Inspirational Stories: How, and why, did you get into the Apple ecosystem?

Other Apple Chat

As a lot of you who are friends with me on social media or the like may know, I am huge when it comes to Apple products from a business standpoint.

Since the very first Apple product I ever owned back in 2004, which was a 1st generation iPod shuffle to, at that time, mine and my wife's iPod mini, I have seen Apple go through a massive amount of effort when it comes to the field of accessibility.

In 2005, my wife divorced me, and I am saddened to say that probably 90 percent of it indeed was my fault. Through this, I was left with a few chalenges. Firstly, I had to find a job to support my living. Though I was very technically inclined, as I still am today, technology was not where it now is in 2019.

I always wanted to go into the field of ministry outreach , as I felt a huge calling in that direction. The problem was, I really didn't know where to start from a mobility tech standpoint. Remember that this was even before the iPhone existed, let alone Voiceover being implemented. At that time, Voiceover was in the beginning stages on the Mac, with OSX 10.5 Leopard, but I, as many of us, didn't have the funds to be able to afford such a system. I knew however that if I wanted to get into the field of employment, the Apple lineup of products was the direction I needed to take.

I cannot tell you all the lengths I went to try convincing people to either donate me a mac, or something I could use to get my own ministry business solidified. However try as I may, I was never successful.

Fast forward now to 2011. At this time, my dad was incredibly sick with cancer. Honestly, we probably were kidding ourselves by thinking he was going to make it through. Long story short, by now, I still had no job, and though I had by this time an iPod Touch 3rd generation, I really wasn't the most fond of it. I had some basic apps on the device and maybe a few songs here and there, but nothing extravagant to write home about.

At that time, I had a few contacts in the iPod, and the ability to set calendar alerts and such, however it really didn't help, as I had no mobility short of taking the device somewhere and having it be basically a brick until I got it on a wifi network. And even that was a bit finicky at best.

I needed something more. So right before my dad passed away, I decided, after hearing things about it being accessible, to try Android, which at the time was up to Android 2.2. We'll just leave it to say, that was a dreadful nightmare! Android has gotten much much better since, and though I do use it now on occasions, and love the bit I do use of it, I still feel like Apple has really been much more reliable from a productivity standpoint.

Once my dad passed away, I went into a very very very deep depression. I won't bore readers with the specifics of this, 1, as it's very private, but 2, we'd be here forever. Suffice it though to say, I was emotionally dying inside.

At that time, I knew Android wasn't the answer, but I also knew whatever it took, come heck or high water, I absolutely *had* to find a way to get into the Apple ecosystem. I knew I had to start my business. I owed it to my dad. Further I knew, my depression wasn't healthy, and I needed some way to come out of it.

So, I went to my church, and after a small bit of convincing, I managed to get the church to fund me a white polycarbon macbook, which at that time came with Snow Leopard. This definitely helped tramendously, as I now had a way to journal, keep my contacts in a unified place, do e-mail on the go, etc. I still however had the problem that I needed a way to be not only mobile, but to have content sync between my laptop and my mobile PDA, phone, or whatever I chose to use.

In August of 2011, my depression hit an all time low, putting it mildly! Again, I won't go into the detail of this, but I finally decided the time had come. I was either going to have to risk not having money the rest of the month, but possibly have something to keep me busy and my mind off the depression, or I could keep sitting on my soap box feeling terrible all the time.

I chose to take the former. I went to my local AT&T store, and got a 4th generation iPhone. Once I started adding contacts into my new phone, I then began exploring ways I could both personally use my phone on the go, as well as deploy my business into the device. I researched how to use the Calendar, set up my e-mail, and began trying to find apps which were accessible to enhance my phone's abilities.

This is when I ran across the Applevis community. My life has been transformed ever since!

Having now been a mac user, and an iPhone user for the mobility side of things as long as I have been, I have to say that both devices, but especially my iPhone has not only been a lifesaver for me in the business realm as well as personal side of things, but more importantly, it has been a healing part of my life.

I now have a reliable way that I can privately journal my thoughts. I have multiple contact groups enabled under the contacts app, one for home, and one for church/work. Further, I'm able to stay connected with those I care about over social media like Twitter and Facebook. I know any time I need to talk to someone, as I'm feeling down, usually at all times, a friend out there is only a few taps away. Don't get me wrong. The iPhone will never replace having local physical friends in my area. But having the device really does help.

Further, I'm able to keep reminders with the Reminders app which remind me to pray for those in need through my ministry work. I never had a really reliable way before the iPhone to do this.

Finally, one major stress reducer for me is listening to any type multi-media.

It is so nice being able to use my noise cancelling Sony bluetooth wireless headphones, and discretely go down stairs at night, and grab a snack, unwind from the stress of my day, and watch a movie I bought from iTunes, or stream something over Netflix, Prime Video, Apple Music, Spotify, Audible, Bard, etc, and the accessibility that these app developers have brought forth to the Apple platform is absolutely nothing short of just plain awesome!

Now, eight years after my true journey with Apple products started in a very serious way, I look back and wonder how I ever managed to get by before hand. I now am successfully running my ministry outreach which was my dream, and have really been able to stay a lot less stressed, as every night, I know that I always can grab my phone, and not just use it for business, but can have some fun listening to music, thanks to Apple's efforts to make things accessible, or I can play a game, catch up on the news, my local sports teams, etc. And, if I ever run out of things to do, Applevis is just a few taps away into Safari, or, just a few keystrokes away on my mac.

I love hearing stories about people who have used Apple devices and scream about how wonderful Apple is doing with accessibility. That however said, in the comments to this thread, I really would be more interested in hearing from others like me who don't mind being maybe a little vulnerable, maybe not so, but either way, sharing how the Apple lineup of products has helped you with your daily living not so much from a accessibility standpoint, but more from an independence standpoint.



Submitted by garnit on Monday, March 4, 2019

So first off let me say, I found your story very touching, and I’m glad you were able to get through that hard time in your life.
Now on to my story. I started out with Apple in 2011, with an IPod shuffle I got for my birthday. Not sure what generation it was, but let me jus say it lasted about three years, and then only broke because I accidentally put it through the wash. Anyway, I’d been neutral about apple products before that, and hadn’t realized how great they were. I hadn’t asked for it. My parents just bought it because they thought it would be good for me, and if I’m being honest, I was being a bit stubborn about using new technology at the time. The shuffle was a good start for me, because it was pretty simple to use, and gave me a bit of an introduction to voiceover. It also did something I wasn’t expecting. It got me listening to popular music, something I hadn’t done seriously for years. The iPod really changed all that.
Around the same time I started learning the Mack, which I loved, because before that I could only write my stories on my parents’ office computer, where they could see it all, or on the brailler, which is great, but just so loud. I’m sure I’ve woken up my parents more than once when I was little because I was pounding away on that thing. But once I got a computer that had voiceover, I was able to type much more quietly, though I did still braille for a while. I was also able to start journaling, something that I think started just so I could practice working with the computer, but has become very important to me. Writing down my thoughts has helped me through some hard times, especially when I was younger and going through some confusion about my sexual orientation.
My real fun with apple though didn’t start until almost a year later, when I got an IPhone. It was a 4s and I loved that thing so much. It let me listen to books that weren’t available on audio, as well as lots of other things of course. It’s just that the IBooks is what I remember most about that summer.
Over the years, Apple has continued to be great for me. I won’t lie. I’m not totally Apple. Even now I’m typing on a non apple keyboard, but I really do love apple and agree that it is great. My only wish is that I’d found the AppleVis community sooner. I just discovered it a few months ago.
So yeah. That’s my history with apple right there. Looking back, I’m surprised I was so against the technology at the time. Then again, I was still pretty little, and thought I knew best. Ah well, I’ve learned since then that I do not know best, and need to give things a fair chance. Still working on giving things a fair chance, but I think I’m getting better.

Submitted by Michael Feir on Monday, March 4, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

As it happens, I've already written much of how my journey started. Here's an early peek at part of the introduction for the guide I've ben writing over the past few years. I really hope I can finish it this year at long last.

On the first of February 2011, I took what felt like a bit of a gamble. My mother had need of a cell phone to replace the one she had broken. I had a phone which would suit her. It had raised number buttons on it so I was able to dial at least. However, all of its other features were utterly inaccessible to me. She would make much better use of it presuming there was a more accessible option out there for me. From what I had heard, the iPHONE was that accessible option despite having only one button on an otherwise totally flat touchscreen surface. The only way to afford this gadget was to sign a three-year contract with the phone carrier I still use today. Provided I could really cope with the touchscreen effectively, I'd gain some tremendous capabilities if what my friends and online acquaintances had told me was true. I had no real cause to doubt them. They're a fabulous and thoughtful bunch of people. It was just that the kind of stories they told of having wonderful experiences on a touchscreen despite being totally blind seemed so out there. This was such a big change in how blind people did things. Signing that contract was a tad scary. Before reaching this point, I had prepared as best I could. I had learned about the still new Applevis community formed by blind people who had made this leap of faith a year before me. I had also acquired a book of instructions written to help blind people start using these things effectively. I signed the contract and was handed my new iPHONE4. Lifting it, I was surprised at how light and thin yet solid it felt. It was just as I had ben told it would be; A flat, thin and totally smooth rectangular slab. Had I just done something beyond daft signing that contract?

The salesman and my father got the initial setup completed for me. I found out later that I could have done this by myself and that it would have talked right from the start. I was then able to tell them how to turn on VoiceOver. This was a screen-reader that Apple had included free in its iOS operating system which made it posssible for blind people to use their smartphones. Up until that point, I think the salesman had no idea that these phones could talk. Presumably, he had gone ahead thinking sightd people would always be available to help me use my iPHONE. He was kind of blown away when it started talking when I touched it.

Gaining real competence took a good couple of weeks of trying out various apps and learning good technique performing the various gestures. At the start, I sometimes declined calls I meant to accept and made other mistakes. However, it was apparent after les than an hour of use tha I would actually be able to master this smartphone and use it efficiently.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would one day walk around with a flat rectangular device in my pocket which could tell me where I was, identified groceries using pictures I took with a built-in camera, let me play games I never dreamed would be accessible, could read printed pages in mere seconds, and allowed me to carry over a thousand books in my pocket, I would have laughed long and hard at you. The idea would have struck me as utterly preposterous. I actually did laugh at some very early adopters who began to tell of their experiences with Apple's flat phones with their touchscreens. That laughter was gradually replaced by a growing respect and curiosity as more blind people I knew of began using these iPHONEs. Still, even after a year of owning my iPHONE4, I never would have imagined that I would one day be sitting on my apartment balcony on a warm Summer afternoon writing a guide using one of these iPHONEs rather than the laptop sitting unused on my desk mere meters away.

Until you experience these things, it seems like something from science fiction. The last eight years have totally changed my perspective. The iPHONE, which I never go anywhere without, has steadily increased in capability as new accessible apps are created to take advantage of the technology housed within. It is undeniably the most versatile and downright useful piece of technology I've ever had.

Hope you enjoyed that. The guide is stil far from done and is now around 180000 words. I suspect it'll end up being around 250000 words when it's finally done. I'm also using an app called Ferrite to record some lectures to go with the guide. I just couldn't stand the thought of people owning these powerful devices and not having any idea of what they're capable of. Publishing a fre guide seemed within my reach. I've done something similar for Windows computers and these iOS devices offer even more power to enhance personal life. They haven't gotten me a job, but they've certainly helped me be more independent and contribute more to society in other ways.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Monday, March 4, 2019

Hello Christopher. My story has some similarities to yours. My spouse of 25 years passed away ihn 2009. At that time, I was employed with the Internal Revenue Service, Jacksonville, FL. I had just put in for an office transfer back to our home state of Michigan, as we realized we were needing more family assistance, due to my husband's degrading health. Well, he passed away only 21 days before we were scheduled to leave Florida for home. I could have stayed and remained employed, but in the throws of grief, I had to finish what he and I had started, which was the relocation back to home turf.

I left my job, came home, and then had to put down my third Leader dog only six months after my husband's death. Talk about a double whammy.

Well, since I was now living alone, I needed some helpers. My little push button flip phone was adequate at best. Sure, I could use the arrows and locate a contact to call, but this was only because my husband had added the contact first and then helped me create voice tags for the contact.

My girlfriend's husband, both of them are blind, had started talking about the iPhone. He said that he had a small demo from someone he knew. He said that he was getting one and that he knew I'd have no problems.

I finally went to the Verizon store and purchased an iPhone 4. This was my first exposure to the thing and I, like others, thought to myself, yeah right, a flat piece of glass, without any buttons but one lonely button? Sure, a blind person can handle that, I think not. Well, being a tech lover, I bit the bullet and bought it and took it home. I promptly lassoed another girlfriend and wouldn't let her leave the house until I was certain that I could at least send and receive calls successfully. From there it was just a matter of a learning curve. The first app I purchased was the money reader app, one problem solved, when living indep[endently. then I added my bank, the weather radio app, the You Version Bible app, and Audible, yet more independence, and from there the flood gates opened I started playing games, shopping, reading books by the hundreds, with BARD, Kindle, and Audible, and I guess the rest is history.

Since my husband's passing, I had to figure out a few things that one takes for granted when you have a sighted person at your disposal, enter the iPhone. This June, will be ten years since he passed. My independence has grown through the use of my iPhone by much more than I could ever really express.

I think, in some respects, I still deal with depression, because, since his loss, I haven't, for the most part, been involved with my home church, which is in large contrast to our prior activities. We were both heavily involved with ministry, both inside and outside the church. I was on our worship team for 12 years, while he served and ran the multimedia ministry side of things. We also were apart of Christian Motorcyclist Association, where we had many opportunities to reach out to bikers and share Christ with them and show them that there really is life after sex, drugs, etc., and we were living proof.

Although I still deal with issues, my iPhone has not only brought the much needed independence I was looking for, but I now use it for so much more, i.e., my workout life is much better, due to the use of apps like RockMyRun, Pedometor Plus Plus, and others, and don't let me get started on my delight in Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. Those are incredibly important in my life, too.

My hope is that, in sharing some of my very personal life story, that others who may read this will realize that life does go on, even when it seems that you have lost it all. God's grace has truly been sufficient for me and He can for you, as well.

Submitted by Applerocks on Monday, March 4, 2019

here is how I got in to the apple echo system the first apple device I got was a I pod fourth generation then I all so got a Mac book air which still works. then I got a I pad mini first generation.and now I have a I pad minni second generation. I use my I pad minni and my mack to text family and face time with my brother.macs and iOS products rock for there great acessability

Roxann, would you happen to know if there is a way on Applevis to privately message someone in the community? I'd really love to get to know you better, as you really sound like a true woman of vallar, and it sounds like we really do have a lot in common to share. If you don't mind me asking, how would I find you on the Youversion app? Would absolutely love to send you a friend request! I'll tell everyone up here, I don't mind sharing this publicly, as it's not the address that I normally use primarily for my e-mail, so it's not as risky as giving my actual normally used address out, but if you or anyone else wants to follow me on the Bible Uversion app, my address, which I'm going to phoneticly write out to prevent spambots, is: info at gillandmarketing dot com. If you put that in the search field, you should be able to find me. Anyway, yeah, if anyone knows how to private message someone up here, do let me know how to do so.

Submitted by Justin on Monday, March 4, 2019

Hi Chris,
I tried it with your name on here, but didn't send you anything. Just click on the person's name, Roxann in this case, then scroll down to where it says contact. Double tap or press VO+space on it and scroll down by headings to contact and it should be good on here. Also, thought i'd share my apple story in this post. It all started in 2010 when I was a junior in college. I was originally a long-time windows user, and thought I'd take the mac plunge. I took it and haven't regretted it one bit. Move forward 1 year and I got an iPhone 4S. I took the similar approach to figuring iOS out, no training whatsoever, just figured it out on my own. I had that phone for two years or so, then upgraded to the 5S and still loved it. The mac i originally had was a 13 inch MBP from 2010. Then in 2015 I went to the iPhone 6S plus and had that for like 3/4 years or so. The mac side of things Used the 2010 machine for 3 years or so, upgraded to a 2012 15 inch macbook Pro. Used that for 4 years till the keyboard quit working, then bought a new 2016 MBP which I am currently using to write this, allong with a new recently purchased Magic Keyboard due to some keys being a pain. I too, have lost my dad, he passed in february 2012. Trust me, you'll never forget that day. Definitely was hard, but I made it thru, and it's 7 years now. If that taught me one thing, life's too short to be angry with everything. I treat every day like it's my last. Enjoy things while you can, because you don't know when the good lord's gonna call ya up there! Anyway, I don't plan on switching to android any time soon. I know it gets better and better, but still think they could improove on things from what I hear. Not in any relation to apple, but am currently in the process of switching from direct to dish network, due to accessibility issues relating to the talking features on the Genie DVR device.

Submitted by Daniel Angus M… on Monday, March 4, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

I first began with Apple by going to the then Halifax Mac Store. I was told by my teacher, that Macs have a new speech program. this was in 2007. so I went to the afore mentioned store to try a Mac Out. I knew nothing about VoiceOver. so I, along with my teacher, had an appointment with an employee. I went up to an iMac, and was shown basicly how VoiceOver sounded with reading a document. I was blown away with the quality of the sinthasized voice, but was told to not get a Mac, just because the voice is good. Then, I went to a friends house, and I was writing an essay for school. I still didn't know anything about using VoiceOver. I got sighted help to get everything set up to work on the essay. then, I was given a Mac for my birthday. at that time, I didn't want anything to do with it, as I was a Windows XP user. I gave the mac to my sister then, as at that time, I didn't want it. then the time came for me to either learn the mac, or not have a computer, as back then, I crashed the family computer, by messing around with things I had no idea about.
so, I purchist Snow Leopard. I heard on a podcast that the operating system had enhancements to VoiceOver. I still knew nothing. so, I performed a clean install of Snow Leopard. I was following along with Mike Arigo
as he demenstraited how to do a clean install of Snow Leopard, knowing just what he was mentioning about VoiceOver commands. I was also on the phone with Apple, before the infamous accessibility line. I spent five hours doing that, and by the end, I had a clean mac, which was a 2007 MacBook.

then, I was in a business technology course in high school. this course was quite visual, as I was learning about the visual parts of PowerPoint, and I said to myself, I can't do this, I have to do something I can understand. so I brought the mac to school. I remember getting lots of pushback from the adminastraters from both my school and my itinerant teacher, what US people call a Teacher for the Visually Impaired. I didn't care, as by then, I was learning the basicks of VoiceOver, through the built-in getting started tutorial. As the weeks went on, I learned more and more of VoiceOver, with the tutorial hints it provides by default.

then, a few years later, I had a friend from Newfoundland, Canada, come over for a week to see me. I had planned to go out on the balcony off my room, to teach my friend what I knew about VoiceOver. Unfortunitly for me, the mac had a busted battery. which I gotten fixt about a week before my friend came. but then, weather had other plans. that week it rained every day and was freezing! So I had to do the teaching inside, which was disappointing
through the years, I upgraded operating systems, and I still use a mac to this day.

then years later, a family member told me he was going to buy me an iPod. I only new about the mac, so did tuns of research on accessible iPods. I was all ready to get an iPod Nano forth generation, but then was told about the then new third generation iPod Shuffle. so back to researching. I found lots of articles about the shuffle, so desided to get it. I loved it! I was going around the house with it and was happy with it. that is until I got an iPod Touch.

then, I was in rehab do to surgery, and didn't really have access to wi-fi all the time. when I left rehab, I went to the Halifax Shopping Center, in Nova Scotia, Canada. after I purchaste that iPod, I had an appoitment with someone from the CNIB, and he told me the basics. I mentioned of my sarebral polsy so he got a keyboard out and taught me how to use it with the iPod. I too, over the years, upgrated it 'till I couldent. then I got an iPad. I found the screen much to big, so got an iPad Mini. I also got an Apple Wireless keyboard. after that, I abandon iOS for Android. I found that to be not as polished as VoiceOver. so then I moved to L'Arche. I moved in with to hearing impaired people, and I was fased with the task of how to comunacat with them. I did some brainstorming, and laid out that VoiceOver was more polished then TalkBack at the time. I was refeerd to an occupational thearipist as I had forgotten most of iOS. I was given an iPad Mini and through the help of an iOS using friend, got quickly up and running with VoiceOver.

then, I heard on AppleVis about the Mavericks beta, so started testing. I was given a membership to the then privet betas of iOS 8.2 and 8.3 by Apple themselves.

then, went through using various macs and I have got a quite high-end MacBook Pro. I use Windows as well as macOS now, using Bootcamp. I find that games are more pluntful on windows, as I can't find many for the mac. I also use Logic on the mac side, and it's awesome!

Submitted by Chris Gilland on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Daniel, if you can find a way to do so, can you message me up here privately? I want to talk to you, if it's OK, more about your use with Logic. I own it, as I am a professional audio engineer. Right now, I mainly use ProTools, as I found Logic to be incredibly incredibly confusing, and due to reasons of totally my own fault which I won't go into up here, I am unable to join the Logic Users group. It's a long story. Anyway, I'd love to pick your brain a bit, if that would be OK. I won't bug you like a fly on the wall, I promise. I just have a few general questions.

Submitted by Chris Gilland on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Justin, thank you for your instructions on messaging someone. That was incredibly helpful. Also, thank you for sharing your story. This thread is really becoming awesome! Keep the stories coming!

Submitted by Tina on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

First off, I know that some people may have just gotten an iPhone for Christmas, but maybe they're not sure how to deal with it.

For the longest time, I was rather reluctant to use an iPhone or anything from the Apple eco system. I've always been a PC user, and I liked anything with buttons. But thanks to some blind/visually impaired tech experts, as well as a very good friend, I was encouraged to learn the iPhone.

I first was introduced to the Apple mobile devices with an iPod Touch. I got an opportunity to practice the gestures with this borrowed unit, so I was able to become comfortable with it.

A good friend of mine introduced me to the many benefits of the iPhone, and somehow, this friend had broken through my reluctance.

Thanks to using the iPod Touch and the various discussions I had with my friend, I was able to learn about Voiceover and how to use it.

In April of 2015, I received an iPhone 6 thanks to my state agency for the blind. After it was set up, my friend and I met to learn about how to use the iPhone. She guided me through how to set up an Apple ID, and she helped me learn the gestures. I was able to use the Bard Mobile app, and a few others, to really get to know the device.

Having a bluetooth keyboard has been a real asset when I need to do heavy typing.

The iPhone 6 was able to work for almost 4 years, but just last month, I picked up the XR from a local Apple store. Since I know about Voiceover, I was able to set it up right there in the store.

I also now have an iPad Pro, which I'm still getting to know.

To anyone who is still reluctant to get an iPhone or any I device, the only thing I can say is this. I understand your reluctance. I was a hold-out for a long time. But if you have a good friend who can show you or give you a demonstration, please do so. Also, please play with your iPhone or I device so you can really get to know it. Thanks.

Submitted by Clare Page on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hi! When I got my first iPhone, I referred to that as entering the Apple orchard, and that hapened in October 2011. My previous mobile phone had speech on it, only in French but still very usable, but that phone suddenly gave up the ghost in January 2011, and using a non-accessible phone after my previous one stopped working made me realise I wanted another phone which I could use independently. I knew very little about Adroid at the time, but I knew the iPhone was accessible, so I saved up and bought the 4S just after it was released. As I knew from the start of the year that my goal was to get an iPhone, I bought a book on how to get started with it, and I practised some VoiceOver gestures on my brother's iPad when he came to visit, so, when I got the iPhone 4S, the learning curve was still there, but it didn't take me long to get the hang of VoiceOver. It was also great to have a phone where I could easily switch between the three languages I speak, namely English, French and German. I am currently using an iPhone 6, my second iPhone, and I can't imagine using any other type of mobile phone: I know that Android has improved a lot over the years, but I feel so comfortable with IOS, and have got so many apps and games for it over the years, that I don't expect to change systems in the foreseeable future. A couple of years ago, I was briefly tempted to get a Mac, but, being a keen gamer and having contact mostly with Windows users, several of whom regularly sent me files, I decided that a Mac was not for me, as there are not many accessible games for the Mac, and I couldn't be sure that the Mac would read all the file formats the PC can read. I don't expect to venture further into the Apple orchard than being an iPhone owner, but I do know that my next mobile phone will still be an iPhone, it's the best type of phone I've ever owned, useful not only for good old phone calls, but for so many other things.

Submitted by Ben Bloomgren on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Honestly, it was you, Chris, who encouraged me to take a bite of that apple. My first ever accessible phone was a crazy looking phone called a Nokia N-Gage. It was fall of 2004. I was in the dorm at Arizona State University. I had heard about this new-fangled thing called Mobile Accessibility. It was this big, drawn-out process done by a tech whom I know and love to this very day. It took half a day to rebird that phone so that MA would function properly. God knows how he did what he did. It was this big wow factor.

I used inaccessible phones from the old Nokia phones back when the Finnish company was big on mobile technology. I'll never forget, however, the day that was Saturday, 11 December, 2010. My mom had seen a deal on Ipod Touch 4th generation for Cyber Monday. Her poor soul thought her son wanted to go Christmas shopping with her. He just wanted to pick up his Xmas present from Walmart, namely the Ipod.

Indeed, the learning curve was a bit steep; but, I was in like flint. From there, I vaulted to the iPhone 5. The rest is history, save a blip when Apple scotched iOS 8 to the point where I had to scramble to a new phone. Android has gone far, but Apple is where it's really at for me.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I sent you a friend request in the Bible app. From there, I'd be glad to give you my iMessage contact.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

my story begins in 2009. I first got into the apple world when I got a white MacBook running leopard in the summer of 2009, fast from to 2010 and I received my first ever iPod touch third generation with voiceover, and learned the gestures on it for IOS. once I got to the summer of 2010 that's when I got my very first iphone, starting with the iphone 3gs. I have switched back and forth sense that time from iOS to android and back again, recently as of last week when I switched from the Samsung galaxy s nine back to the iphone xr. believe it or not, I've been through every single edition of the iphone sense the 3gs came out, that is, I've used and owned every version of the iphone except for the iphone se and iphone 5c. it's incredible to me how far we've come with technology and what the iphone if you think about it as a tool has replaced in the blind tech world.

Submitted by Ann Marie B on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hi Chris.
I really enjoyed your story and thanks for sharing. My first apple device was by today's standards a "huge"60 gig iPod. This was back in 2005 when I was still in high school. I loved the thing because I was able to take it on long car trips and listen to music that my dad purchased for me from his iTunes account. I had various flip phones up until Aug of 2013 when I purchased the iPhone 4S. Before I got the iPhone, I thought "what if people here me text, how would I use a touch screen, etc...". Well, I got the iPhone and fell in love with it! I really wanted an iPone after playing with my friend Rachel's iPhone and she told me I need to get one. I played with the various features of the phone after a week and loved it. My dad said if other blind people can get an iPhone, you can too.
Funny thing was, I showed him the dictation feature and he thought it was only for blind people. lol. Fast forward to 2017 when my bill didn't get paid for a week due to financial problems, I was thankful for facetime and wifi for Imessage. I was able to communicate with my fiance, mom, dad, and fiance's grandma all because of facetime. Recently my mom moved and she doesn't get very good cell reception so I talk to her via facetime. Now my dad says I can use the iPhone better and faster than he can. When I purchased the iPhone 5s in 2014 the salesman was impressed with how well I can use VO and everything it has to offer. I got the iPhone 6s in 2016 and in Nov of 2018 upgraded to a xr. What a difference the xr is from the 6s... I don't miss the flip phone and pressing keys multiple times just to text someone. BTW my 60 gig iPod is collecting dust in my dresser.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Before I begin, a health warning: this might be inspirational. Laughable, perhaps, but not inspirational; but, ho hum, here it is:

It was a Thursday in August 2010 in the Oxford County Court. i had just concluded a case and was trying to ring my instructing solicitor to inform her of what had happened, but the bleedin' Nokia 6220 classic wouldn't switch on! Now, I'd had this candy bar handset for eighteen months, loaded up with Talks, and I thought it was brilliant. I first became a Talks man in 2005 with a Nokia 7610, but two years later couldn't resist the allure of an HTC something or other with Mobilespeak, or Smart Hal (I tried them both). That experiene taught me nothing except that when I chose to move from Nokia to HTC, from Talks to Mobilespeak and its kind, I didn't know what I was voting for, to use a popular mmantrer here in the UK. Coming back to Talks in 2009 was a joyful experience. So when my 6220 Classic met its end in the modern and somewhat unremarkable Oxford Combined Courts Centre, I was very disappointed. For one thing, I had to use a telephone in the court office so as to phone the solicitor, which caused me to miss my train from Oxford back to London. For another, I was without a phone, which meant not being able to catch up on and reply to emails while on the go - pretty much essential in my job.

Now, fast forward to when I got home and actually had the means of speaking to Orange, my phone carrier. They were willing to send out a replacement handset for me, and I could then go ahead and install Talks and be up and running again in a few days. Fine, but remember what a performance getting the licence for and installing Talks was? As I recall, new licence took some time to generate, cost £50 and at the end of it all you still needed sighted help to install Talks on your handset. I didn't have time for all of this - I seem to remember I had a case the following Monday by which time I needed to be operational again. So, as the instantly accessible alternative, the iPhone it had to be.

I say had to be, because I was ssceptical. I had tried other people's iPhones and I didn't really think I got on with them as well as I did with the good old Nokia. how would I text under the table with an iPhone? How would I type at speeds greater than one word per minute with an iPhone? I was being forced into this by circumstances, and not because of any particular enthusiasm.

The chaps in the Orange shop in Golders Green (Now an EE shop, of course) were very good. They let me have a play with the 3GS before I purchased my iPhone 4 as they only had the 3GS as a demonstration model. Orange (now EE) were also very decent about it, waiving the upgrade fee due to my hard luck story, albeit in return for my signing up to a contract that lasted about a century; and I took the absurdly long bus journey from Golders Green to finchley (absurdly long relative to the actual distance) with an iPhone 4 all set up and good to go.

For the first week I have to admit I was a little intimidated by my new iPhone. I got the hang of Voiceover gestures easily enough, but especially when texting, browsing the internet or writing emails I kept wishing for my old Nokia. using the phone was another chore - why couldn't I have the hpone held to my ear and enter things on the keypad at the same time, like in the good old Nokia days? Would I ever be able to pay for anything using an automated credit card phone line again?

But I got used to it. By mid-September I was telling folk that I would probably never have another type of phone. Eight years later, I can't imagine having another type of phone. I love the range of apps, but one of the things I enjoy most is Braille screen input, which is simply superb.

I have a macbook, purchased in 2011, and an iPad Pro, purchased in 2016 along with smart keyboard cover (though the smart keyboard cover is now broken and will not be replaced due to my proficiency with the touchscreen). Great devices, all of 'em; but it was the iPhone 4 that was the way in.

Submitted by Gerardo on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Since the iPHone 3GS came out, and when podcasts of its use came out, I wanted one! this was back in July of 2009 when I had no celphone. I began practicing the gestures on any surface I could get my hands on, for when I get an iPhone someday, I thought, I’ll know what to do.
Fast forward to 2012 June when I had a chance to work with an iPhone at an IShop Store in the city of Puebla, Mexico, leaving the store clerk and my Dad impressed on how agil (and myself to since remember I’d never in my life touched an iPhone, except through visualizing and practicing its gestures on tables and other surfaces); this time I thought I really want an iPHone! I had my Nokia 6120 since a birthday gift October2010,but wanted to be able to get notifications, install aps like Twitter,and have the same flexibility as on the iPHone, for which Id listen to any podcast I could get my hands on; while listening, visualizing and practicing the gestures described.
A day I’ll never forget finally happened July 12, 2012 in the AT&T store here in Mexico, when I was handed my very first iPhone: an 8GB 3GS with iOS5.1.1 on it. Sadly it’s no longer there, but I downloaded in is time, off Dave Woodbridge’s site, several audio tutorials he’d made on using all aspects of the iPHone, thanks to which I got up and running little by little. Yes as some of you have admited, the first several days, I felt very intimidated by the iPHone’s flat screen, and only the Home button!, thus I’d revert back to my Nokia 6120. I clearly rmember one of those days, when the frustration of not being able to perform a given function on the iPhone, escalted to an argument with my DAd, in which he asked me didn’t you tel me that the iPHone was the panacea etc? because really I wanted to go and return the iPHone if you can imagine to waht degree my frustration munted to?
Fast forward to nowadays, in which after almost 7 years amazingly how fast time flies, I’m now on my 3rd iPhone (or is it my 4th) an iPHone SE, and like some of you guys have mentioned, not knowing how I’d live without one! I use mine for almost everything: EMails, social media, as a reading device, music-listening device... I also want to give something to the spanish-seaking blind community, in making sure they know all the benefits, and aps needed, to make the best use of iPHones, thus I colaborate on several Spanish-speaking blindness blogs and podcasts, for which I?m always looking for apps that I find interesting, to try out, and record podcasts on them. I’d like too also, to get more into the Apple ecosystem, with an IPAd, for which there’s no funds for me to get (I don’t get paid on these colaborations sadly), an Appld Watch, and if someday circumstances allow, why not take the plunge with a Mac? Sadly money is everything, thus I only have to continue visualizing and practicing as I listen to podcasts on IPads, Apple Watches etc. I?m always looking for material with which to enrich the “Ciberaprendiendo” episodes with. Having the right technology, but especially the right mindset, we can be as productive (or maybe a bit more) than the average sighted folks.
So this is my story on how, and if circumstances allow, would like to continue to remain in the Apple Orchard as someone on here mentioned; I like that concept!Appld u

Submitted by Alex Marositz on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

<H4>MP3 Players</h4>
My story begins with The Creative Labs Nomad Jukebox Zen extra MP3 player. It was a 40 gb spinning hard-drive MP3 player and I used it to play my pirated music. It was amazing to me to have so many songs on a portable device. Sadly, it was not accessible. I could select various albums with the jog wheel on the side of the device by memorizing the order I placed albums on the device in Windows Explorer, and good old trial and error. I think I had other smaller, more affordable MP3 players as well.
<h4>Mobile Phone Accessibility </h4>
Soon after that, I discovered the Talks screen reader on Nokia Series 60 handsets. Wow, it was amazing. Not only could I browse through my music collection on a micro sdch 32 gb card on my phone, I could make phone calls and send SMS and MMS messages using the familiar Eloquence speech engine. I was the biggest Nokia fan in the world. I had at least three of them from 2005 through 2011. I bought apps in the Nokia store and participated in online user groups. At some point I tried a Windows Mobile phone with the Mobile Speak screen reader but I didn't really like it.
In the summer of 2009 I tried an iPhone 3GS at my local Apple Store. At the time I was living in Old Town Pasadena so going to the local Apple Store regularly was not difficult for me. This was before Apple Stores generally became as crowded as they are now. I was lucky enough to talk with a sales representative who knew all about voiceover and was able to show me how it worked within the apps Apple had installed on the demo mottle in the store. I wasn't ready to give up my Nokia phones but later on I purchased an iPod touch 3rd generation. That iPod and I soon became inseparable.
<h4>Mainstream Accessibility For the First Time</H4>
I should mention that this whole time I had used electronic note-takers, Jaws and Window-Eyes for Windows and even a little bit of Voiceover on the Mac only because I had a friend who was kind enough to let me use her laptop from time to time. Even though I had these experiences with computers and mobile devices, I had never before had the level of access to social media, games and multimedia applications iOS's Voiceover provided.
iOS accessibility changed my life. I know longer felt as if I had to use special, adaptive, software. I could use my phone and do most things my peers could do with their phone for the first time. Navigation apps further increased my independents. The bottom line is that even though Apple's accessibility isn't perfect, and sometimes I get frustrated with how they do things, what they have done for people with visual impairments in terms of accessibility of multi-touch devices cannot be understated.
Thank you for the great topic.

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Hello Alex. I am a regular reader of the AppleVis forum. Over the years, I have seen a multitude of complaints directed toward Apple and what they should or shouldn't do as it relates to accessibility and the visually impaired. I just wanted to say that, I really like your statement below and hope that others will read this and just realize that we live in an imperfect world. It's about choices. If someone doesn't appreciate something a company does then they don't have to give their cash to that company. Thank you for making the following statement: "The bottom line is that even though Apple's accessibility
isn't perfect, and sometimes I get frustrated with how they do things, what they have done for people with visual impairments in terms of accessibility
of multi-touch devices cannot be understated."

Submitted by Blinken223 on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thanks Christopher for your inspiring story. I am always amazed on how much technology has evolved since the 80s, when I was a young lad. I recall my blind aunt requesting audiobooks on vinyl discs and getting them in the mail. Now with a smartphone and the Audible app, you have your entire audiobook library on a device the size of your hand.

I recall back when I was in my 20s, I had tunnel vision and was employed in the Government, I was on a business trip to Saskatoon and went with a sighted colleague so she could buy a PDA, I passed a shelf with MP3 players and stumbled across the first iPod Video, the one with the capacitive scroll wheel. I don’t recall the devices capacity, I think it may have been 32 or 64 gigs, but with my low vision, I was able to memorize the menus and use it to listen to music and podcasts. Back then, all media had to be synced through the computer.

That iPod Video lasted me many years and I used it to listen to my entire music library, podcasts, for which most of them were from the TWiT network, and even was able to download and import Audible books into iTunes so it could then be synced over to my iPod.

Then one day, a friend of mine showed me his iPod Touch 2nd generation, and within a week, had scrounged up the cash and bought one of my own. Like the iPod Video, I used it pretty much the same as I did my iPod Video, music, podcasts and Audible books. With a future update, the App Store was introduced and then I really started cooking. With this new iPod Touch, I started playing games, set it up with my email account to check emails, added my contacts and calendar events, and wouldn’t you know it, I then realized that, like my colleague from Saskatoon, I was starting to use my Touch as a PDA. It wasn’t an iPhone, but I started using it like one.

Then one day, complications with my eyesight arose and I lost the rest of my vision. Being completely devastated, my iPod Touch was no longer useful as the model I had didn’t support VoiceOver, so for a while, I stopped using it.

Then one day, after chatting with my blind niece, she had told me that while she was at a CNIB conference, for which she was invited to read out a poem she had written and won a contest with, she met with a Rogers Wireless rep who showed her the iPhone 4S. Being intrigued with what she was staying, I contacted this rep and was able to get an iPhone 4S of my own. Not being quite sure on how well this would work, I had my brother help me set it up and to turn VoiceOver on. Once I heard that somewhat robotic voice, it was music to my ears. With a lot of time and patience, I slowly began relearning how to use this device by sound and touch, and like my iPod Video and Touch from the past, it did not take long for me to get the hang of it and start using the phone like a pro.

But the one thing that really brought tears to my eyes, wasn’t from my experience with the iPhone, but my nieces.

You see, my niece at this time was in high school, and one thing she always struggled was to feel like a normal teenager. One day, while we were exchanging tips on our iPhones, she told me how having her iPhone changed her life too. Now, she was able to text her friends, keep in touch with them and just feel like a teenager.

Over the years I’ve had many Apple Toys, and as of today, live in an Apple orchard with my iPhone on my hip, an Apple Watch on my wrist, my AirPods in my ears and an Apple TV hooked up to my talking Samsung smart TV. As of a year ago, I also decided to take a leap and try my hands on a MacBook Pro.

I am not saying that all of Apple’s products are perfect, when you look at it, no technology from any company is 100% perfect, but when I look back to when I was a lad and to that conversation with my niece, I am thrilled to see that many of the major companies, like Apple, Google and Samsung, are making their products accessible, giving us access to the same tools as any other person, and allowing us to live more independent lives.

Submitted by Daniel Angus M… on Thursday, March 7, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

In reply to by Chris Gilland

hello Chris,

not sure of how to privet message you here on AppleVis. I'll be happy to answer your questions on Logic. My Skype name is daniel.angus.macdonald. my email is
Hope we'll connect soon,

Submitted by Diana on Thursday, March 7, 2019

My journey with apple started in 2011 when i went to a world blind union conference and heard about the wonders of the iPhone. I made a friend there who had one and she told me how her phone had changed her life. I couldn’t imagine using a phone with virtually no buttons. I went back home to Zimbabwe feeling curious about it and I started having a play with iPhones as I came across them. I was using a Nokia phone at the time. At the end of that year my pastor and his wife as well as the church contributed to getting me my first IPhone. It was a wonderful but daunting thing to own one. I struggled the first few days using my Nokia to help me find websites to help me navigate this beautiful machine. Eventually i found Applevis and that really helped me to navigate my new 4s. I haven’t looked back since then. My first couple of apps were the bible app and the money reader. They were a game changer for me. I now had the bible on my phone and i could recognise currency. That was amazing. I now have an iPhone 6 I use it for practically everything now.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, March 7, 2019

I had an apple C PC and later I got an apple music player. At that time it did not have voiceover but I was able to use it. When the iPhone 4 came out and was accessible I got and 4s, 5, 5s, 6, 7 and xx. No computer because I like window and I like it. Regarding phone, I will always use iPhone unless the accessibility becomes bad which I hope will never happen.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Now that I have just a bit of time, I will tell you the short version of my story. I used the AppleIIE back in the day, with the Echo/Cricket speech. My parents had a couple of these, and when we moved to Illinois from another state I used one for fifth grade. Then I took a long hiatus and used DOS and then Windows. But my parents got me a MacBook Air for Christmas in 2013. Actually I was at the Apple store with them, and the MBA that I tried out ended up being the one on which I'm typing this. It has really grown on me since then, and I now have an iPhone 7 which I got last year. I'm strictly a VoiceOver user, and am super impressed with it. Nowadays you can pretty much find me on either or both these devices all the time. I'd say 24-7, but then I'd be misleading everybody. I figure if one has to sleep sometime, then why not do it during the night. I am fully cognizant of the fact that I need to get out more, but I'm working on that. But that's partly due to my social life here in the building. But yes, I do very much enjoy these devices and cannot wait to see what the tech giant does with VO in the future.

Submitted by Ekaj on Thursday, March 21, 2019

I'm back to talk a bit about my experience to date with the iPhone. First, let me say that my parents and I never even thought I'd be able to use an iPhone, due to my coordination issue. However, after consulting with my brother we decided to give it a shot. He has used iPhones for several years and is also a VoiceOver user. So early last year my father and I went to a local AT&T store, and met with one of their employees. He was very friendly and knowledgeable, and showed us some options. I settled on an iPhone 7, and got my hands on a few cases so that I could make a selection. To make a long story short, we walked out of the store with my brand-new Apple device. I have since done several things on it and love it. If I had to pick one favorite 3rd-party app out of the ones I have, I'd probably tell you to go jump in the lake. I have several 3rd-party apps, and don't know what I'd do otherwise. From getting the day's weather forecast, to reading for pleasure, to independent travel, it's all possible these days thanks to this tech giant known as Apple. Btw, that last one is and has been a work in progress for me. Progress has been rather slow due to circumstances beyond my control, but I know I'll eventually get there. I've also found the native iOS apps I have tried out thus far to be quite good. One of these years I want to go for some more iPhone training at the same place I went before.

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