Apple should consider discounts for people with disabilities

Giesbert Nijhuis used the program KeyStrokes to design AssistiveWare’s logo, featuring a salamander.
Giesbert Nijhuis used the program KeyStrokes to design AssistiveWare’s logo, featuring a salamander. (Image credit: Apple)

Michael Bettiol, a former writer for Boy Genius, recently contacted iMore about an important topic he wanted to share with the world about people with disabilities and how many of them have limited income and resources, but they aren't afforded the same discounts for Apple products that other groups of people, like students and military veterans, get. Heck, even government officials get a discount on Apple products.

It got me thinking ... Apple puts accessibility at the forefront of its technological advancements. It's not lip service. Apple really does have a strong focus on meeting the needs of people with all manner of disabilities. I've talked to a number of people that say they prefer Apple to Android specifically for this reason.

So why doesn't Apple have a program in place to help out people with disabilities in a financial capacity? Though the income of people with disabilities ranges across all financial classes, there are a number of people that live on very tight budgets. Apple products are practically essential for quality of living for some people, but they have no financial help to get these quality essentials.

It seems like a really good idea to have a program in place to offer financial assistance to low-income people with disabilities. Apple could even have guidelines for meeting eligibility, just like it does for students, teachers, military, and small businesses.

Anyway, below is Michael's message to Apple, which I'm sharing with you now, unedited (FYI, it didn't need editing because Michael is such a good writer).

Apple gives discounts to its employees. Apple also discounts to businesses. To governments, to veterans, to educators, and to students.But Apple does not give discounts to people with disabilities.And that is wrong.Apple leads the world in making its software and services accessible. It's a top priority within Apple, and it shows. Apple releases new features and APIs every year that help people with disabilities get through life with a bit more ease. With a bit more independence. With a bit more dignity. And Apple is rightly lauded for this.But Apple's accessibility features are only useful if the devices that run them are actually accessible. And in this case, affordability is the barrier to accessibility.Listen:I am Autistic. I am 32 years old. I have been unable to work since 2010. I receive the maximum $1,183.42 per month of disability payments from my government. But my monthly expenses are over $5,000.I am fortunate. I have amazing parents I can rely on to make up the shortfall. Who can help me get the Apple products that keep my life running as close to "normal" as possible.Most people — disabled or not — are not so fortunate.I have tried everything else, which is to say Android and Windows. They are not the same. They do not work together seamlessly. They are not simple. They are not intuitive. They are not thoughtful. They do not have the built-in features I need. They do not have the third-party apps I need. They do not have Apple's commitment to security. They do not have Apple's commitment to privacy. They do not have Apple's commitment to quality.They do not work with my brain.I am of course being glib, but you are reading this on an Apple-focused website. You know exactly what I am talking about. I do not need to convince you. And more importantly, I do not need to convince Apple.I get it. The world is in the midst of a pandemic. Everyone is struggling. Everyone is trying their best to bear this cross. But at some point this crisis will abate. There will be a new normal. But that's exactly the problem for those with disabilities. For people like me, the new normal will be too much like the old normal. Apple should do everything it can to help disabled people shoulder some of the load.Accessibility features benefit everyone. It is disheartening when those features are not affordable to those who need it the most.Apple should extend discount pricing to all people with disabilities. Today.Michael Bettiol

What do you think? Would you like to see Apple start up a program to help people with disabilities have the financial access they need to use Apple's amazing accessibility features?

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

7 Comments
  • It certainly makes sense but I think Apple is trying to avoid creating rules for which they can always be criticised.
    I mean how do you start defining what a valid disability is?
  • I hear what you're saying. It's not as simple as asking people to enter some identification number or submit a canceled disability check, especially when people with mental health issues oftentimes aren't afforded the same official status, though they can also be dealing with significant financial issues. It's a difficult position, but one I truly believe could be worked out if Apple put resources into it. I mean ... it's Apple.
  • There's lots of companies that do this already, I'm sure Apple can do it, and I hope they do
  • I certainly agree with Michael. I would emphasize his point that many people who have disabilities are low income or fixed income and add that many have case managers who oversee benefits. Therefore, healthcare professionals should consider writing letters of recommendation to those case managers for "assistive technology" and, of course, that should often include Apple devices for all the reasons Michael has outlined. I would also add that iPads with Apple Pencils are greatly appreciated by artists with disabilities.
  • My son has autism. His use of the ipad moved him along in this world a great deal. I am in a place to be able to buy him a new one whenever we want. However, I agree with being presented with a deal on essential devices like this as well as the accompying software to run on said devices too. i am a huge advocate for technology for helping people with disabilities. It's great to watch. I have personally watched many persons with autism grow and expand using technology devices. it's awesome!
  • True. If they really want to I'm sure they can figure something out to start with and then tweak it where needed.
    All things that can help people should stay available for everyone. We don't want to end up in a future like in the movie Elysium.
  • As an Occupational Therapist, I worked with quadriplegics. The ability to use technological devices changed people's lives from 'handicapped and isolated' to being 'engaged and productive' and more independent. In many cases, it opened the opportunity to be employed. I agree with Michael that Apple is the product that is the most accessible. As we try to be more inclusive of all people, including those with mental and physical handicaps, it would be a huge benefit to many to have the advantage of discounting pricing. Surely, it is a fairly small 'ask' of Apple.