There have been a lot of articles on a lot of websites about accessibility and the iPad since the specifications were first released. Now that our USA readers and bloggers have begun to get their hands on the devices there are even more articles being written, and I’m sure more will follow as the 3G enabled devices are released in the USA and both models become available in other countries starting on May 28th. As an assistive technology enthusiast and disabled blogger, it’s fantastic to see so much interest in the non-mainstream uses of these devices!
The iPad And Vision Impaired Users
The “Booked” blog from mainstream Forbes.com has written Apple’s iPad Brings Easy Reading to the Blind which may help explain to able-bodied people who so many blind users are excited about the iPad.
Mac-cessibility has written about the iPad’s use for those who will use its VoiceOver screen reader in a series of articles entitled “A First Look At The iPad”:
- A First Look At The iPad: Overview
- A First Look At The iPad: Mail
- A First Look At The iPad: Safari
- A First Look At The iPad: iBooks
AccessWorld, a publication of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), has published a great article by Bradley Hodges about his first 24 Hours with the iPad.
The Mac-cessibility round table podcast special episode #5 discusses the iPad.
The RNIB in the UK published first impressions of the iPad’s accessibility (curiously, only available as a Word document) by a partially sighted user and a blind user.
The iPad and Deaf Users
The deafmac.org blog (which, by the way, has a new layout and a new editor) has published several posts about the iPad too:
- Thoughts on the iPad announcement, about why the iPad is both mind-blowing and disappointing for Deaf users.
- The iPad, Reviewed, by new editor Ryan Layton
The iPad And Mobility Impaired Users
Jane Vincent from Access On Main St (I think this is a cool blog name!) has written about the iPad as environmental control unit, and about possible problems with multi-fingure or multi-hand gestures in iPad Gives Users More Than One Finger.
The iPad And Communication Impaired Users
Kati, a frequent commenter here, has just pre-ordered her iPad. She plans to use The iPad As An Affordable AAC Solution for herself, as an adult with Ataxia.
Other iPad Information
Glenn Fleischman at TIDBits reported that the iPad Camera Connection Kit’s USB adapter works with USB headphones and headsets. At almost the same time, TUAW noted that at least some USB keyboards work on the iPad via the USB adapter too, although keyboards only work after displaying an error message. Since neither of these functions are officially supported by Apple they may stop working with any iPad upgrade, but for the moment they seem to be fine.
If you’re willing to jailbreak your iPad and thus void your warranty, you can also enable iPad voice commands and use a Magic Mouse with your iPad which have major accessibility implications. Unfortunately, Jailbreaking has been known to break devices in un-fixable ways though, so any of these things are definitely “at your own risk”.
It’s also worth noting that as well as the huge range of general-audience cases, speakers, mounts, and stands for the iPad there are some specifically chosen for their accessibility potential. RJ Cooper has made available a great set of accessibility-friendly accessibilities for iPad users:
- iPad Stand suitable for desks, wheelchair trays, etc.
- Several iPad Wheelchair Mounting Solutions
- Super protective iPad Bumper Case
- Wireless iPad Speaker suitable for AAC users
Apple themselves have a keyboard dock available for the iPad and its keyboard has some keys that interact with the iPad specifically, as described in iLounge’s iPad Keyboard Dock Review, but there is no full keyboard control or anything near it.
Have you read, or written, other articles about the iPad and how it could be used for a person with a disability? Contact me or leave a comment and I’ll add your article to the list!
- Ricky Buchanan
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Originally published here: iPad Assistive Technology/Disability Round-Up. Copyright Ricky Buchanan 2010.