Yesterday Apple announced their new operating system iOS 6, and I immediately began to cheer. Not for the normal fanboy reasons, although I am an Apple fanboy, and an Apple developer, but because what I saw was a company that not only is pushing the limits of mobile technology, but one that is thinking about persons who can use technology to aid them in their everyday lives.
Apple yesterday introduced "Guided Access" a feature aimed at children to keep them from exiting out of the program assigned to them. It is sort of a fail safe built into the iPhone and iPad to keep the child focused on the task at hand, whether it be a book or a test administered by a teacher.
That's extremely cool, but what was even more impressive was that Apple is proud that feature can help children with Autism. They even went out of their way to mention in the keynote that they know that children with Autism are using the iPad, and that this feature can keep them focused on apps that can help them. How awesome is that? What company do you know that mentions they are proud of options that can help children with Autism?
I stood up out of my chair at my day job and yelled "YES! A company finally gets it!" I immediately went and downloaded the developer version of iOS 6 and the first feature I explored was the Guided Access. Those of you who are parents of normally developing children and children with special needs hear me, it is rad. If you want your child to learn and you are spending money on apps that can teach them, this feature is a giant leap forward. Even I, as an ADHD adult, loved it. It keeps me focused and keeps me from wandering to and fro on my little iPhone.
I say all of this because I am proud and happy that a tech company that takes pride in its accessibility options for disabled individuals. That it cares enough to make extra features to help people who wouldn't normally be able to use this fun technology. They don't have to do that, yet they choose to and it helps people.
Does Apple make a profit because they sell more devices? Absolutely. I don't care about that. They aren't exploiting our loved ones with these devices. Rather, they are enabling everyone, no matter their developmental circumstance, to be able to enjoy and learn from new technology, and that's a company in the tech world that I will happily endorse. The future is bright, and yes, even a mobile operating system is a sign of that.