updated 04:15 pm EDT, Mon September 29, 2008
Apple is adding new accessibility functions to iTunes, including updates to allow it to work with software used by the blind for reading the Internet, according to the Associated Press. Tony Olivero, of the National Federation of the Blind, recently demonstrated the technology at the Perkins School for the Blind. Olivero showed how a voice would read out whatever the mouse pointer was slid over, including file commands and movie, music and TV titles in the iTunes Store.
Massachusetts' Attorney General, Martha Coakley, is said to have approached Apple about making iTunes fully accessible, using voiceover technology developed for Mac OS X Leopard. Apple agreed and is now committed to making iTunes fully accessible by the end of June 2009. Coakley argues that Apple is an industry leader, and that its example may force or lure other companies into following suit.
The new iTunes functions are supported by default on a Mac, but Windows users need to purchase additional software which is expensive, generally costing around $1,000.