One of the companies Bloomberg has been in contact with is Zynga Inc. – the mobile giant behind the upcoming free-to-download title Star Wars: Hunters, expected to arrive in 2022. The employees behind this information were asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to discuss the projects publically.
When I tell Siri to set my alarm just before I go to bed, I appreciate the convenience of being able to simply tell my phone something and it get done. I’m the type of person who might possibly sleep through my first alarm, so I set several as an extra precaution. When I wake up and am sure I’m out of bed, I tell Siri, “Turn off all of my alarms,” and go on with my day. The same goes for setting my monthly hair cut appointments; almost always, it just works.
But when I dictate certain words, such as “horn,” (something I do regularly, as I am a railroad enthusiast and often send train horn recordings to friends) and Siri hears and inserts another four-letter word instead, I get really, really mad. But I know that text dictation will never be 100% accurate, and thus I either check all of my texts (paying particular attention to the ones I think it might have difficulties interpreting), or I just enter them by hand.
When I ask Siri things like, “What’s zero divided by zero?” I laugh, because its response is funny and because whoever programmed it clearly has a good sense of humor.
The new Switch OLED model releases worldwide next week on October 8th, but a new report from Bloomberg suggests a 4K Nintendo system could still be on the way. According to the source, employees from “at least” 11 game companies are in possession of “Nintendo’s 4K development kit for the Switch”. These teams are believed to “span the globe” and range from large publishers to small studios.
Bloomberg goes on to state how a Nintendo system capable of handling 4K games “isn’t expected to be released until late next year at the earliest”. The developers in possession of 4K kits “declined to speculate on Nintendo’s plans for another console” but said their “4K Switch games” would likely arrive “after the second half” of 2022. The source further notes how the actual number of companies using these 4K kits is “probably much higher” than the 11 identified.
My biggest gripe with Siri isn’t about anything it does or doesn’t do, however. Rather, it is that Siri’s potential to assist blind and low vision users is generally misunderstood and overstated. Too often, I read articles in the mainstream (that is, not specifically written for an audience of users with visual impairments) media about iOS accessibility which extol the access Siri provides blind users. While Siri is one of many accessibility tools, the sighted public’s idea of how we use it is ripe with misconceptions.
Many of the articles I’ve read over the years have generally touted Siri’s ability to dictate text, thereby negating the need for typing on the touchscreen. But as we saw with the “horn” example, dictation is far from perfect. Since the blind user relies only on speech (rather than being able to quickly scan the text Siri has dictated), closely reviewing the text—either by word, or better yet, by character—is necessary if there is any concern about erroneous dictation. If time is of the essence, I either must decide to send an imperfect text (hopefully with most of the correct words), take the time to proofread it and make any changes, or just enter it by hand from the outset.
That the sighted public, more often than not, assumes blind people would benefit from dictation rather than typing is nothing new. I’ve been asked many a time if I use Dragon Naturally Speaking on my computer, and my response is now usually a variant of, “Why would I need that?” Dragon and other speech-to-text software is great for people who aren’t able to type, but the idea that a blind person, with no other disabilities or extenuating circumstances, wouldn’t be able to type and needs dictation software has always bothered me. Sadly, this “Voice-controlled technology is easiest for blind people” mentality has seeped into peoples’ perceptions of how the blind use iPhones. In a recent iMore article, “Making the iPhone camera accessible for the blind,” the author asserts that the first step Apple took in the process of making camera use accessible to blind users was making sure everyone could easily get to the camera app.