My Review of the iPhone 5S

I finally received my iPhone 5S on Friday. Yes, as much as I love my Apple products, I really have no interest or desire to wait on lines for hours to buy a new device. I admire those who do this, but to me, I would prefer to order mine online and wait the extra time. Anticipation can be difficult, especially as others have already purchased their devices, but I can live with it and I usually have enough here to distract me anyway to keep me busy so that I don’t really think about how much time I have before I receive mine … Really, I don’t think about that at all ….

Fortunately, I didn’t have any crazy experiences during the ordering process. In fact, it’s actually a great story. I used the Apple Store application for the iPhone to place my order.

I ordered my 5S on September 20 at around 9:05 in the morning. I launched the Apple Store app on my iPhone 5, which had to update itself, and went through the ordering process in less than 5 minutes.
• 16 GB model
• Space Gray
• no extra case
• Apple Care included

That was it. It was a completely painless operation. So much, so, in fact, that I found myself calling the Apple Store later just to be sure the order had been placed, even as I did receive an email confirmation. Continue reading

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A Review of the iPhone 5s,

Courtesy of Scott Granados, I present to you yet another excellent review he has written and kindly given permission to post here.

Ok, since there’s interest…

REVIEW Apple iPhone 5S

So, I officially have joined the Apple Fan Boys and waited on line to jump on the latest and greatest from Apple, the iPhone 5S. I ended up waiting about an hour and a quarter and it was well worth the wait.
The specific device I purchased was the iPhone 5S, Space Grey with 64GB of storage. As in all previous releases, the iPhone was priced at 199 for the 16 GB version through to $399 for the 64 GB version and of course this was with an upgrade or free new customer activation.
Activation was very simple, I added a line to my shared data plan which I use for my hotspot I use for work, signed a few forms on an iPad with my thumb and the store rep booted the phone and activated. He also installed the phone in a new case and applied my employee discounts etc and the whole process for 2 phones was done in under a half hour.


In the new iPhone box comes the phone itself, a lightning to USB cable, AC to USB power adapter and a small pastil case containing the new ear pod headphones. The packaging is the same fitted / stylized box with the phone on top and the cabling / docs in layers underneath.


The phone itself is very similar to all the other models with a few exceptions. It’s a little longer in length similar to the iPhone 5, thinner just like the 5 with glass front / back, outer metal border and on the 5S like the 5 the lightning and headphone jacks are at the bottom of the phone. Mute switch is in the same position above the two volume buttons but on the 5S it’s inverted so pushing it down unmutes instead of mutes like on the 4 / 4S series. As always, you will want to buy a nice case for your device on day 1. It’s beautiful but fragile.
Another difference you’ll find is there’s now a small ring around the home key. That’s for the thumb print reader.
Specific to the version version of the phone, it’s shipped unlocked and supports both GSM and CDMA. The configuration Verizon sells is truly a world phone since you can easily pop in SIMM chips from other carriers.

WHAT’s Under the HOOD.

In the iPhone 5S you’ll find a brand new A7 processor which is noticeably faster for the user, an M7 motion chip which does things like reduces the network ping times when stationary, speaks to outboard devices and is actively involved in power management and a vastly improved radio which supports all the LTE bands as well as all the Transmission protocols. Other improvements include dual band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.


Over All the phone feels like a big step up from the 4S and a noticeable step up in performance from the 5. IOS 7 was clearly optimized for this phone and feels much more stable and snappy on a 5S. The increase in length is more than offset by the thinness and fits nicely in a pocket or bag. The finger print while tedious to set up is amazingly accurate and I can clearly see this being used for more and more as the software develops. One important note though is you can’t use a case that covers the home key like the life proof. Otterbox makes a case that supports the new censor so you might go in that direction. If you want to use the thumb print scanner you need to use a case that supports it, remember that when ordering.
Performance wise, things like safari seem remarkably faster. Page load times have been reduced drastically. LTE support is very good including supporting voice over LTE once available on the network.
Battery usage is ok, it’s not great but it’s not as bad as the 4S either. Drain seems highest when downloading content while watching video. The usage claims Apple makes seem pretty accurate though and in this case make a pretty good guide.
Over all, I’d say the phone is worth the money, it’s not revolutionary but it’s evolutionary. It’s a nice refresh of an already good product. I’d say worth the money if you’re upgrading from anything 4S series or earlier and save your money if you already have the 5 and wait for the 6.
As for carriers, you can buy the phone on any carrier now. AT&T still supports simultaneous data and voice which VZW will not until sometime before the end of the year. (Sprint does not have a VOLTE roadmap yet that I am aware of) T-Mobile uses HSPA heavily but with the new radio you should get a decent experience.
Over all, I’d give the phone 4.5 stars. It’s better and feels like a nice upgrade but it’s not earth shatteringly good like the upgrade to the 4 was.:) Apple does have a winner on it’s hands, go forth and buy one, you’ll be happy.

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iOS 7, manuals, resources

I figured I’d post this. Thanks to Ioana Gandrabur for posting this on the vIphone list. Here is the iOS 7 user guide in HTML format,

iOS 7 HTML user guide

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Thoughts and Resources for iOS 7

I’m sure it’s pretty well known at this point that iOS 7 is here. It was released at 10 AM Pacific time today, though there, at the moment, some reports of trouble downloading it. Undoubtedly, the servers are being hammered by people trying to upgrade their devices.

Before I get into my own thoughts, I have found that there are a lot of good reviews out there, which, I feel, will provide a great deal of information to folks interested in knowing what is in the update as far as accessibility and VoiceOver goes. So, I am going to first present some links to resources I think are great resources.

First, we have the review Josh of the Maccessibility network posted earlier today. I think this is quite comprehensive. Please
go here to read the Maccessibility review of iOS 7.

Next, Scott Davert of Applevis posted
this great review
that I highly recommend.

We also have a blog post from Luis Perez on iOS 7 as well that can be found

Another person who does great demonstrations and reviews is Ricardo Walker, and he has information worth listening to as well. You can listen to his
iOS 7 walkthrough here.

Last, but certainly not least, Jonathan Mosen’s book on iOS 7 is now available. This is a great resource for both the beginner and experienced user. Details about the book can be found

As for my thoughts, I am not going to basically write about what is already out there. However, here are some of my own observations: Continue reading

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September 10 Apple Event

By now, I’m sure most folks know that Apple held another special event on Tuesday and there was a great deal of buzz in regard to what they would announce.

We will, for the first time, be treated to two iPhone models at the same time, the iPhone 5C and the iPhone 5S. It is interesting that they are doing this, particularly as the iPhone 5 will be discontinued, but the 4S will be available for free with a contract with one of the cell phone providers currently supporting the iPhone.

Basically, the 5C will be a $99 starting model for 16 GB of storage. It will have the same A6 processor as the iPhone 5, though it will be made of a special plastic, instead of the aluminum of the iPhone 5. It will also be available in blue, green, yellow, pink and white with preordering beginning on Friday, the 13th and its release on September 20.

The iPhone 5S features an A7 chip, which is twice as fast as the A6. The 5S will also be the first smart phone to have a 64-bit processor, which is basically like a desktop computer in power. The camera is much improved and several new features for taking photographs will be included.

I find the Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor as one of the most appealing features to the iPhone 5S. The home button will be the sensor and you can unlock the phone using your fingerprint, instead of a pass code. Moreover, you can place any finger on the home button and it can placed in any direction, and the sensor will still register the contact to identify you as the user. You will be able to use this technology for iTunes purchases as well.

Lastly, iOS 7 will be coming on September 7. There is a ton of material already out there touting all of the features that will be available, such as the Control Center, new voices for SIRI and a completely redesigned look.

I have specific links to detailed information on the iPhone 5C, the iPhone 5S and iOS 7 in the
News section
of the site.

If you want to hear the Apple keynote that describes the products and iOS 7 in great detail, you can go

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Another Announcement from a good friend

I wanted to post the following from Brian Fischler and his Laugh for Sight organization. They are, once again, having benefit in the fall, and have some rather big name comedians who will be there. Please read the information below.

Greetings all,

I wanted to let you know that tickets for this year’s All Star Laugh For Sight NYC Benefit on Monday, October 28, 2013 at Gotham Comedy Club will go on sale Monday, September 9, 2013. We are thrilled to announce that Legends of Comedy Jerry Seinfeld and Robert Klein are confirmed for this year’s benefit. WFAN’s Craig Carton from Boomer & Carton in the Mornings will be this year’s Celebrity Host, and joined by Veteran Comedian Hiram Kasten, Nash and me, and we will be announcing two or three more All Star Comedians in the coming weeks.

The Silent Auction/Cocktail Hour Presented by Diageo and Patron will begin at 7pm and be Hosted by Mark “Why Am I Still Stuck in the Downstairs” Farrell. The Comedy Show will begin at 830PM. Tickets are $75 plus a two drink minimum for General Admission and $150 for VIP Preferred Seating and an Open Bar. Tickets can be purchased through Gotham Comedy Clubs website at, and clicking on the Calendar and 10/28/13 or by calling 212-367-9000. Additionally, Corporate Tables for this once in a lifetime event can be purchased by contacting For the latest updates please visit,
and follow us on Twitter @LaughForSight.

Even if you can’t make it to this year’s benefit you can still help out by posting this ad for this year’s benefit on your social networks. We appreciate your help in raising money and awareness about retinal degenerative eye diseases.

Best Regards,
Brian Fischler
Twitter @LaughForSight

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Getting Started Pages

I have spent parts of this weekend putting up two new pages to the site. These are the

Getting Started with the Mac and VoiceOver


Getting Started with iOS Devices and VoiceOver

I am specifically seeking help from the community for suggestions on what else should be added to these pages. They are works in progress and, in particular, the iOS page still needs specific podcast suggestions.

If anyone has documentation or podcast suggestions for these pages, please let me know. Hopefully, these pages will truly help people in the future and I’d appreciate spreading the word about them.

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS applications, iOS Devices, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac Applications, Mac Book Pro, Mac Mini, Mac OS X Lion, Macintosh, OS Mountain Lion, OS X Mavericks, OS X Snow Leopard | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Updates, 8/24/13

I have added some more links to the
Demonstrations page
of the site. These are additional podcast links courtesy of Scott Davert of Applevis. My thanks to Scott for sharing these with us.

On a similar note, I’d like to compile a page devoted to getting started with the Mac with VoiceOver. A lot of questions are asked on mailing lists about resources for new users. I’d like to create a page that specifically addresses this topic. Any suggestions or contributions would be appreciated and welcomed. Please feel free to email me or comment here.

I have started the page
However, it is and will probably continue to be a work in progress as time passes.

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Some Updates, 8/11/13

Hopefully, everyone is having a good summer/winter thus far. It has been a busy one for me, and, thus, the lack of regular updates here.

First, with the kind permission of Scott Davert, I am placing a link here to a podcast he did for Applevis on
connecting a Braille display to an iDevice.
I am going to add some of Scott’s other podcasts to the Demonstrations section of the page as time goes on.

Folks, I can’t say enough good things about the Applevis people and community. If you are looking for podcasts on just about anything Mac or iOS related,
is the place to go.

Also speaking of Applevis, Greg Kelchner also recently did a podcast on a subject I have seen come up on many of the blind Mac users lists. This is in regard to Safari bugs and suggestions on ways to work around them. Please go
to hear it. Continue reading

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Another Review Courtesy of Scott Granados

Here is another useful review Scott Granados kindly has given me permission to post here.

FOr anyone interested here’s a review of the plantronics voyager pro legend which is the continuation of the very successful voyager pro line.

For previous voyager pro users, the headset is very similar in shape to the previous pro HD or pro models. The major difference is the boom now is perfectly tube shaped and thinner, no bulge on the end like the previous models. Also, where the power button was is now a switch, volume is a small slide type switch above the power and the voice command / function button is now on the boom on the under side in an indented area that’s modeled to fit a finger so you can feel where the control is easily. The actual case / hook behind the ear is unchanged and the power cable is now a magnetic type instead of a micro USB. This cable is also used for updating firmware and headset functions.

Overall, the improvements in this model include 4 microphones now instead of 1 or two, a proximity censor to measure when the headset is against your head, newer digital signal processing, about an hour more battery life on standby, and many more voice commands including you n ow say answer or ignore to answer the phone, you don’t press any keys.
In terms of differences in audio, the audio sounds more sharp with a bit better performance on the high end. Noice cancelation is very very good with the headset performing well in a loud switching center on a long duration conference call. Mute is also easily available on the headset set now with the voice command key working as mute during a call. No need to fiddle for mute on the phone’ screen. You can answer the call just by putting the headset on your ear or by saying answer if you’re already wearing the headset. It also seems you can disable the voice commands if you want to use SiRi. I have not done this yet and find the built in function to be very usable.
Cost is $99 with deals to be found on Amazon. Bestbuy for once has the headset at $99 instead of the suggested $129 so you can save money even in a physical store.
In general, I really really like this headset, my favorite in a long time. I’d give the headset 4.75 out of 5 stars with the only downside being it’s not the most comfortable with glasses. If you have the oakley straight style side jackets on your glasses though you’ll be in good shape. The legend is a definite buy.


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