Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2013: 2. The Holy Grail of iPhone Apps


It's time for another post in our annual look back at the year in assistive technology, the Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2013. This year's panel included J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Alena Roberts, and Joe Steinkamp. In case you missed them, here are our earlier stories on the countdown. Number 2 involves another highly-anticipated app release.

It's not often that one app effects so many parts of the assistive technology industry. But if there's one service that is beloved by the blind community more than any other, it's the braille and audiobook collection available from the National Library Service. So when their BARD service finally moved into the present with their release of a BARD app for the iPhone, many people were talking, and reading. Recall that just a few short years ago, the Victor Stream was the first device that could play BARD audiobooks. Humanware sold thousands on the back of this feature. It's also a good bet that Humanware wanted to get their new stream out before the release of the BARD app. Why? One need look no further than our own classifieds section to see the pile of Streams, Booksenses, and other portable players that mounted after the release of the BARD app. Some will hold on to their legacy devices for convenience, for battery life, or just because it has buttons. But for many, the need for a dedicated $350 device just vanished with the double tap of an install button.

One story is left. What will it be? Stay tuned to find out.

Category: Articles
Displaying 1 comment.
DebeeArmstrong Wednesday, 15-Jan-2014 10:23 AM ET:

I just bought a new VR Stream, 2nd generation, and I'm on a tight budget -- not one of those rich folks who can grab everything I fancy! If you have your iDevice doing everything, including playing MP3 files, podcasts and NLS digital books, you won't have enough battery oomph left to make phone calls, use navigation apps, or do any of the other things for which only an iDevice is suited. Then you'll spend money on extra batteries! So for my money, getting a Stream to read audio books, listen to podcasts, and even hear music is a better deal. I can keep my iDevice locked, and read a bookshare title on my Stream and not worry about the iDevice battery dying in the middle of the day.


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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.


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