Apple wins AFB award for its accessibility product features

Tuesday, 23 June 2015 10:26am

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) has announced that the Helen Keller Award for 2015 has been won by Apple due to its commitment to including accessibility features in its products to support people who are blind or vision impaired.

Apple products on display. From left to right: MacBook, iPad Air and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple is often credited with being one of the pioneers in including full-featured accessibility support in its computer and mobile operating systems, with significant milestones including the introduction of a full-screen zoom feature in Mac OS 10.2, the inclusion of a full-featured screen reader in Mac OS 10.4, and its revolutionary introduction of an accessible touch screen through the provision of the VoiceOver screen reader in the 2009 Apple iPhone 3GS.

Since then, Apple has continued to ensure that accessibility is included in its product categories, with the first generation of the iPad including accessibility features, and the most recent new product, the Apple Watch, also including accessibility support to assist people who are blind or vision impaired.

In an article in AFB’s Access World magazine, Bill Holton reflected that “…it may have taken awhile to make its products accessible with screen readers and low-vision accessibility features, but these days Apple's commitment to accessibility is second to none. This is why…AFB will award Apple with its prestigious Helen Keller Achievement Award for its notable breakthroughs in accessible technology.”

An overview of the accessibility features contained in Apple products can be found in the Digital Technology section of the Media Access Australia website.

You may also like to read:

  • Everything you need to know about iOS accessibility, covering the iPhone and iPad
  • Useful vision, hearing and mobility access information for Mac OS X
  • Accessibility features found in wearable technology, covering the Apple Watch, Android Wear and Google Glass
  • Accessible gaming options, resources and information for gamers and developers

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