The Apple Watch is already improving lives. Photo: CNN Money
For many years Apple has been a great company when it comes to pushing the accessibility of its products for disabled users — from features like VoiceOver, which allow for descriptions of apps to be read aloud for the blind, to FaceTime which represented a breakthrough in allowing deaf people to communicate with one another using a mobile device.
In a new video for CNN Money, the latest step of that evolution is shown as a deaf Apple Watch owner demonstrates how he can use the device to control his hearing aid.
Deaf users take advantage of FaceTime to use sign language instead of verbal communication. Photo: Apple
Tim Cook may be the Apple CEO we picture when we think of the mission to make Apple a “force for good” in the world, including enhanced accessibility for deaf users. But Steve Jobs was the person who first got the ball rolling.
During the Tampa Bay Business 100 awards last night — an event dedicated to honoring the 100 largest private companies in Tampa Bay, Florida — the CEO of a company which makes Internet video communication tools recalled how Jobs helped him use the so-called ZVRS technology with FaceTime.
UPDATE: Reuters didn’t use Tim Cook’s complete remarks, we’ve posted them here.
Apple should do more to improve accessibility for its apps, says an advocacy group, supported by members of the National Federation of the Blind.
“It’s time for Apple to step up or we will take the next step,” NFB of California board member Michael Hingson told Reuters. The advocacy group successfully sued Apple regarding iTunes back in 2008, with Apple paying out $250,000 and giving the service an accessibility-minded makeover as part of the settlement. While it may not reach the level of a repeat lawsuit, Hingson says that this could be “the only resort” to force Apple’s hand.