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Accessible Apple 2017-2018: The 12 Requests of Christmas - Day 5

This is the fifth 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 fifth request of Christmas, we ask Apple to give to us:

5. An Ultra-Simple Router Experience That Uses the Tech We Already Have

Apple's Airport Wi-Fi routers are some of the most accessible Wi-Fi routers on the market. Unlike most home routers, Apple has used apps for setup and control of the routers as opposed to clunky web interfaces that are often poor accessibility experiences. The AirPort Utility apps and the ability to setup a new router from the Settings app on iOS make the routers a prime example of simplicity that leads to a positive accessibility experience.

With Apple reportedly disbanding its AirPort division and reassigning engineers to other projects like the Apple TV and HomePod, the fate of the company’s routers is still in question. As we move towards smarter and smarter homes, Apple's AirPort tech is falling further and further behind. We’d like to see Apple integrate the features of the AirPort series into the Apple TV and HomePod while keeping an updated AirPort Time Capsule and AirPort Express as simpler options. Furthermore, we’d like to see the new family of Wi-Fi products behave as a mesh network, meaning that each Apple TV, AirPort, or HomePod could act as a sort of relay to enhance Wi-Fi signals within an environment. Perhaps Macs, especially desktop Macs, could also get in on the action. Building on the existing Apple ecosystem would be Apple best chance at competing with Qualcomm’s vision of a home full of Wi-Fi-enabled smart devices that create a mesh network, while ensuring the experience is still a simple and accessible one.

For more things we’d like Apple to include in upcoming releases, please see:

4. A Smarter Way to Order Cabs with Siri

3. A Fix to a Not So Long-Standing Mail Bug

2. A Fix to a Long-Standing Mail Bug

1. Easier Web Browsing with VoiceOver

Accessible Apple articles take a significant amount of volunteer effort to put together. This year, we ask readers to consider making a donation to support the development of an independent living skills training centre for training Canadians who are blind, partially sighted, and deaf blind in independent living skills such as assistive technology, literacy, independent travel, cooking, etc. These skills are essential and training centres help provide them. More information and donation links can be found here.

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