What has Steve wrought?
Here at AARP, we'll remember him because of the far-away grandchildren and kids we used iChat to talk to. We'll remember Steve because of the Apple Extended Keyboard, whose wide, broad keys made typing a pleasure, especially for those with arthritis. We'll remember Steve's Apple for its VoiceOver technology - when it came out in 2005, it was the first screenreading technology that was baked into an operating system. It was just there - part of the computer, no extra programs required. I'd teach classes on the Mac to older users - look, you just point your cursor there, and it reads it for you! Amazing.
"Steve Jobs opened a whole new world for my age group with iPad." Dorothy MacDonald, resident of a retirement community in Massachusetts.
Around here, we talk a lot about "design for all." We didn't come up with this concept. We watched our members pick up the iPad, and then use the iPad for everything from email to learning how to use Facebook. What if intuitive design like that was broadened to other devices? What if there were more companies like OXO who were determined to make stuff easier for everyone to use?
"I want you to give a hand to someone who you know, whose health is very bad at this time, whose company took the challenge in making his technology accessible to everyone. There's nothing on the iPhone or iPad that you can do that I can't do. " - Stevie Wonder, in concert, September 13, 2011.
There's more. What if we couldn't use our hands, but could control our phones by just blowing into a straw? That could be coming soon to an iPhone near you. Apple's latest bell and whistle, just announced the other day, is a voice assistant who can pull up information, read emails, and interpret your commands. Check this commercial out - and note the Ray Charles music, playing as we get to the blind woman in the last few seconds:
We'll remember Steve's Apple because of this webpage: http://www.apple.com/accessibility/. We'll remember Steve's Apple because Apple hasn't really talked about accessibility. Apple just said - Here's a computer everyone can use. Here's a phone everyone can use. Here's a tablet everyone can use.
They meant it. Steve meant it.
Photo via Flickr user onigun.