As stories ushered throughout the news this week celebrating Apple founder, CEO and icon Steve Jobs’ endless contributions to technology and business, people with disabilities ensured his transformative impact on their lives was not forgotten.
Legendary pianist and composer Stevie Wonder thanked Jobs for Apple’s revolutionary role in making music technology accessible to people with disabilities.
“His company was the first to come up with technology that made it accessible without screaming out loud, ‘This is for the blind, this is for the deaf,’ ” Wonder told the L.A. Times on Thursday. “He made it part of the actual unit itself; there were applications inside the technology that allowed you to use it or not use it. The iPhone, iPad touch, iPod touch, all these things, even now the computer, are accessible to those who are with a physical disability. In another sense, he has given the blind eyes to see the world, the deaf ears to hear the world.”
In recent years, Apple has received widespread acclaim for making technology that once cost people with disabilities thousands of dollars, like touch screens, mainsteam. As a result, the technology has become affordable to a far wider range of the population.
On its blog, the advocacy group Autism Speaks thanked Jobs for helping people with autism “achieve a degree of independence that would simply have been impossible without that technology.”
Tim Carmody, a reporter for Wired. com, wrote a column about how Job’s technological impact will be felt even beyond even what the famously confident CEO realized.
In Carmody’s case, the I-Pad has allowed his son, a four-year-old with autism and a severe receptive and expressive language delay, to communicate in ways that would have been impossible until now. His tweet from Wednesday has been retweeted more than 500 times.
“I’m on my way to (Philadelphia International Airport) see my son, who uses a device Steve Jobs invented to help him talk. He will never know. He will never know,” Carmody said.