Thursday, May 19 will be Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Accessibility—the design of systems that are available to everyone—is something deeply important not just to Apple but to the Apple community. iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac are devices that, very literally, improve the lives of people with special visual, audio, motor, and other needs. So, here's what's coming next.
On the App Store, Apple has updated the company's Accessibility collection. That's where App Store editors have carefully curated a list of the very best apps, by the very best developers, that are helping make the world a more accessible place. You can find apps specifically for vision, hearing, speech, learning, literacy, and motor accessibility there, and apps that tap into Siri to make the home more accessible as well.
For the iTunes Store, Apple has created a new collection featuring hundreds of movies with described audio, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Spectre, and many, many more. Described audio is just what the name implies—a voice over the speaks out the settings, actions, and emotions so people with limited or no vision can still enjoy everything that's happening.
At the Apple Store, Apple has made third-party accessories available that focus on accessibility. Examples include the Skoog 2 accessible musical instrument, Humanaware Braille Displays, and Ablenet switches. Beyond software and content, these accessories make the hardware—and the world around us—more accessible to those with vision, motor, and other special needs.
If you are or know of anyone who'd benefit from these technologies—who would be better included regardless of age, technological aptitude, or accessibility requirements—check out these updates and share them.
With great platform comes great responsibility. I hope every vendor steps up next week and makes 2016 the best Global Accessibility Awareness Day ever.
If you've tried out any of the new apps, content, or accessories, how did they work for you?