BY LUKE DORMEHL •
Apple is reportedly set to start selling new accessibility-related peripherals and accessories for both Mac and iOS in its brick-and-mortar Apple Stores as well as online.
The accessories, which are reported to be going on sale in the first quarter of calendar year 2016, are designed to help users with disabilities to better engage with Apple products.
Pushing accessibility has been a big initiative under Tim Cook, who has explicitly referred to it as a more important mission for Apple than turning a profit. Last year, the company was praised for its work in this area by Mark A. Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, who said, “Apple has done more for accessibility than any other company to date.”
In particular, Apple has introduced software features such as Guided Access, VoiceOver, and FaceTime, which have been designed in part to aid users with disabilities.
Recently the company was given a Helen Keller Achievement award for VoiceOver, issued by the American Foundation for the Blind. Apple has also updated the App Store with a special section highlighting apps which support this technology, as well as being involved with October’s international NDIS New World Conference 2015, held in Australia.
Offering hardware to support these software initiatives is the logical next step in this important mission.