Monday, September 29

A mainstream accessible MP3 player?

Greetings. Brian Hartgen, a name that many in the AT world either do or should know, has produced a review of the new iPod Nano from Apple. This player, among the sizable new 8 or 16 GB of space, seeks to provide accessible menus to the blind or low vision user. Though it's not possible to pull the player out of the box and have it talk, the process for getting it to talk is fairly straight forward. Since JAWS 10 beta 2 now supports the iTunes 8 software, and since this software is needed to help the Nano talk, along with managing content on the Nano, this is a good sign from Apple, a mainstream company. Whether this development came from an agreement between Apple and the National Federation of the Blind, or from a meeting of the top people in Apple wanting to put a player out there that people with low vision could use and afford, is for others to debate. For me, I'm simply happy that a mainstream company is stepping out and putting out an accessible alternative to the other accessible MP3 players that are geared more for the blind person, such as the Book Port, Book Courier, and others. Hopefully this will spread to the other iPods from Apple and perhaps even to other mainstream companies as more of the general population ages.

After listening to Brian's thorough review of the nano, I've learned that it's not a fully accesible player like the Book Port or even the Victor Reader Stream may be. However, it is a step in the right direction. Would I consider getting an iPod nano? Perhaps, but then again, there are things that my Stream does that the nano can't do yet, such as read and access text and RTF files, and more importantly for me anyway, read the new digital talking books from NLS. I spend more time by far listening to NLS books on my Stream than I do listening to music or other content. However, some of the features of the nano are impressive, such as being able to listen to menu prompts, settings, and song/album information, all while playing music. The Stream also allows one to make audio recordings, something that I'm doing more and more of, such as recording talks with my doctor, a walk down the street with my new guide dog, or other things.

Anyway, if you're interested, you can download Brian's review of the iPod Nano. Enjoy.


  1. It really is commendable on their part. Just keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for your advice!! Well, I'm also planning to purchase a new ipod from Circuit City.