Liked Posts

Samsung goes after blind iPhone users

John Paczkowski, for some website:

A Mannheim Regional Court on Friday ordered a stay of a Samsung suit against Apple that alleges the iPhone maker’s VoiceOver screen-access technology violated its patent on display into speech data. […]

Samsung has now identified itself as a company willing to accept the loss of accessibility for the vision-impaired as collateral damage in its battle with Apple. It has made a big public move to make it more difficult for the blind to use computers.

The iPhone 4 was the last time I stood in line for launch day. It was at the Michigan Ave. Apple Store in Chicago, and when it came time for me to pair up, I met Ryan, a blind Apple Store employee.

Ryan navigated us over to an unoccupied corner of the store, as you do during hectic events like this, and gave me the standard greeting and pitch. I let him know I’ve done this before which simplified a few things for both of us, and he got me set up with two phones (one for my wife) pretty quickly.

By that time, Apple had adopted the iPhone as an in-store checkout tool, and Ryan navigated his with ease. He asked for all the typical carrier account information to verify we had an account in good standing, and he used Apple’s VoiceOver tech to enter it all. On some screens he knew exactly where to press, and on others he could use gestures to make iOS read information out loud, then tap what he needed.

I felt bad being so excited to watch this, but it was my first time seeing VoiceOver in action and it was… warming. I had never met a blind employee, and VoiceOver helped it happen.

Smooth move, Samsung.


I have just been informed that Ryan now works on the Accessibility team at Apple. Fantastic.