Though I have had this blog up for about two months now, I haven't had anything to post until now.
From a blindness perspective, I will explain my observations of the iPhone 3GS, a fabulous device I received on June 21, 2010. I will do my best to explain the advantages and disadvantages of owning such a device and attempt to keep an objective view.
First, I want to tell you how you as a blind person can use an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. As all three of these devices have a similar method of activating the built-in screen reader called VoiceOver, I shall explain it shortly. I want to tell you that a person trying to cell you one of these devices probably won't know about VoiceOver, so it's a good idea to know the process to activate it.
First, have the person helping you go to page one of the home screen, then have them tap settings. Once the settings window is open, have them tap General, Accessibility, VoiceOver. From there, have them enable VoiceOver. It should begin speaking immediately, warning you that activating VoiceOver will change the jestures on your device. Confirm that you wish to continue by flicking right on the screen until you reach the okay button, then tap twice.
Before I continue, I want to explain some of the basic gestures to keep in mind before you use the device, or you won't have any idea what you're doing. To move right one element on the screen, flick right. To move left, flick left. To activate an item, tap the screen twice. To see what item on the screen you are touching, simply touch the item. For example, if you touch the top right of the screen, you will hear VoiceOver read you the battery status.
Now that the basic gestures are out of the way, I'll continue with my personal observations, as this isn't a tutorial. Perhaps I'll post one of those later.
With those basic gestures, the iPhone 3GS is quite easy to use. To clear up any confusion, those gestures apply to the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4G, iPod 3G and above, and iPad. Those gestures are all you need to navigate your way around the device and get a feel for it.
The things that concerned me the most were ease of use, battery life, and the ability to deactivate sounds when in a quiet, public situation such as a movie theator. On all counts, my concerns were unnecessary. The iPhone 3GS is very easy to use, and as I don't use it much, the battery life is quite good, not quite as good as my LG4650, though. I've not had too much time to test it under a normal situation. I keep receiving calls. Though most of you might be perplexed at that statement, I'll tell you that a normal situation for me is receiving hardly any calls. I might receive one or two calls in a week, and those calls might only be one or two minutes long. Though I have a phone, I try to use it as little as possible. Strange, as the iPhone is practically a computer.
There are a variety of different applications available for the iPhone. Due to its somewhat closed nature, however, the iPhone doesn't have as many applications available as I'd like it to have. This has ups and downs. For instance, to tether my iPhone, I must pay for the ATNT tethering plan, and I cannot use my iPhone on any other provider other than ATNT. I can get around both of these issues by jailbreaking the iPhone, a process in which you modify the operating system to allow instalation of applications that are not approved by Apple. I discourage such a process for one simple reason. The application that allows you to install other applications is not accessible with VoiceOver. Unless you want sighted help each time you want to install an application, don't jailbreak.
Anyway, we're getting off topic.
I have installed a few different applications and have found them quite easy to use. Navigon for GPS, HeyTel for push to talk, and Skype, a popular application that will allow you to talk with many people using the same program. All of these applications are easy to use, though I don't use them too much.
As I mentioned before, the iPhone is easy to use. Some, like me, might be concerned about the actual phone functionality of the iPhone, so I'll give a brief explanation below. The contacts application is fully accessible and easy to use. I'll not go into typing here, but you can do it as a blind person. I will explain in my tutorial, should I post one. Sending and receiving text messages is also easy to do, especially if you have a Bluetooth keyboard or iPad doc. Making calls is easy, though, if you receive another call, you must find and double-tap the Hold And Answer button. You must first hide the keypad to do so. Other than that, the iPhone is very easy to use and I am quite satisfied.
The battery life, for me, is very satisfactory. I have been able to use the iPhone for a week before charging it, though perhaps use is not the correct word. The iPhone has been sitting on standby for that long. I'd like to clarify what standby mode is, as I was confused about it before I got mine. Standby is a mode in which the iPhone is powered on, but idle. When you put a phone on a desk and leave it sitting there doing nothing, it is on standby mode, waiting for any incoming data and occasionally pinging your cellphone carrier to ensure you are still connected.
If anyone has any questions about this blog or post, feel free to post a comment. At the moment, my blog posts are moderated, so I'll have to approve it before your comment will be displayed.