Aside from being one of the most innovative tech companies in the world, Apple has also been at the forefront of an industry-wide movement to make technology products and services accessible to people with I/DD.
Apple was among the first organizations to create standard accessibility features in all its products, beginning with the Mac. They continued that commitment in iPhone and iPad, creating a platform that is intuitive by design and has become a key communication tool for people who are nonverbal.
By standardizing accessibility, Apple marked the beginning of an accessibility revolution. It sparked a decade in which engineers and designers began shifting their thinking from accessibility as a burdensome post-production add-on to viewing accessibility as an integral part of the design process.
Currently, Apple offers a number of innovative features and applications that are specifically designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities such as Guided Access, a feature than many parents of children with I/DD and teachers use to limit an iOS device to a single app to allow greater concentration on given tasks.
In addition to their products, Apple has published multiple short films over the last few years showing how accessible technologies and universal design principles can change the lives of individuals with disabilities. And, in May of 2017, Apple released a series of seven short films which beautifully depict the impact accessible tech has on people’s lives when you design for everyone. A few debuted as TV spots during prime time programming including one featuring Meera, who uses iPad and an AAC/speech app to communicate with family and friends, doing the everyday things she loves.
Today, Apple is at the forefront of an evolving tech industry that promotes the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in the market, and beyond.