Apple Begins Selling Accessibility Accessories on its Online Store

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Apple recently updated its online storefront with the addition of a new "Accessibility" category, which is broken up into sections pertaining to the assistance of individuals with impairments related to vision, physical and motor skills, and learning and literacy (via Amvsement).

There are 15 total products broken up into each of the three sections, with further sub-categories allowing users to shop the online store specifically looking for accessories that support the iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Some of the products include the HumanWare Brailliant BI 32 Braille Display that sits in front of a Mac's keyboard to allow anyone who is blind the ability to fully navigate OS X -- and even iOS -- with a lightweight, Bluetooth-enabled braille keyboard.

apple accessibility store
Some of the other accessibility products offer more creative outlets, like the Skoog 2.0 Tactile Musical Interface for iPad, which lets anyone create music using the multi-purpose buttons on each side of the 5-sided cube. Thanks to the Skoog's versatility in tapping, squeezing, or twisting to create responsive sound, the accessory is said to encourage "expressive music making for children, parents, teachers, and musicians."

It was rumored late last year that Apple would begin selling accessibility accessories in its physical retail stores in "early 2016," but it seems the company decided to rollout a few options to its online store first. For anyone close to an Apple Store location, Apple is offering a Personal Pickup option for the new accessories, as well.

The new product category follows Apple's ongoing accessibility efforts that encourage the use of its products by as wide a group of people as possible, including those with physical and mental impairments.

Read More: Apple Celebrates Autism Acceptance Month With Two New Videos

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56 months ago
As someone who has, thankfully never needed accessibility features I have always been impressed by the efforts that Apple has made over the years to make their software and hardware accessible. There's no real money in doing so, but they have been putting a lot of effort into it for many decades.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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56 months ago
I took an English class a few years ago with a blind woman. She was using a stock Macbook Air without issue.

Apple has always been leaps and bounds ahead of other OEM's when it comes to accessibility features being rolled right into the core of their products.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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56 months ago
I love Apple for this kind of stuff.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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56 months ago
Applause... Applause... Applause... Applause...

Really nothing else needs to be said!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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56 months ago

I think it's great that Apple is highlighting accessibility. They rightfully deserve praise for helping to raise awareness of the options for those with disabilities or challenges who want to use iOS and OSX. We differ in opinion regarding your leaps and bounds comment. It's just not true. The good thing is, it's not true because pretty much all the major tech players have dedicated a fair amount of effort to the area of accessibility. Again, that's a damn good thing. The characterization of Apple being leaps and bounds ahead isn't accurate. That is, unless you have some supporting evidence or anecdotes that make you feel that way.

Pretty easy. I have supported a blind user over the years. His Windows PC required three third-party software products that together cost more than the computer in order to provide functionality that wasn't quite as good as what the Mac has baked in. Same was true with his telephone. He had to carry a Symbian phone that required third party software to be somewhat functional. His iPhone is usable for him right out of the box.

So yes, leaps and bounds.
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With my increasing disillusionment with Apple's Mac and OS X lines (the prolonged wait for an MBP update; dropping their focus on Pro apps and hardware), their continued focus on a likely non-profitable aspect of their computer business does encourage me to think well of them.
The hard-hearted part of me can't help but conclude, however, that it's mostly because they couldn't stomach the backlash if they were to drop support for such a sympathetic customer base (look what happened after the UK's Conservative Chancellor's Budget adversely affected disabled welfare claimants…)

So, if your "hard-hearted" voice is always there talking in your ear perhaps nobody can really do anything nice for you...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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56 months ago

I hope I never need to use any kind of accessibility feature other than for aesthetics. Good on Apple for upping the game on accessibility.

Kinda shocked no one has said anything bad about this story yet. Usually there are people moaning about something....

This story stinks. (Actually not but I wanted to be the first to blow up a perfectly nice story!)
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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