Apple iOS: Forgotten Switch Users

Apple iOS7 Switch Access screen shot, Apple logo and "The Forgotten".

After Apple added switch access to their iOS based devices there was much celebration in Assistive Technology circles, me included. iOS7 unified the disparate switch interfaces, gave developers a cheap way to emulate switches (such as via a keyboard through the USB camera adapter), and gave an excellent way to emulate touch gestures for the most able of switch users.

Something is seriously missing though. It's just not possible to repeatedly, easily and quickly tap/swipe a specific point in far too many apps. If an app is not set-up with decent hot-spots / voice-over items you are forced into a laborious gliding bar auto-scanning X-Y point mode that takes five accurately timed presses of the switch to repeat an action. The gliding bar point mode is well done for basic use, but it's useless for too many activities...

Most action based tap/swipe games are impossible to play, such as the wonderful Ski Safari Adventure Time. Many music activities are impossible/horrible too, such as using the drum randomiser in Garage Band, or breaking a laser beam in Beamz to tap out a tune. Affordable environmental control with WiFi Plug doesn't work for cause and effect use. It goes on and on.

What would help massively would be for the addition of a mode where each time you activate switch 1 it emulates a fixed gesture at the same point, until you activate switch 2. That would suit switch users who can manage two switches, and most importantly, and the most forgotten, more severely learning disabled switch users, where an assistant could help line up the cursor to stay at a fixed point that does something exciting/interesting.

It may be possible to do something like this for skilled one-switch users too, perhaps with a timer to help you drop out of the mode, with it being quite easy to reactivate the mode. Apple have come so far with switch access, but it's just not quite there yet.

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