Apple iPad 2 Accessibility Features Review


Published 2011-10-22 (Rev. 2015-01-23) -- A review of the new Apple iPad 2 accessibility features for visually impaired and persons with disabilities.

Contact Details: For further information please contact Ian Langtree at Disabled World

Quote: "The same VoiceOver screen reader available on the Apple iPhone also comes standard on the iPad 2."

Main Document

The iPad2 is produced by Apple Inc. and started to be sold in the United States on March, 25th, 2011. The original iPad version 1 came equipped with some convenient accessibility features for persons with disabilities, the iPad 2 has expanded on those features.

The iPad 2 is a tablet computer meaning that rather than having a traditional laptop with a screen and a keyboard, you just have a touch screen, to navigate you simply touch the screen.

The iPad 2 is a little different to the first iPad version. In terms of the accessibility, it's still a very accessible device. The original iPad really broke a lot of ground in being accessible by having VoiceOver which is a screen reader which reads out web pages and things in the operating system. It also has a full screen zoom so you can zoom in and out and get around the device that way, if you have low vision. On Apple's website at the company illustrates how the device's design is accessible for those who are blind or are visually impaired, those who are deaf or are hard of hearing, and those who have impaired physical or motor skills.

Two main things that were added to the iPad 2 with applicability to Accessibility were FaceTime and PhotoBooth. PhotoBooth on the Mac has been a really interesting tool with Autism and other Learning and behavioral disabilities. Original features from the iPad 1 such as VoiceOver, Mono Audio, Speak Auto-text, Zoom, White on Black, Large Text, and Triple-click Home, are still available on iPad2.

The same VoiceOver screen reader available on the Apple iPhone also comes standard on the iPad 2. VoiceOver is a gesture-based screen reader, allowing you to enjoy the fun and simplicity of iPad if you are blind or have a visual impairment. With VoiceOver, you use gestures to physically interact with items on the display screen. Instead of memorizing key commands or pressing arrow keys to find what you're looking for, just touch the screen to hear an item's description, then gesture with a double-tap, drag, or flick to control the iPad.

VoiceOver on the iPad also gives you information about your device - including battery level, network signal level, and time of day. It also lets you know if the screen display changes to landscape or portrait orientation and when the screen is locked or unlocked.

Thanks to the intelligent keyboard with predictive text, auto-correct and auto-capitalization, a lot of the work is taken out of typing. Speak Auto-text lets you know what corrections it's making, and you can choose to accept those changes by pressing the space-bar or you can keep typing your intended word to override Auto-text's suggestion.

Persons who have experienced hearing loss in one ear can utilize the mono audio feature, which allows users to hear the left and right channels' audio in both ears. Those who are extremely hard of hearing can utilize the iPad 2 FaceTime feature to video chat with others where hand gestures, visual cues or dry erase boards may assist in the conversation. Closed captioning and subtitling are also available on movies purchased from the iTunes Store.

iPad 2 Facts and Accessibility Features:

iPad 2 with Logitech Zagg Keyboard Case
iPad 2 with Logitech Zagg Keyboard Case
  • Software: iOS 4.3.3
  • Hardware: A5 Processor
  • Internet Connectivity: Wi-Fi or WiFi& 3G
  • Cameras: Front & Rear capable of taking pictures and video
  • Costs: $499 - $829 depending on amount of hard drive space and type of internet connectivity

Accessibility Features:

  • Ability to change the display's contrast.
  • The user guide is available in an audio format.
  • Ability to speak predicted words as the user types.
  • The user can increase the fonts and size of icons.
  • The iPad 2 has few buttons that are easy to find and detect.
  • The iPad2 has built-in support for refreshable braille displays.
  • Minimal buttons, making them easy to memorize, locate and use.
  • Have information from the calendar, emails, or iBooks read aloud.
  • Works with a variety of headsets depending on the user's preference.
  • Ability to magnify the screen of any application to see what is on the display.
  • The iPad2 supports the playback of open captions, closed captions, and subtitling.
  • The new iPad 2 can notify the user when calendar events are going to occur and when e-mail has been sent.

iPad 3 Release Date:

There isn't any official word from Apple on when the iPad 3 will be released; however, rumors indicate that it will be announced sometime early next year. Reports state the trial production is likely to start this October. One of the major reasons why the launch of the device has delayed is due to the Retina Display technology.

Comments and Discussion:

Questions and AnswersHave Your Say: We welcome relevant discussions, criticism and your unique insights. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved. NOTE: We do not verify information posted in the comment section.