Apple Begins Selling Some Accessibility Accessories Online and in Stores

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

As we reported in December 2015, Apple was rumored to begin selling accessories related to accessibility in early 2016. Those rumors are now coming to fruition, At the time of posting, the Apple website lists a total of 15 accessories available for purchase. Among those accessories are several switch devices from AbleNet, 2 tactual music accessories from Skoogmusic, and the Humanware Brailliant BI 32 and 40. You can find an accessory review of the Brailliant BI 32 here. The prices appear to be the equivalent to what the actual companies are charging for these devices.

Could this be starting a new trend for offering accessibility options in the mainstream market? What devices would you like to see the Apple store carry next? Do you think you would be more apt to purchase such accessories from Apple instead of going directly to the manufacturer? Are you disappointed with Apple's initial offerings? We'd love to know your thoughts.



Submitted by Wayne Scott Jr on Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Being totally blind and partially deaf, I use a Focus 14 which is ideal for an iPhone or iPad since it is small and very portable. I paid around $1300 for both the display and the case. I got the Focus 14 from Freedom Scientific and the case from Executive products. I have seen a Brailliant and it is very pricy; around $4000. The Focus 14 is bout the side of a credit card and can fit in your purse or backpack quite easily. And it works great with IOS devices. and worth the price. I have had mine for about 2 years and it still works great. Those are my thoughts on what I think Apple should look into. And it can be made affordable. If Apple can work with the manufacturer, then I might consider going through Apple if the price is reasonable.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Thursday, May 5, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

HI Wayne.
I agree with you about there being a selection of smaller displays, let's hope that happens. I'd like to see the Smart Beetle and Focus 14 both as options. In my view, 40 cells is not very portable, and 32 is even a stretch, pardon the pun.

Submitted by Joe on Friday, May 6, 2016

Club AppleVis Member

To be fair this just launched yesterday so let's hold tight and see what happens. I'm not sure how this is working weather humanware contacted them or if Apple reached out to someone but we will see how this progresses in the future! It's not like to give you a price break so you can still go to that company's website and get your braille display.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Friday, May 6, 2016

I hope Apple gets these in stores at least so people can get their hands on them. You can look at features and specs online all you want but it's completely different than playing with it in person.

Before I went to look at different displays I was dead set on the Focus 14 blue. When I played with it though, I found the keys to be way too close together and you couldn't fit more than a couple words on the display at a time, meaning you'd have to pan a lot. Not such a big deal with the iPhone but voc rehab wanted to get me something that would be more used with a computer, which makes sense I suppose. i liked the build quality of the Brailliant but thought the controls were a bit too complicated. I settled on the Focus 40 Blue because I like the easy-to-find controls on the front. It's a bit too big to use with the iPhone though, even though that is what I use it with most. I'd love to try it with JAWS though...I've heard it's amazing!

It'd be cool if Apple also sold the Orbit Reader 20 when it comes out.

Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, May 7, 2016

This sounds cool. Someone with whom I work was actually telling me today that at least one of our local Apple stores is going to have an accessibility workshop in a couple weeks. I'm wondering if perhaps this is related in any way to the selling of accessibility products? In any case I think this is a great idea and am curious to see what comes of it.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, May 7, 2016

Apple has held accessibility workshops for a long time before people were even thinking about Apple selling accessibility accessories.

Submitted by Jake on Friday, May 13, 2016

As the Brailliant 40, latest firmware and all, still has an odd tendency to sometimes lock up when communicating with iOS devices, it seems an odd choice for Apple to carry. Personally I agree with others: smaller displays are more to my liking. The Vario Ultra 20 is my particular pick, though I'll probably be buying one before Apple ever might offer it.

Submitted by Wenwei on Thursday, September 2, 2021

I'm a few years late to this train. Perhaps I need to start following notable podcasts to receive relevant tech updates. I agree that it would be great to test products at the Apple store instead of having to contact a local Humanware rep and schedule a demo of the product. If Apple decided to sell a braille display that connects via the iPad smart connector, I would buy that display in a heartbeat. I spend a lot of time reading for work on my iPad and it would totally be worth it for me. I will just have to keep dreaming because I know that will never happen.

Submitted by Ali Colak on Thursday, September 2, 2021

I looked on the apple accessaries sight and couldn't find it, though I could find the other things mentioned in this post.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The Brailliant BI32 is no longer being made. This was a blog post from 5 years ago, when that was still being made. To my knowledge, Apple does not currently carry any braille displays. Sorry for the bad news!

Submitted by Blue on Tuesday, November 2, 2021

In my opinion, this post should be updated and Braille displays should be removed. Since there is no longer available in the Apple Store. If it’s not removed, it will be counted as miss leading information.

Submitted by Siobhan on Tuesday, November 2, 2021

To be honest, I'm not sure any accessories would fit this category. I remember thinking how cool apple was way back when, seeing those displays. Obviously they barely moved.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Nice but how many of us can get one? Not me.