Giesbert Nijhuis used the program KeyStrokes to design AssistiveWare's logo, featuring a salamander.Source: 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.

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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?

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