rumors suggest that the iPhone may soon be more receptive to my pleas: Ars Technica reports thatuncovered software frameworks in the iPhone 3.0 beta might represent speech recognition and synthesis systems.
Of course, this isn’t exactly out of left field. Both the latest iPod nano and iPod shuffle include speech synthesis capabilities, dubbed Spoken Menus in the 4G nano and VoiceOver in the iPod shuffle, that allow users to navigate the devices without having to look at the screen. In both cases it helps people who are visually impaired use the devices, but in the shuffle it’s also a necessity, since the device has no screen and a potentially confusing control scheme.
The iPhone and iPod touch are extremely difficult for visually impaired users to interact with, as they have little in the way of tactile cues or feedback. Voice recognition in particular has been a heavily requested feature, as it could improve not just accessibility, but everyday tasks such as dialing a number without having to look at the phone’s screen—handy for when you’re driving, for example.