We have a few announcements to make…Two pieces of good news and one necessary business decision.
First, the business decision: Effective with the release of the 2.6 update, the price for the Speak for Yourself AAC app will be $299.99 USD. We reduced the price to $199.99 USD in October of 2012, and that’s where it has remained for the past four years. With added licensing costs for voices, updates and ongoing development, it’s necessary to increase the price at this time. If you already own Speak for Yourself, or if you purchase it prior to the next update (version 2.6), this will not affect you.
Second, effective in the next update, we are eliminating the in app purchasing of multi user slots. This means that you will be able to store up to 40 different users within the Speak for Yourself app with no additional cost! Most importantly, you will have access to those multiple user slots with no need for any additional App Store downloads.
Finally, we announced last week that the Speak for Yourself Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app is going to be available on the smaller iPhone/iPod screens! Once you own Speak for Yourself, getting the iPhone version will be just like downloading SfY from the cloud on any device. Tiny SfY will be part of the Speak for Yourself app. There will be no additional cost.
A Closer Look at Tiny Speak for Yourself
When we were initially developing Speak for Yourself in 2011, the iPhone of the day was the iPhone 4. It was amazing! It had TWO cameras! “Selfies” were new and exciting! There were AAC apps at the time that were available on the iPhone (and there still are), but when we looked at the small buttons of the Speak for Yourself app and the relatively quiet speakers of the iPhone, it didn’t seem to be a viable option for us. The screen was 4.5 inches high and 2.31 inches wide. We anticipated that phones would get smaller, and accessing 120 buttons on a screen would be unrealistic. “Maybe we’ll create a more limited vocabulary for the smaller screen down the road,” we thought. (Not so fun fact…Developers have to program/code separately for iPads and iPhones).
But our technology forecasting was wrong…The iPhones actually got BIGGER! We started discussing the usability of the iPhone as an AAC option.
So last spring, for fun, our developer put a rough version of Speak for Yourself on his iPhone, and it felt like Christmas! It was usable! The TinySfY buttons were twice the size of the keyboard buttons that we use to text and email everyday! Without any vocabulary limitation at all, we could accurately touch the little buttons. We tried it with a few of our trusted, local Speak for Yourself users, and they were immediately able to use it. We had our proof of concept.
As I wrote on our Facebook page:
My iPhone 6s in its LifeProof case measures 5.75 inches high by 3 inches wide, and there’s the larger “plus” options for an even larger display size. Many of us have our phones permanently, comfortably attached to our hand. We’re always ready for a quick social media update, text or Google search.
Now, Speak for Yourself users and the people who love and support them can be just as ready to make a quick comment, convey urgent medical information or correct a misunderstanding.
By the end of this year, if you’re using Speak for Yourself, your iPhone or iPod Touch will be able to put 14,000 words in the palm of your hand! The Speak for Yourself app is currently in beta testing for use on an iPhone/iPod.
The buttons are small, BUT they are twice the size of the keyboard buttons that we all use, including our students who flawlessly use mom or dad’s phone to search for videos on YouTube. Many of our users will be able to access Tiny Speak for Yourself (Tiny SfY), but even if they are not able to access it, having the app on an iPhone also puts the ability to model seamlessly into the hands of parents, professionals…and siblings. That may be the biggest game changer of Tiny SfY.
Take a look at Owen exploring his vocabulary file on an iPhone for the first time:
Jess (whose mom Mary writes the You Don’t Say AAC blog) thought it was pretty cool too! I handed my iPhone to her to explore while I was trying to put Speak for Yourself on her mom’s iPhone before her trip to Maui. Jess said “attempting” using Tiny SfY.
During a recent visit to NJ, Nathaniel’s mom and dad mentioned that they would like to be able to use it on his phone. So, when it was approved for beta testing, they were given the chance. Nathaniel’s mom, Kim wrote about it in her Hold My Words blog. Nathaniel’s brother snapped this great picture:
Our plan is to have the iPhone version released and available to EVERYONE by the end of 2016! Stop by and visit us at ASHA in a couple of weeks to check it out!