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Apple Offers Assistance to Visually Impaired iTunes Customers

According to the Associated Press, Tony Olivero of the National Federation of the Blind approached Apple initially because of the increasing popularity of iTunes U, which provides educational content from universities. Schools were posting class material there, which in turn created a problem for blind students.

Apple has said that starting December 31, The Cupertino-based company will use a screen access software that turns information on iTunes into speech or Braille, allowing blind customers to use the online store easily. Aside from providing this new technology to visually impaired customers, Apple will also be donating $250,000 to the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind to help buy assistance software needed for the visually impaired.

The move by Apple to take positive steps toward making it’s product more accessible to the blind is one that shouldn’t be dismissed as the best way to avoid a Target-like lawsuit. In providing adequate support for the visually impaired, Apple is setting an example. "Apple is the leader, they’ve become the industry standard," Coakley told the AP. "Other companies that compete will have to or want to do this," she added.

While this is great for visually impaired consumers and even better if other companies follow suit, it gives Apple the added advantage of being “the first” to incorporate added support for the blind. Despite the fact that there’s probably dozens of other websites that have done the same, it will be Apple the customers remember.