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Visually impaired users say iOS 6 App Store redesign is a downgrade

While Apple’s new iOS 6 operating system packs a number of enhanced features for disabled users, the redesigned App Store, iTunes Store and iBookstore have been called a step backward for the visually impaired.

Reader J. P. Shandra contacted AppleInsider this week to explain how the new layout in the iOS App Store has caused problems for him. In particular, the redesigned horizontal interface for listing the top apps, books and music is said to cause problems with those who use the VoiceOver feature in iOS.

Also with the iOS 6 update, Shandra said that VoiceOver can no longer read application ratings. Previously, he was able to have his iPhone tell him the average review score of content sold on the App Store and Apple’s other digital storefronts.

Shandra noted that iOS 6 has a number of improvements related to accessibility, for which he believes Apple should receive credit. But he’s been frustrated by the newly redesigned storefronts.
Apple has proven to be very receptive to input from disabled users over the years. Prior to the release of iOS 6 earlier this month, the company made a number of last-minute accessibility fixes that received praise from users.

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Facebook releases SDK 3.1 for iOS with iOS 6 integration

We have been following Facebook’s improvements to its SDK for iOS in recent months. In July,Facebook released a beta featuring iOS 6 Facebook integration and a new Dev Center for iOS developers. It has maintained that beta alongside version 3.0 of its SDK up until today with the official release of Facebook SDK 3.1 for iOS. Facebook officially announced the release of the SDK, which features new tools for mobile app developers interested in taking advantage of Facebook’s native integration with iOS 6 in their apps, on its Developer Blog earlier today.

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Apple hiring developers to work on widely-criticized iOS 6 Maps

A number of postings to the Apple’s job site reveals the company is looking to bolster its newly-released Maps app, which has been almost universally panned since iOS 6 launched on Wednesday.

Over the course of the past week, Apple has posted multiple listings for software engineers who will handle development, real-time rendering and overall upgrades to the fledgling mapping service, among others.

According to one job description, Apple’s iOS Maps team is “responsible for MapKit, the iOS framework that displays maps which is used by countless applications on the App Store.”

Apple is seeking to fill positions for developing 3D flyover models, including “mesh generation of terrain” and “road rendering” in a C++ environment. Another engineer is being sought to work on both the client and server to develop “advanced dynamic label layout of road labels, points of interest and other labels on the map.”

Three Map Display team listings points to work on real-time rendering techniques, creating “new and innovative” features and general systems maintenance. Another Map Display team engineer is needed to find and fix what Apple calls “performance bottlenecks” by creating specialized testing tools.

Maps Flyover Rendering Issue

Rendering issues in iOS Maps’ Flyover mode.

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