don't know how you how you say it like the when you scroll through the app or through the tvOS if you're on the home screen or you're in settings like the Highlight will kind of shit will kind of move and kind of like jump out at you I don't know what that's called, but I think that's really accessible because I can see where I am and I love it. To hear the doo doo doo doo, you know as I'm going through it because those sounds like help me know that that I'm actually doing something, you know, so I I'm a fan of the Apple TV.
I know people hate it there sort of and you know.
Timothy Buck: What's interesting is you have replaced the one thing that people don't like. Right, like nobody dislikes the Apple TV because of, like the only complaint that I've heard have been around how it their remote works. Right? I mean like it's clearly and or gaming right like those two things and you're not really using either of those things.
I think like, The way the rest of it works is it's been around for a while, but it's generally really good and it works really well in that is why people even though they complain about the remote still use it because it is pretty nice. I've liked mine a lot. I don't have the 4K one because I don't have a 4K TV, but I've found it really useful.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I should say I was stupid I got this 64 gig one. That's because I figured for $20 more. You know get to double the storage. But yeah, I'm not sure what else to say about the Apple TV.
Timothy Buck: Did you turn on any accessibility features for the Apple TV? I don't even know the Sara Lee what features it has.
Steven Aquino: So it has a lot like you can use voice over you can you can use bold text you can use switches. There are a few other things that I can't think of at the moment. I haven't turned anything on because I think be between the interface itself and then also the size of my TV like I don't need like I'm not in dire need of anything. The only thing I wish it had was dynamic type. Because I find like when I'm scrolling the App Store or an app or something where the type is sort of smaller and I kind of wish it were bigger, but you can't change it.
Timothy Buck: That's one of those features from iOS. That really should just be everywhere that there is type.
Steven Aquino: And like I mean tvOS is an offshoot of iOS. So like. It's technically there. They just haven't turned it on, you know.
Timothy Buck: Yeah.
Steven Aquino: But yeah, I'm enjoying the Apple TV. I really enjoyed the TV Services event in March because like I had the Apple TV at long last and like I can enjoy like all these shows that Apple's having and everything else and I'll probably at some point I want to write about it, you know between the smart home and Apple TV, but like. I feel like not having an HD tv in the house like really put me at a disadvantage when it came to TV OS because I couldn't talk about it.
Now that I have one like, you know, it's exciting and I can actually you know. I can actually contribute here. So I feel like I feel like that's it for this episode.
Timothy Buck: This was an interesting one spent most of the time talking about Google and smart home stuff and a little bit less about Apple. Definitely let us know what you all think about that. I think. I personally am excited to have this show be focused specifically on accessibility and whatever whatever in that realm is happening whether it's Apple or Google or Microsoft or or Twitter or any company out there. So let us know if there's anything you want to talk about and.
I will add though, for the Apple TV. Fiber on the Apple TV is awesome. I have mine hooked up through Ethernet and it is insanely fast.. Just want to put that in there. So, okay. Alright. Well that does it for this week's show. As Timothy said you can talk to us online if you have any thoughts about what we talked about here or thoughts about the show.
You can find me on Twitter at stephen_aquino. I also have a site stevensblog.co that I haven't written atin six months, but it's there. You can find Timothy on Twitter at timothybucksf and you can find him at timothybuck.me. He also has a show called UNCO which is in its second seasons, a sister podcast of ours. And I've been enjoying that one as well. And. Tim that was a good show.
Steven Aquino: Yeah. Thanks, man.
Timothy Buck: Thanks a lot, and we will talk to you soon. Bye bye.
Rank #4: We're Back
Steven and Timothy talk about the new season of Accessible, where it’s headed, what’s going to change, and what they want to keep the same. Steven goes deep for a minute about why we took a break from the show. He shares some stories from Apple’s subscription event, including being a few feet from J.J. Abrams. And that’s just the beginning.Support us on Patreon.
Steven Aquino: Hi everyone. My name is Steven Aquino and this is Season 2 Episode 1 of Accessible, and with me as always is my friend and co-host Timothy Buck. How are you Tim?
Timothy Buck: I'm doing really well. I'm excited to be back at the show. I've missed it, honestly. It's a lot of fun to make.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I just checked my site. And the last time we posted a show and the last time I wrote a thing on the site was October 1st.
Timothy Buck: Wow
Steven Aquino: Over six months. So we're gonna just take this quote-unquote show and kind of talk about you know, where we've been for the last six months and what we're doing with the show and kind of touch on what's been happening in the Apple world, in the tech world. And yeah, so. I guess all I can say to start is 2018 was a hard year, and it got even harder towards the end of the year.
So we last recorded in October. I had to deal with some pretty serious family health issues here at home and at the beginning of the year. Well. On Christmas, I had a family emergency here at home, and we went to the hospital, and at the beginning of January that family member died, and I've been coping with that ever since and as I write this it's been about three and a half months since since everything happened and it's been hard and.
That's why you haven't heard from me do the show and I kind of felt like in between trying to get my head on with work stuff and I thought that I should try to get back into the show. And here I am. And I kind of feel like I'm rambling here because it's kind of hard to talk about but.
Timothy Buck: No, you're fine, man.
Steven Aquino: You know Tim like, you know, kind of help me out here. Like what do you were here? Like, what's what's on tap here? For season 2.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I guess first. I you already know this. I've told you this before but it is good that you took time. And I just want to say that again and also say that I'm glad that you're back. I think this show is an important show to make and there are people out there who have really found it helpful. And I think now that you are back. It's exciting to me that we can begin making it again and I think there are people out there who are excited to begin listening again, and I guess just welcome back man.
I'm glad that we were recording again and I'm excited about where this new season is going to go. We're calling the season 2. There are some things that we are thinking of changing but a lot about the show is going to stay the same. Do you want to talk about that? Little bit Steven?
Steven Aquino: So we have some ideas for what to do with this season, but the general, you know, high high scope sort of ideas going to stay the same.
We're going to record every other week. So you'll hopefully get two episodes of month and. We are still going to be focused on Apple but. Are going to try to broaden our scope more to talk about the tech industry at large and other tech companies as well.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, we kind of did that some in season 1 for some of the episodes. I remember we talked a little bit about. How Microsoft was doing some really cool stuff with their new Xbox controller and the packaging they used around that and I don't remember but they were they were a couple things like that that I thought were fun to talk about and we're accessibility specific things that are important to talk about so, I don't know Steve and I were talking before the show started and that was one of the things that we wanted to kind of... I don't know how that's going to look but we want to do that a little bit more.
So if there are things that you all know about or you'd like us to talk about definitely reach out tweet at us. Let us know that you know something that that some other company out there other than Apple is doing that's good for accessibility. We'd love to hear about it and talk about it.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, and you know, I've I've done a lot if you've seen. On Twitter trying to talk up other companies who are doing well like Microsoft and and of course Twitter and so yeah, if you hear if you hear anything or want us to talk about something hit us up.
So with all that sort of housekeeping out of the way. I kind of wanted to give a quick update kind of you know, I like I said, I haven't really done a whole lot these last several months. Apple sent me a 12 point 9 inch iPad. In December and it's sat in my living room in the shipping container for three and a half months or something because I was you know, it was hectic with all the home stuff and I finally took it out a couple weeks ago.
Kind of did some stuff with it and I'm still kind of getting my head around it, but the short of it is that it's awesome that the hardware is awesome the smartfolio is awesome. I'm enjoying that because it covers the front and the. Back as well and so as I get some more time with it, I will talk about it here on the show. The other thing I did go to Apple's March 25th event down in Cupertino, I went to their event where they had Steven Spielberg and Oprah. Talked about all the new Services.
Timothy Buck: How close are you Ted to all the celebrities here on stage?
Steven Aquino: Well when I was in the audience, I was not that close when we were done and I was outside just kind of hanging out talking to some people. I was like 10 feet maybe five feet from JJ Abrams.
Timothy Buck: Nice. That's pretty cool.
Steven Aquino: JJ Abrams was in a big herd of people and taking selfies and stuff. I did not get a chance or else I would have but I about five ten feet away from JJ Abrams.
So I did write a story for I more about my thoughts on that event and we'll put that in the notes. But boy that was a hard story to write because my head still not you know in the game. As it were and took me a long time to write that article, but hopefully people enjoyed it. I haven't heard anything about it.
So I don't know but it's out there it was published aouple weeks ago, I think. I can't remember.
Timothy Buck: Yeah. Yeah, I think it was published the day I came over to your house for coffee.
Steven Aquino: Okay. All right.
Timothy Buck: I remember you telling me when I was over.
Steven Aquino: So ya we'll put that in the notes. The other things kind of tangentially going on with me, as far as, you know, everything goes, kind of stuff we can talk about on the show. As you can see Tim. I'm kind of doing this on the Fly.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, it's fine.
Steven Aquino: Um. I am outfitting our house with a bunch of HomeKit stuff. Well HomeKit, and then smart home stuff. So like Tim you've come over like you know that we have a nest thermostat and a Nest smoke alarm and I got some Hue stuff last week and and I actually got me a PS4 to. I figure that out.
Timothy Buck: Oh. Woah. When did you get that?
Steven Aquino: A couple weeks ago. I got it because I thought it would take my mind off of stuff. So.
Timothy Buck: Have you been able to play it very much?
Steven Aquino: Yeah, I've done some of it, and it's going to be interesting to talk about from an accessibility angle, which we can save for another show, but you know. Sony, for the people who know about PS4, Sony has accessibility options in the first screen like the main screen. It's good, you know, they their stuff is good. Like there's a handful of options and they seem to be fine. But like in terms of like the actual content itself like. Third-party developers have a long way to go to support accessibility.
Like I don't know anything about Sony's API's or anything, but let's just say like I have to sit like two feet in front of my 65-inch 4K TV to see anything. So that sucks. But hey, it's 4K and it looks awesome. Right? I don't know. But yeah, so those are kind of things that are happening with me.
I do want to talk about the smart home stuff. I want to talk about the Apple TV. I got an Apple TV in November.
And that was my first time having one so it's been interesting getting to know that. And so there's a lot I think that we'll be able to talk about you know in between now and like June.
Timothy Buck: Yeah. I'm just taking notes on what you said. We've got a PS4 and accessibility. Accessibility and smart home stuff. The iPad Pro kind of like a deeper dive on your sights on that. And then the Apple TV with a 4K TV, the accessibility thoughts on that as well. So that's that's quite a bit to dive deep into over to the next few episodes.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, we've got some good stuff to talk about. And you know as I say, like, we are just trying to keep the same sort of show. We had some good feedback about the last season, you know, I had Sarah Herrlinger on at WWDC. and that was a huge hit and you know, all of our other episodes we had people on the the show if you guys want to go check it out. You can go to accessible.fm, and all of our past episodes are there.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I think one of the things that I really enjoyed was was having other people on so like the Sarah episode was really really good and we had Rene Ritchie on and I thought that was a really fun episode.
And so that's an one of the things that we've talked about doing a little bit more in season 2. It's not going to be every single episode. But if there are people that you'd like us to have conversations with let us know tweet at us and we'll we'll think about it and we'll let you know when we're going to have have people on.
Steven Aquino: I should say looking at our our notes of people who we want on the show. There are several of these folks, who are at Apple now, so I don't know how well that's good going to be but you know, we will get people.
So Tim, I kind of feel like I've talked a lot. Do you want to jump in and kind of you know add anything?
Timothy Buck: Yeah, I'm trying to think. Honestly, I think this episode is mostly going to be a catch-up for those of you who listened to season one and wanted to see more coming from us. I don't think we're going to dive too deep into any topics today, but we just wanted to get something out the door. And kind of get get back into a rhythm of recording regularly and getting things released for accessible and like we've said I think season 1 was successful, but for good reason we had to take a break and we're both excited to be back.
We want to keep this show around and we want to make it better and better and if you guys can give us feedback on how to do that. Let us know if there are people you want us to have on the show. Let us know if there are topics that we're not thinking about that you think would be really important for us to cover all of that kind of stuff would be great because we want to make a truly a truly good.
Show that you all enjoy that informs you that's fun. And I think that's possible. We just kind of got to get back in the swing of things here. And and and yeah, I guess I guess that's kind of all I'm looking at our notes and stuff. I'm excited that we we already have a list of things that we can cover, and I think those those are going to be some really interesting conversations to dive into and they're things that people are interested in and then basically by the time that those episodes are completed we're going to run into Apple season.
We've got WWDC coming relatively soon and no idea if we'll be able to have a more interviews with Apple people, but that would be awesome if we can make that happen and even if we can't we'll we'll try to have people on from the Apple Community to talk about this. So I think honestly, I'm just excited to be back doing this and it's going to be a lot of fun to record and to produce into to share with the world.
And and and I feel like I'm rambling now at this point, but it's just a it's a show that I believe in. I think it's important and. And I just want to see it succeed not not so that we make any money but because I think the purpose of it is so good. And that's actually part of why I want to talk about more than just Apple and accessibility because I want to highlight the good things that are being done in accessibility across the board.
Like I'm thinking of a kind of like you've been tweeting a good bit regularly about Twitter and some of the really good stuff they've done for accessibility and Apple and how often times they get a bad rap for not innovating at all. And when you point to the accessibility stuff that they've done that literally nobody else has done that is a really really important type of innovation that we need to give them props for.
Because we want to incentivize that in these types of businesses and the more we can become a place that that shares those things, what's going really well and maybe things that aren't going so well on these these large important platforms and companies that are impacting, you know hundreds of millions, if not billions of people, that can be that can be really powerful and especially because so.
The other people who do listen to the show are Engineers or Technical and some way working in product or at companies that build software opening their eyes to some of the things that can be done in accessibility and some of the ideas and concepts. that should be thought about when you're building products is. It is really important.
We may never know the name of the company that somebody works for or and we may never use their product. But if, if they, if a listener out, there can be encouraged to think about accessibility as they build their SaaS app that you and I never use that is a success, you know that is that is a benefit that is a goal of this show is to get the idea of accessibility and building accessible software and Hardware out into the world.
And for those people who are listening who have any sort of impact on that. I would just say. Please take the time to think about those sort of things as you build those products.
Steven Aquino: Yeah, those those are all good points and to Echo what you said to him? I'm happy to be here. You know, I'm happy to be back. I wouldn't necessarily say I'm jumping in headfirst, but you know, this is good for me and a couple of things I just wanted to add.
I'm excited about because I had to do a bit of stuff to before we started. This is the first episode of the show that I'm recording on over fiber. We got fiber at our house at the beginning of April. And I had to update macOS 10, and I had to do all sorts of other things before I started today. It was a huge pain in the butt, but the fiber either net has been super strong and hopefully my uploads and will be. You know good and Tim won't have to wait days for audio. The other thing is. I forgot what the other thing was.
Timothy Buck: I was going to say. I think this is the first episode where your mic is. Is correctly set up.
Steven Aquino: Oh, yes. Yes.
Timothy Buck: So yes, it was funny. We were trying to figure out why the audio quality kept going like it just never was exactly the same like we have the exact same Mike and we had the exact same settings on everything but for some reason Steven's audio quality was just not good and I think we have that fixed now.
Steven Aquino: Yes, I think so. I hope so.
Timothy Buck: Yeah fingers crossed. I haven't looked at the results of this recording yet. But I hope it's better.
Steven Aquino: So Tim, I think that's good for now. I think we covered everything that we that we wanted to cover. So with that said we will see you back in a fortnight.
You can find me online on Twitter at steven_aquino, and you can find Timothy at timothybucksf. You can find the Show at _accessblfm, and and accessible.fm is our site.
Go listen to season 2 of our sister show, UNCO, that just started.
Timothy Buck: Yeah, that's been a lot of fun to record. If you haven't heard season two of my other show. UNCO is I'm making series and so by the time this goes out the door.
I think the whole first series will have been released. It's called the future of Podcasts, and in the first series I talked with Stephen Hackett, Zac Khan, and Carolina Milanesi about the future of podcasts and that that has been a really fun show to produce and it's been doing really well. So if you're interested definitely go check that out at unco.fm.
Rank #5: That Cap Is Satan
Steven and Timothy are back together after a while. Topics include Apple’s October 30 media event, Timothy’s new MacBook Air, Steven’s new iPhone XR, and Steven’s first-ever high-definition television.Support us on Patreon and check out this week's after-show episode—Getting Water.
Rank #6: All the New Toys
Steven and Timothy have a long discussion about the new Apple Watch Series 4 and iPhone XS from an accessibility perspective, then Steven gets super excited about the forthcoming iPhone XR.Support us on Patreon and check out this week's after-show episode—Meeting for Coffee.
Rank #7: We’re Walking Podcast Sponsors
Steven and Timothy discuss Steven’s trip to Oregon, what they expect from Apple’s September 12 media event, and Timothy explains how he configured his AirPort Express to use AirPlay 2.Support us on Patreon and check out this week's after-show episode—The Future of Accessible.
Rank #8: We Don’t Have a Title with Shelly Brisbin
Steven and Timothy are joined by special guest Shelly Brisbin. Topics include Shelly’s career in tech journalism and podcasting, the portrayal of accessibility coverage in the mainstream tech press, why accessibility talk on podcasts is important, our favorite iOS 12 features, and more.Support us on Patreon and check out this week's after-show episode—Something Clever.
Guest: Shelly Brisbin
Rank #9: Purposeful Packaging
Steven and Timothy talk about their impressions so far of the iOS 12 beta, Steven's new Kindle Paperwhite, the accessible packaging of Microsoft's upcoming adaptive Xbox controller, and how to attract disabled people to beta-test accessibility features in apps.Support us on Patreon and check out this week's after-show episode—Goals for the Show.
Rank #10: I'll Get Off My Soapbox Now with Aleen Simms
Steven and Timothy are joined by special guest Aleen Simms. Topics include diversity in tech and the disabled, the representation/discussion of diversity and accessibility on tech podcasts and in the tech media, the importance of accessible design in software, and more.We now have a Patreon! Help support the show, and check out this week's after-show episode—No Worries.
Special Guest: Aleen Simms