The transformative impact of the iPad and touch devices on those with disabilities is plateauing, and will soon be fading. These devices have seen very little innovation since 2012-2013 with the introduction of the Mini and the Air. They are still excellent devices, but their sales have declined for these reasons.
When I wrote my post on “The Five Levels of Inclusion,” it was after coming to a realization. There is currently no philosophical approach to inclusion capable of achieving the vision I have in mind.
I was fortunate enough to attend Google I/O 2014. There are two things which captured my attention. The first was Project Tango, which was on my radar prior to Google I/O. Project Tango is the work of Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) and is lead by Johnny Lee. The work they are doing with new high powered tablets holds great promise for those with special needs.
The most interesting question for me is how this advance in tablet technology might help those with special needs?
Mobile technology and the in-the-garage development of apps for those with disabilities has brought Apple, Google, and Samsung into competition with DynaVox and Tobii. Individuals with disabilities limited to a few companies willing to meet their needs suddenly have significant choice. For the first time, those with disabilities are purchasing the same cutting edge technologies coveted by the general public. They are benefiting from the purchasing power of the majority, which creates ever decreasing prices combined with constantly improving features.
Samsung is making headway in the smartphone market because they are not afraid of innovation. Apple appears stuck in the Steve Jobs playbook of the past, rather than drawing up their own for a market which has changed dramatically since the first smartphones arrived.