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Apple Filing May Signal Focus On Disability Market


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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.

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Comments (8 Responses)

  1. disabilitiesrightsadvocate says:

    These considerations ought to have been made prior to releasing these “ground-breaking” and “revolutionary” pieces of technology. All people deserve the option of being up to date with the coolest gadgets and gizmos, but many of these items are designed in a manner that prevents so many people from using and benefit in these designs. It is high time that we employ an all things considered mentality when it comes to items like the ones mentioned in this article.

  2. lnewcomer says:

    I was wondering if anyone knows of any programs available that will help me obtain and I-pad for my seven year old son with autism. I think it would be a wonderful tool for him to have the use of but there is no way our family can afford to purchase one. Any thoughts would be very appreciated!

    Thank You for any advice!

  3. says:


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  4. says:

    I have a 38 year old daughter that is severally mentally retarded, mild cerebral palsy and autisic. I heard of the IPad and thought it would be a wonderful learning tool. for my special need adult. daughter. First I had to find someone to assess my daughter to see if she showed an interest in an I Pad and see if she could handle the I Pad. She was evaluated and I found a wonderful foundation that paid for her evaluation. Next step use her IOWAIVER money to pay for her Ipad. My daughters SSA (Case Co ordinator) Has done all the paper work. We are in the last steps of getting Ipad. My daughter is taking I pad lessons and loves it.she functions very low and the I pad is opening a whole new world for her. Her quality of life will be so amazing. For young parents with special needs children don’t give up use your case worker to help you find foundations that will help you.They are out there. Good Luck! Its taken 6 months but its worth it.

  5. lnewcomer says: – Thank you so very very much on the info for loud Moms and how to apply for an Ipad for my 7yr old son with autism. I have printed everything out and will begin filling out the application tomorrow. I had no idea were to go or ask so I truly appreciate the info. Thank you again so much.
    From – Lori Newcomer

  6. ecurra19 says:

    Apple Filing is a smart move on this significant Market and Apple again has taken the lead. I hope other corporations copy them to make inclusive the community.

  7. timbohall7 says:

    Is there an Apple tablet or notebook and what is it’s capabilites for my “slower learner” grandchildren? Two home schooled 4th and 6th graders. One of them is on SSI for ADHD. Thanks

  8. Chris Blouch says:

    @disabilitiesrightsadvocate, I guess I’m not 100% clear on what you were looking for in this mainstream product. With built-in magnification and an eyes-free gesture system/screen reader, this device has already embraced much of the universal design philosophy. There is no special accessible version of the iPad or iPhone, they have enabling features baked in, as is also true of Apple’s desktop/laptop solutions. With bluetooth many external input devices are also possible such as refreshable braille displays, switches etc. The new assistive touch system lets me create ‘gesture macros’ so complex inputs can be triggered by a simple flick. So this patent seems to be more of a continuation of their existing trend rather than a bolt on to remove roadblock caused by lack of good accessibility.

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