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iPod Nano review

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									iPod Nano review
The new (fourth generation) Nano was evaluated for Access IT
magazine in October 2008 by Stephen N Plumbton, one of RNIB's
technology officers. Here is some of what he had to say:

"Apple has released the new iPod Nano in a variety of colours and
in 8 Gigabyte or 16 Gigabyte guises. The menu structure on the
iPod can now be spoken using a synthetic voice, so now if you
can’t see the iPod screen, you will not be left wondering what
tracks you have downloaded or have selected to play.

"The great news is that this is an iPod that anyone can buy and
use, not a specialist product or needing an add-on for blind or
partially sighted people to use. This is the first talking iPod to come
to the market.

"The spoken interface can be used on a Macintosh or Windows PC
but you must use iTunes version 8. When the iPod is plugged in
the first time, it will begin to charge up the battery. Eventually a
start up screen appears which allows you to choose how you want
to set up the iPod. One of the tick box options is “spoken menus”.
Tick this box if you want iPod menus to be spoken.

"The voice used is a synthetic voice (i.e. computer generated
voice) so might not be totally clear or understandable. The voice
used is the one chosen in Speech in System preferences folder on
a Mac and the speech folder in the Control Panel on a Windows
PC. These are text to speech voices that are installed on your
computer's hard drive. The more synthesizers you have installed
then the greater the number of voices you have to choose from.

"The iPod has an LCD screen, which is approximately half of the
height of the device. Below the screen is a touch wheel. This touch
wheel is made up of four buttons that can be pressed - so left side
of the wheel is rewind or backwards but also can be volume down,
the right side of the wheel when pressed is fast forward or volume
up. The top of the wheel is Menu and the bottom of the wheel
when pressed toggles between play and pause. The touch wheel
can also be used as a touch sensitive scroll wheel. Sliding your
finger around the wheel will move backwards or forward through
the menus. Finally the inside of the wheel acts as an on and off
button.

"To listen to tracks simply move through your menu list of tracks
and press play on the one you want to hear. If you want to browse
for another track whilst listening to a song, the iPod fades the
music playing into the background while speaking the menu
contents. Once you finish navigating in the menus the song returns
to the set volume.

"The iPod has an accelerometer built in so it can detect which way
it is being held up. This is mainly as a feature for sighted users
viewing photos, movies or downloads. However the accelerometer
allows the iPod to detect when it is shaken. This shaking is used
as the shuffle feature and a track is played randomly from the
playlist.

"When the iPod is your pocket, bag or even on your arm you can
set it to play then disable to touch wheel functions so that it does
not change songs or stop playing by accident. It's similar to keypad
lock on a mobile phone. On the top left of the iPod is a tiny round
slide switch. Sliding it to the right puts the iPod into keypad locked.
To the left, unlock touch pad.

"The display is small - after all, the device is called a Nano!
However there is some accessibility built in. In the General folder
the backlight, brightness, font size can be adjusted. The font
adjustment has two settings: standard and large. Large is
approximately 14 point print size. The colour scheme appears to
be set as black text on a white background. There is a lot of
adjustment in the Brightness setting if people find the bright white
background causes glare however contrast does deteriorate if the
brightness is turned down low. A useful feature is the "clicker",
which registers movement on the touch wheel by clicking through
menu items."

								
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