Without iPads, the world would be a tougher place for people with disabilities
Steve Aquino has written a great article about how the iPad Pro beats any laptop when it comes to accessibility. As a visually impaired commentator, Aquino is well placed to give his judgement on such matters:
"The fact of the matter is that laptops are harder for me to use because I can’t get as close to the screen as I need to work effectively. It isn’t that I *can’t* use laptops; it’s that using them has always felt like an uphill battle I can’t win. The iPad, particularly the 12.9-inch Pro, offers a vastly different experience. It’s roughly the size of the 12-inch Retina MacBook, but the tablet’s form factor and interaction model make it so much better for accessibility."
"It’s for these reasons (as well as my familiarity with iOS) that has made me a believer in using the iPad as my main computer. Unlike my old MacBook, I can hold the iPad Pro as close to my face as necessary, and I can do things simply by touching the screen."
Then on the issue of the iPad as a productivity device:
"My enthusiasm for the iPad is why I disagree strongly with Tech Insider’s Tim Stenovec, whom I feel was off the mark when he recently wrote the iPad Pro “isn’t as versatile as a computer,” as it seems his comment overlooks a niche but not insignificant demographic: the accessibility community. I contend that the iPad is in many ways *more* versatile than a laptop for people with disabilities. Computing and productivity isn’t always about a spec sheet or raw power or Photoshop."
Some of Aquino's comments resonate with me. I have recently been helping my mother, who has been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease, to communicate with her friends over text message using voice commands, since it has become difficult for her to type. She is also using Assisted Touch in Settings as she finds pressing the physical home button increasingly difficult, and using Siri to choose music. Neither of these last two functions are available on her PC, which she is now too weak to use. Therefore, her iPad mini is a lifeline, especially because it is light enough for her to hold.
Kudos to Apple for focusing on the needs of disabled users.