Apple Begins Selling Some Accessibility Accessories Online and in Stores

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

As we reported in December 2015, Apple was rumored to begin selling accessories related to accessibility in early 2016. Those rumors are now coming to fruition, At the time of posting, the Apple website lists a total of 15 accessories available for purchase. Among those accessories are several switch devices from AbleNet, 2 tactual music accessories from Skoogmusic, and the Humanware Brailliant BI 32 and 40. You can find an accessory review of the Brailliant BI 32 here. The prices appear to be the equivalent to what the actual companies are charging for these devices.

Could this be starting a new trend for offering accessibility options in the mainstream market? What devices would you like to see the Apple store carry next? Do you think you would be more apt to purchase such accessories from Apple instead of going directly to the manufacturer? Are you disappointed with Apple's initial offerings? We'd love to know your thoughts.

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8 Comments

#1 I would like to see Apple have more than just one braille displa

Being totally blind and partially deaf, I use a Focus 14 which is ideal for an iPhone or iPad since it is small and very portable. I paid around $1300 for both the display and the case. I got the Focus 14 from Freedom Scientific and the case from Executive products. I have seen a Brailliant and it is very pricy; around $4000. The Focus 14 is bout the side of a credit card and can fit in your purse or backpack quite easily. And it works great with IOS devices. and worth the price. I have had mine for about 2 years and it still works great. Those are my thoughts on what I think Apple should look into. And it can be made affordable. If Apple can work with the manufacturer, then I might consider going through Apple if the price is reasonable.

#2 smaller displays

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

HI Wayne.
I agree with you about there being a selection of smaller displays, let's hope that happens. I'd like to see the Smart Beetle and Focus 14 both as options. In my view, 40 cells is not very portable, and 32 is even a stretch, pardon the pun.

#3 To be fair this just launched

To be fair this just launched yesterday so let's hold tight and see what happens. I'm not sure how this is working weather humanware contacted them or if Apple reached out to someone but we will see how this progresses in the future! It's not like to give you a price break so you can still go to that company's website and get your braille display.

#4 I hope Apple gets these in

I hope Apple gets these in stores at least so people can get their hands on them. You can look at features and specs online all you want but it's completely different than playing with it in person.

Before I went to look at different displays I was dead set on the Focus 14 blue. When I played with it though, I found the keys to be way too close together and you couldn't fit more than a couple words on the display at a time, meaning you'd have to pan a lot. Not such a big deal with the iPhone but voc rehab wanted to get me something that would be more used with a computer, which makes sense I suppose. i liked the build quality of the Brailliant but thought the controls were a bit too complicated. I settled on the Focus 40 Blue because I like the easy-to-find controls on the front. It's a bit too big to use with the iPhone though, even though that is what I use it with most. I'd love to try it with JAWS though...I've heard it's amazing!

It'd be cool if Apple also sold the Orbit Reader 20 when it comes out.

#5 Sounds Cool

This sounds cool. Someone with whom I work was actually telling me today that at least one of our local Apple stores is going to have an accessibility workshop in a couple weeks. I'm wondering if perhaps this is related in any way to the selling of accessibility products? In any case I think this is a great idea and am curious to see what comes of it.

#6 Accessibility workshops

Apple has held accessibility workshops for a long time before people were even thinking about Apple selling accessibility accessories.

#7 I can not wait for more

I can not wait for more accessories to appear in the apple stores

#8 Brailliant?

As the Brailliant 40, latest firmware and all, still has an odd tendency to sometimes lock up when communicating with iOS devices, it seems an odd choice for Apple to carry. Personally I agree with others: smaller displays are more to my liking. The Vario Ultra 20 is my particular pick, though I'll probably be buying one before Apple ever might offer it.