How the iPhone made accessibility accessible to everyone

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The iOS Magnifier: You probably had no idea your iPhone has a built-in magnifying glass.
You probably had no idea your iPhone has a built-in magnifying glass.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 Damon Rose is 46, and has been blind since he was a teenager. In 2012, the iPhone changed his life.

Rose, a senior broadcast journalist at the BBC, uses GPS to get around unfamiliar areas, with an earbud stuck in one ear, and uses a third-party app that tells him what shops he’s walking past. It’s “amazingly helpful,” he told Cult of Mac. “I can look at menus on restaurant websites while I’m sitting there with my first drink of the evening,” instead of having the waiter read out the menu.

The iPhone might not have been the first phone with accessibility features, but it was certainly the first popular pocket computer to be easily useable by the blind and the hearing-impaired.

Relive 10 years of amazing iPhone innovation

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iPhone evolution GIF
The iPhone sure has changed over the years.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iPhone turns 10 The iPhone packed a lot into its first astonishing decade. Not only has the device itself evolved significantly since its promising-but-by-no-means-perfect beginnings, but it’s transformed Apple’s business — and many of our very lives — in the process.

All this week, Cult of Mac’s “iPhone Turns 10” series will look at the innovative device’s massive impact on worldwide culture. The iPhone, which launched on June 29, 2007, truly changed the world.

What iPhone milestones have passed since Steve Jobs introduced this stunning hybrid device, which combined a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device? Check out our handy guide to 10 years of iPhone history.