Is Apple Watch Accessible? Apple Isn’t Saying
Stream issues notwithstanding, Apple delivered a presentation today that would have met most people’s expectations.
When I look back at the blog post on my iPhone 6 wish list, I’m pretty pleased.
The big reveal of the day was Apple’s watch. A couple of the features caught my attention from a blindness perspective, including the ability to be alerted with subtle vibrations when to turn left or right while travelling, and receiving a discrete notification when you’re travelling and have reached your destination. For blind people who are concerned about having to listen to instructions while walking, this could be great.
Unfortunately, there is not yet any word on whether the Apple Watch is accessible. I sent a quick email to Apple Accessibility, and received the reply that information about Apple Watch is available on its web page. They went on to say they were not at liberty to comment on anything not contained on that page. And since there is no word about accessibility on that page, that means Apple just isn’t saying one way or the other.
Apple’s “need-to-know” culture is legendary, so it’s possible that those responding to all the accessibility queries about Apple Watch are only coming up to speed now. It’s also true that VoiceOver, on products where it exists, tends to be featured on the Apple site, so perhaps we may be sitting out at least the first cut of the software.
I’m confident that at this point, the product specification for the first iteration of the Apple Watch software will have been set. So it is disappointing that Apple wouldn’t have authorised an answer to the question many blind people are asking on social networks and email lists. Can we use it, or can’t we? It’s a really simple question, I’m sure by now there is an answer one way or the other, and I hope very much we will get that answer sooner rather than later.