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Saturday, June 30, 2007

State of the Art, But Accessible?

As I read about and watched all of the hoopla surrounding the release of the Apple iPhone (the mayor of Philadelphia was so excited that he camped out on the street to get one), I started to wonder, how would someone like myself be able to use the device independently? By the time many people with Duchenne's reach adulthood, they have no use of their hands.

A quick check of Apple's accessibility page shows that they have not ignored accessibility -- even with the iPhone. A TTY adapter is available for hearing impaired users and the device itself has a zoom feature for users who are visually impaired.

But how would you make such a device accessible for someone like me? I see the iPhone is capable of voice dialing, but can a call be initiated without first pushing a button (which I can't do)? Can a version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking or IBM ViaVoice be installed on the iPhone to allow menus to be navigated or e-mails and text messages to be written by voice?

I bring up the iPhone because it is in the news, but these same issues exist for other cell phones, PDAs, and the ever-popular BlackBerry. It's why a technology-savvy guy like yours truly has never sent a text message. Let's hope someone out there has a solution. Sure, it would be great for work, but what if I find that special someone? How would I text her? It's how romance works these days. Priorities, people!

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