Apple appears to be taking steps to make its popular tablet and smartphone devices more user-friendly for people with disabilities who are unable to use touch screens.
In a filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office made public this month, the technology giant said it is seeking to patent a method for connecting its products to accessories that could act in place of the touch screen.
This may allow people to control Apple products in the future by using devices like a joystick or by doing something as simple as blowing into a straw.
In recent years, Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices have been overwhelmingly popular among people with disabilities who use text-to-speech and other types of applications to replace traditional, costly assistive technology.
However, since the products all use touch screens, some with dexterity issues and visual impairments have had trouble with the devices. The patent application may suggest that Apple is looking to eliminate this hurdle.