Hello, some may find this interesting. I did upgrade to the new apple tv.
I can say it is much better than the older one.
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Sent: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 10:31 PM
Subject: [New post] 4th Generation Apple TV Accessibility Overview
luisperezonline posted: "I was already happy with my third-generation Apple TV,
but when I read that Apple was expanding the support for accessibility in the
fourth generation model I knew I was going to pre-order the device as soon as
it became available. Today, my 4th-generatio"
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New post on The Website of Luis Perez
4th Generation Apple TV Accessibility Overview
by <http://luisperezonline.com/author/luisperezonline/> luisperezonline
I was already happy with my third-generation Apple TV, but when I read that
Apple was expanding the support for accessibility in the fourth generation
model I knew I was going to pre-order the device as soon as it became
available. Today, my 4th-generation Apple TV finally arrived, and it does not
disappoint with regard to its accessibility. This post is not an in-depth
review of the new Apple TV (there are plenty of those online already (including
a really nice one from <http://www.imore.com/apple-tv> iMore, but rather my
first impressions of the set top box as someone with a visual impairment and a
personal interest in accessibility. I will also just focus on the built-in
features of the new Apple TV, rather than the apps that can now be installed on
the device (that will make for a separate post as I explore the App Store
further in the next few weeks and even more apps become available).
The new Siri remote.
* Nicely rounds out the support for accessibility across the Apple
ecosystem by expanding on the support for VoiceOver in the previous model,
adding Zoom and providing many of the same options for customizing the
interface that are available on other Apple devices.
* Major accessibility features such as VoiceOver and Zoom are
responsive and perform well, with little lag.
* The interface is cleaner and works better across the room: for
example, it is now much easier for me to tell when an item has focus, something
I struggle with on my third-generation Apple TV (especially on my smaller TV).
* Other than the new Siri remote there are no other options for
controlling the new Apple TV, which does have an impact on accessibility for
some users. I hope this situations is addressed soon through a software update.
Setup and Interface
Setup for the new Apple TV couldn’t be easier. Once you have your power and
HDMI cables connected and your new device has come on, you can triple-click the
Menu button to turn on VoiceOver so that it can guide you through the rest of
the setup. After you have selected your langauge and country/region, a brand
new feature even allows you to place your iPhone (running iOS 9.1 or later)
near the Apple TV to provide it with your network and Apple ID information.
The rest of the setup goes as expected, with selections for enabling location
services and Siri, sending diagnostics data to Apple and developers, agreeing
to the terms of service no one reads and so on.
Once the setup is complete, you will notice that the new interface is much
brighter than the old one, with light gray backgrounds rather than black
Some people have complained about this, and I can see where it can be a problem
if you have an Apple TV in your bedroom and want to use it while the other
person (roommate or significant other) is trying to sleep. It would be nice to
have the option of a dark theme like Invert Colors on iOS devices for those who
Overall, I found the interface to be much easier for me to use. The item that
has the focus pops out a bit, which is a more pronounced focus indidcator from
in the older interface. Whether on the apps grid or in the menus I found this
change made it easier for me to quickly know what item I had selected. The
interface supports greater customization than on any previous Apple TV, thanks
to an entire section labeled Interface in the Settings.
When you go into Settings, the first thing you will notice is that the
Accessibility options are now near the top of the General pane. In fact, they
are one of the first things you see, right after the optons for the
screenreader. On the previous Apple TV model, you had to scroll quite a bit to
locate Accessibility toward the bottom of the General pane.
Of course, you can still use the Accessibility shortcut to quickly enable and
disable accessibility features without going into Settings. Whereas on the old
Apple TV you invoked this Accessibility Shortcut (it was actually called the
Accessibility Menu) by pressing and holding the Menu button, on the new one you
do it by triple-clicking that same button (much like you triple-click the Home
button on iOS devices to do the same thing).
A nice touch is that VoiceOver will read the options shown by the Accessibility
Shortcut even if you have it disabled in Settings. Similarly, you can
double-click the Siri button to hear the currently selected item read aloud.
When I did this with Zoom selected in the Accessbility pane I even had a nice
hint describing how Zoom works. For most items, it will just read the label and
let you know the current state (on or off).
In addition to the Accessibility Shortcut, the new Interface section of the
Acccessibiliy pane includes a number of options for cusotmizing the appearance
of the display (similar to options already found on iOS and Apple Watch),
* Bold Text: a simple toggle that provides more weight to the text
labels. Enabling this feature will require a quick restart just as it does on
other Apple devices.
* Increase Contrast: there are two options. The first reduces the
transparency, while the second one changes the focus style by adding a thick
outline around the currently selected item.
* Reduce Motion: another toggle that removes animations throughout the
interface for those who are sensitive to the extra motion.
Along with adjusting the appearance of the interface, the new Apple TV has
retained the options for customizing closed captions that were available
before. These are found in the Media section of the Accessibility pane, where
you can also enable audio descriptions for programs that include them. In
addition to turning on the captions, you can still customize the style by
selecting Large Text and Classic options or creating your own style with many
options for both the text and the background.
VoiceOver and Zoom
These two features in the Vision section of the Accessibility pane are the
biggest changes to the accessiiblity of the Apple TV in the new model. Zoom is
brand new, and supports magnification up to 15X (the default is 5X). Once Zoom
is enabled, you will zoom in and out by triple-clicking the touchpad on the new
remote. While you are zoomed in, you can interact with Zoom in a variety of
* drag one finger over the touchpad to pan in any direction. As you
pan, an overlay will let you give you an idea of what area of the interface you
are zoomed in on (very similar to the indicator you get with Apple Watch when
you use the Digital Crown to zoom by row).
* stop panning by tapping the touchpad with two fingers. At that point,
you will be able to use the usual flicking gestures to move from one item to
the next without panning, but you can resume panning at any time with a second
two-finger tap on the touchpad.
* adjust the zoom level by double-tapping with two fingers, holding,
and then swiping up or down with the two fingers without letting go. The
maximum amount you can zoom will be determined by the value selected in
VoiceOver was already available on the older model, but the touchpad allows it
to be an even more robust solution on the new one. If you have used VoiceOver
on an iOS device (or on a Mac laptop) you will already be somewhat familiar
with how to interact with VoiceOver on the new Apple TV. However, if you do
need some help, just know that you now have a VoiceOver Practice that is only
shown when you have VoiceOver turned on (sound familiar, iOS users?).
VoiceOver supports the following gestures on the new Apple TV remote (all
gestures are performed on the touchpad area of the new remote):
* Move your finger around on the touchpad: move the focus to have
VoiceOver speak the currently selected item aloud.
* Flick in any direction with one finger: move the focus in that
direction to select an app or menu item.
* Double-click on the touchpad: make a selection.
* Flick down with two fingers: read from the current location to the
* Flick up with two fingers: start reading from the top of the screen.
* Two-finger tap: pause/resume speaking.
Again, these gestures should be familiar if you have used an iOS device or a
Mac laptop with the Trackpad Commander turned on. Speaking of the Trackpad
Commander, the rotor is also supported and, you guessed it, you turn the
virtual dial clockwise or counter-clockwise with two fingers to select a rotor
option and then flick up or down with one finger to adjust its value.
The rotor can be used to adjust the speech rate with more control (as opposed
to the option in Settings that only allows you to select from a few preset
values such as “Very Slow” or “Very Fast”). It also allows you hear items read
by character or word, to enable or disable Direct Touch (where instead of
flicking to navigate in a linear way you can just move your finger on the
touchpad to move around the interface with more freedom) and more.
You can use Siri to turn on VoiceOver (just say “Turn VoiceOver on”) but for
some reason you can’t do the same for Zoom and other settings. When I tried it
all it did was open the Settings, but it didn’t take me to Zoom or turn on the
feature as requested. In the case of closed captions, Siri just said it
“couldn’t do that.” I’m hoping that a future update will add to the
accessibility features that are well supported by Siri.
Overall, I like the new Apple TV from my limited exposure to it in the few
hours since it arrived at my home. I like the updated interface, which is more
cleanly laid out and designed for better visibility from across the room. From
an accessibility perspective, I think Apple TV is the best game in town. None
of the other set top boxes I have tried have the accessibility support Apple TV
had even before the new model came out.
The new model ups the ante with more options for customizing the appearance of
the interface, the addition of Zoom for those who have low vision, and an
enhanced VoiceOver that is more than ready for use with apps (though how well
that works will depend as always on how well developers incorporate
accessibility support in their apps). Performance is a lot better too. I almost
forgot just how much time I spent waiting on my older Apple TV until I switched
back to compare some of the features. The new model is a lot more responsive
and just performs better all around.
Having said all that, whether I end up liking this Apple TV as much as I have
the previous model will depend on what happens in the next few weeks and months
as updates to tvOS are released. As good as the accessibility features and
performance of this new version are, there are still a number of issues that
need to be addressed:
* No Podcasts app: The company that basically brought us the podcast
has launched a set top box without a dedicated podcast app (and as I write
this, there are no Apple TV versions of Downcast or Overcast in the App Store).
Aside from renting movies, podcasts are the next thing i consume the most on
Apple TV. I can set them to play in the background while I do other things
around the house, and I have a number of favorites I listen to on a regular
basis. I’m hoping Apple is just taking a little bit more time to make sure the
podcast app is done right when it is finally released.
* No Remote app support: the current Remote app for iOS is not
compatible with the new Apple TV. This means that someone with a motor
difficulty is not able to use Switch Control on an iOS device to navigate the
Apple TV interface through the Remote app. While the built in accessibility
features of the new Apple TV do an excellent job of accommodating the needs of
those with vision and hearing difficulties, it is important to address this
omission to make sure switch users can enjoy the Apple TV along with the rest
* No support for external Bluetooth keyboards: Probably my biggest
annoyance was having to go back to typing in user names and passwords with the
onscreen keyboard. I have always used either the Remote app for iOS or an
external keyboard connected over Bluetooth for this purpose, but both options
are not possible at launch. Especially when entering complicated passwords,
doing it on an external keyboaard is much faster and easier.
* The remote: I generally like the new remote. It is lightweight and
feels good in the hand. My issue is that I know there is good likelihood that I
will lose the thing and it will cost me $79 to replace it (the previous remote
was only $19 for comparison). I’m thinking I may buy a $25 tile and find a way
to attach it to the remote just in case. I’m surprised Apple did not build the
same Ping feature that is available between the Apple Watch and the iPhone,
allowing us to quickly find a misplaced remote by emitting a loud ping sound.
For now Tile may be my best bet ($25 is much better than $79). In the meantime,
set up my existing TV remote to work with the Apple TV.
Most of these issues are easily fixable with a software update and as I went to
publish this post I read that
<http://www.imore.com/tvos-91-beta-released-developers-new-apple-tv> Apple had
released a beta of tvOS 9.1, the first update for the new Apple TV. It is
unclear whether this update will bring back some of the features listed above,
or if it is just a bug fix release. Time will tell.
Are you planning to buy an Apple TV? If you already have it, what do you like
about it? What do you think can be improved?
<http://luisperezonline.com/author/luisperezonline/> luisperezonline |
November 3, 2015 at 10:06 pm | Tags:
<http://luisperezonline.com/?tag=apple-tv> Apple TV,
<http://luisperezonline.com/?tag=tvos> tvOS | Categories:
<http://luisperezonline.com/?cat=610013> Apple TV | URL:
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