October 6, 2011. Many COAT affiliates and members mourned the passing of Steve Jobs last week. Jobs, who founded Apple Computer in 1976, established a tech company that was committed to accessibility for people with disabilities and set a standard for universal design that few companies can match. While many are lauding Jobs as a master innovator who changed the worlds of computing, recorded music and communications, the disability community remembers his user-centric focus that included Apple's commitment to accessibility.
For instance, because of Steve Jobs and Apple’s commitment to universal accessibility, people who are blind, deaf, or mobility impaired can use Apple’s products with ease. There’s long font, VoiceOver (which provides audio descriptions of on-screen items beneath a navigating finger, such as for TV access), color contrast, Dragon Dictation, the Bluetooth Braille keyboard and, of course, Facetime video calls. Likewise, users with communication disabilities -- such as people with autism -- often benefit from apps that can be downloaded on Apple devices.
COAT leading affiliate American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has been a longtime supporter of Apple products, which come fully accessible right out of the box. AFB presented the company with a 2009 Access Award in recognition. AFB noted that the world would be a very different place but for Apple's accessibility solutions brought to consumers with no additional cost. Darren Burton, AFB National Program Associate for Technology, summed up many disability opinions when he said: "Apple does exactly what we want all the other companies to do."
COAT leading affiliate TDI also summarized what Apple has done for people with hearing disabilities in their blog expressing thanks to Steve Jobs for accessibility.TDI notes that Apple:
- sold iPhone 4 with hearing aid compatible technology and other accessibility features
- provided FaceTime software making video calls a reality on MacIntosh computers as well as iPhone4, iPad2 and iPod Touch mobile devices
- set up iTunes with easy searching for captioning when viewers browse through its growing library of online videos with captioning.
Apple has sold 129 million iPhones, 29 million iPads and 300 million iPods -- all accessible. To show your appreciation for Steve Jobs and Apple's commitment to accessibility be sure to click the "Like" button on the Steve Jobs Accessibility Tribute page on Facebook.