iTunes 11 shipped yesterday, and contained many interesting and previously untold features. One such feature is the ability to redeem iTunes gift codes with the camera in any computer, as opposed to manually typing the code in to iTunes. One of the lead developers for the feature was today interviewed. In the interview, he told of the difficulties in implementing such a feature, as well as the potential benefits:
A very sophisticated set of image processing and computer vision algorithms extracts the 16-digit code from the iTunes Card and converts it into a string in few milliseconds. Core Animation, Accelerate, Core Graphics, GCD, AVFoundation and other frameworks were combined together to meet some very strict performance and usability requirements.
Now, what nobody knows yet is that this feature is accessible by visually impaired or blind people. VoiceOver helps positioning the card in front of the camera and the very fast image processing algorithm generates very quickly the result. The user experience is amazing.
Apple does have a rich history of serving visually impaired users, particularly with iOS, and it seems as if they are only improving the accessibility of their products across the board.