This past December, I finally bit the apple and purchased an iPhone! For years I have used either an accessible cell phone specifically for the blind or an old fashion flip phone. I have known about iPhones and how great they are to use but my current phone always suited me just fine. I had been totally uninterested in the fancy bells and whistles of this new growing technology. I had been unconcerned with downloading books, reading my stock portfolio or listening to music on my phone; I just wanted to make a simple phone call and hang up. Well, I have turned over a new leaf and purchased an iPhone. I know my iPhone-loving friends had to do a double take when I told them what I had done. They couldn’t believe that I had come to Jesus and converted to Apple’s theology. But yes, it is true. I am a true believer and have an iPhone now.
You might be asking “What caused me to change my mind after all this time?” It was what Adam Hinchliffe shared in a post on the SightSeeing Blog about Uber. We both live in the Atlanta area and getting around can be very challenging even in a large city. After years of dealing with the ups and downs of public transportation, expensive cabs and personal drivers; I knew I needed something different. Several of my blind and visually impaired friends were singing the praises of Uber and how great an experience they were having zooming around Atlanta. But the caveat was that you could only access it through an app on your iPhone. So, my mind began to turn and I realized that if I wanted better transportation options I had to change my tune with my cell phone technology. I also realized that my flip phone was not totally accessible. I had problems getting to my contact list and some of the other features of my phone whereas the iPhone did not present that kind of problem.
Going from a flip phone with an old-fashioned keypad to a smartphone with a flat surface was a big jump for me. Flicking, tapping and swiping my fingers a cross a screen was a new thing I had to adjust to and even now is still taking some getting used to. But the more I use my phone the easier it gets. My iPhone friends have been more than gracious in helping me to learn my phone and are available when I need them for help and assistance. Sometimes I have called them on the phone for a quick trouble-shooting lesson. Or I have sent over an e-mail for some step-by-step directions. I have also accessed Hadley School for the Blind instructional YouTube videos. I try to watch one each week or so to learn something new about my iPhone. There are several available and new ones are added all the time. The videos focus on one aspect of the phone using the Voice over Command and you can access them for free anytime. They also have free webinars on a regular basis introducing new aspects of the iPhone as well. I also read Access World Magazine that has great articles on the latest in iPhone technology. Just last week I downloaded the book “iOS 8 Without the Eye” by Jonathan Mosen and am reading through it to learn more ways to use my phone. Additionally, I paid $99 for the Apple Care Plan which gives me two years of unlimited tech support through Apples Accessibility Services. I can call their toll free tech support line for people that are blind and visually impaired. A representative will assist me with any question I have about my phone. I have gotten assistance with learning how to download my e-mails, troubleshooting text messages, learning how to swipe or flick my finger better on the screen, learning how to use the reader, and accessing Siri better. It has only been a few months, but I am well on my way. The iPhone has so many features to offer and I know that it will take time to learn them all. I just try each week to learn something new. I will continue to keep you posted as I travel on this new and exciting iPhone journey!
Can We Talk? Do you have an iPhone? If not, have you considered purchasing one? If you do have an iPhone, what benefits have you gain from it? How did you first learn how to use it? How has it helped enhance your life as a blind or visually impaired person?