First up, IM+ for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch

This week, I thought I would start out with a good an interesting app. Well, it seems that I have found one good enough to report on.
SHAPE’s IM+ for iOS devices has been in the App Store for a long time providing instant message capabilities to iOS users. Since release, IM+ has used the same technique that all other im clients in the App Store have used. This technique is that when you send or receive a message, Voiceover will read the sender and the timestamp, but not the message. This issue has prevented blind and visually imapired users from using multi service clients on their devices.

Today, Apple approved the newest version of IM+. One of the new features added is the ability to use Voiceover with this application. SHAPE changed their software so any user can browse the name, time, and message separately from each other.  What this means is, blind users can now log in to all of their instant message services from just one program and get full functionality from it.

There is still one drawback however. IM+ is not a free download from the App Store. The price for IM+ is $10.00, which is kind of steep for an instant messaging client.

The most notable alternative however, is offered by Fring. Fring also offers an instant messenger client that supports many services, but Fring segregates blind and visually impaired users by requiring the download of a voiceover compatible version of their software. This version however does not have all of the functionality of the regular app. Fring’s biggest asset however, is that both versions of Fring are free apps in the App Store.

In conclusion, there are finally options out there in the App Store for the blind. Which app to use is left up to you, but let us know which im apps are your favorite by replying to this post.

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