Accessible Apple: The 12 Requests of Christmas, Day 10

This is the tenth post in our annual 12-part series covering the accessibility features we would like to see Apple bring to its products in the coming year.

This series is being put together by Accessibility Editor Alex Jurgensen, with the help of several contributors.

For the tenth request of Christmas, we ask Apple to give to us:

10. Relay Support for Assistive Technology Peripherals

For years, Apple has taken an interest in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies to help make our transition between Apple devices more seamless. These technologies include Bonjour, Apple’s network discovery protocol that helps connect devices on a local network and Handoff, the feature introduced a few years ago that allows users to start working in an app on their iOS device or Mac and continue working on the task on the other. Last year, Apple took the vision of a unified hardware platform one step further by adding seamless switching to its AirPods.

ReSound LiNX2 MFi Hearing Aids

ReSound LiNX2 MFi Hearing Aids

Imagine if Apple could take this vision one step further and make it work with assistive technology peripherals. Imagine if you could have all your audio routed through your MFi (Made For iPhone) hearing aids and/or all your braille output displayed on a braille display without having to re-pair either device. This could be possible by using the magic of iCloud and a nearby device as a relay. In the setup, the closest Apple device to your assistive technology peripheral would connect to it and share its connection to all your other nearby iCloud devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The above could, of course, be extended to non-assistive technology devices and help further Apple’s vision of a wireless world.

We ask Apple to consider adding this feature for device relaying to all their platforms and ushering in a more seamlessly connected world.

The Previous Posts:

9. The Ability to Use the Enhanced Siri Voices in macOS with VoiceOver

8. A System-wide Spellchecker on iOS

7. An Enhanced Spellchecker for macOS

6. A Rewritten "Activities" System for VoiceOver on the Mac

5. A Reimplementation of the Classic Mac Startup Chime

4. Braille Display and Keyboard Support for the Apple TV

3. A Free USB Type C to USB Type A Dongle

2. 6-Key Braille Input for macOS

1. A New Speech Manager