Apple’s iOS 6 introduces a feature that will benefit teachers and parents alike. Guided Access is a new accessibility function on the iPhone and iPad that lets you disable certain controls within an app and prevents kids from navigating away. When I was a special ed. teacher, I would have loved something like this.
It’s been demonstrated that many students with autism have benefited from using the iPad. That’s something I relate to, as I was a teacher at a school for kids with autism and other developmental delays for eight years. We used all sorts of assistive communication devices, and ran the same problem over and over: the kids often tapped buttons that they shouldn’t, usually inadvertently. It was frustrating for the students, the teachers and the parents.
I took grief about this on Twitter today, but I’m right. Apple has re-designed the look of the iOS App Store with iOS 6, which was released today. App icons “bleed” off of the edge of the screen, prompting the user to swipe and see more.
I hate it.
It’s ugly, it’s cluttered, it’s un-Apple. Worst of all, it’s confusing.
Is my iPhone displaying this improperly?
Should I be holding this in landscape?
Why are these apps cut off?
In the images above, the iOS 6 App Store is on the left. There are seven items displayed. I can’t read the titles of three of them. Some people told me that I find it troublesome because I’m a geek and typical users will find the positioning helpful. I disagree. In the image above, you can see “See All >” on the screen. It clearly suggests that there’s more off screen.
The iOS 5.x App Store layout, pictured on the right above, is tidy, clear and usable. It was far superior.
What’s worse, Bright explains, is how many elements do not support touch at all, like check boxes and radio buttons in the options screen, as well as dialog boxes like Excel’s “format cells.” As Bright says, “The Office team appears to be positioning touch support more as a way of enabling simple edits to be made as a kind of fall-back—a stopgap solution for those times when the mouse and keyboard aren’t available.”
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“icloud.com email addresses are now available for iCloud mail users. Users signing up for new Apple IDs, or enabling Mail on their iCloud account for the first time, will automatically receive an @icloud.com email address instead of a me.com email address. iCloud users with @me.com addresses that have been used with iOS 6 beta 3 will receive an @icloud.com email address that matches their @me.com address.”
Note that existing @me.com and @mac.com users will not be required to switch. Heck, I still use the @mac.com address I got through iTools. Still, I wondered if Apple would make @icloud.com email address available some day. Now I know.
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These features will let customers with disabilities use their iPhones, iPod touches and iPads like never before. Scott explained that many students with autism have benefited from using the iPad. That’s something I relate to, as I was a teacher at a school for kids with autism and other developmental delays for eight years. We used all sorts of assistive communication devices, and ran into a problem that Forstall described: the kids often tapped buttons that they shouldn’t, usually inadvertently. It was frustrating for the students, the teachers and the parents.
Guided Access, a new feature in iOS 6, address the issue. It lets you identify and disable certain controls before handing over the iPad. Fantastic. Additionally, Guided Access locks the iPad into a single app. That way, the Home button can’t be pressed, pushing the student out of the app s/he should be using.
Scott mentions other use cases. For example, typical students can be “locked” into an electronic test, preventing “cheating” with Google. Likewise, it’s a great setup for a kiosk iPad at a museum.
I’m looking forward to using Guided Access and Single App Mode with my own kids. Sometimes I’ll let them play around but don’t want them switching into SMS, email or what have you. Now I can do that easily. Well done, Apple. This is something I’ve wanted for a long time.
I love watching Apple make major product announcements. They’re just fun. A big part of the fun is finding little tidbits that are mentioned in passing or breezed over entirely. Apple’s presenters typically end their segments with an overview slide. Those slides often contain the very tidbits I’m talking about: fun and compelling. Here’s a look at what was on the slides during today’s keynote presentation at WWDC 2012.
Here’s the slide that wrapped up the Mountain Lion presentation. On it you’ll find: