How the iPhone and App Store Have Redefined Accessible Software
By Steven Aquino
Everyone acknowledges the societal and technological effects the iPhone has had on the world. In late 2007, Time named the original model its “invention of the year,” and rightfully proclaimed it “the phone that changed phones forever.” Eleven years on, it is genuinely difficult to remember the world before the iPhone existed. Whatever your platform allegiance, there can be no disputing that the first iPhone pioneered the notion that everyone should carry a touchscreen supercomputer with them wherever they go. In hindsight, Steve Jobs wasn’t exaggerating when he boasted Apple would reinvent the phone.
Yet for everything the iPhone has meant to smartphones and to the world, there is a segment of users for which the iPhone has been truly revolutionary: disabled people. For many people with disabilities, myself included, the iPhone was the first accessible smartphone. The device’s multitouch user interface and large (for the time) display represented a total break from the smartphone conventions of the day. [...]