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Apple honored with Louis Braille Award for efforts in device accessibility

The Associated Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired on Friday featured Apple as a corporate honoree at the 57th annual Louis Braille Awards, a ceremony that recognizes those who contribute to the blind and visually impaired community.


Source: Tim Cook via Twitter


Announced through the ASB's website, Apple received the prestigious Braille Award for its efforts in building accessibility functions into products like iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac.

An institution since 1957, the Louis Braille Award honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions on behalf of individuals who are blind or visually impaired, the ASB says. The award has also been handed out to blind or visually impaired people who overcome great obstacles to accomplish outstanding achievements.

Apple engineer Jordyn Castor, who has been blind since birth, was among those who accepted the award on behalf of the company. Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed gratitude for the award and congratulated the company's accessibility team for their work in a tweet today.

A rundown of Apple's accomplishments in the accessibility space is provided on the award's official website. The company tweaked its boilerplate company statement to highlight efforts for the blind and visually impaired, including mention of Mac, the first platform to incorporate a full featured screen reader directly into its operating system. Apple also touts iOS for delivering the first devices with accessible touchscreen displays and Apple Watch for being the first "accessible consumer wearable."

The company notes braille is supported across both Mac and iOS device lineups with braille tables for more than 25 languages and support for over 70 models of refreshable braille displays.

Apple is considered an industry leader in device accessibility and has in the past been recognized for its efforts in the space. In 2015, the company received the American Foundation for the Blind's Helen Keller Achievement Award for creating and implementing VoiceOver screen reader technology across its computing platforms.

Beyond accolades, Apple consistently promotes awareness for disabled users. Last year, for example, accessibility advocate Haben Girma was invited to address developers at a special Worldwide Developers Conference session covering product design and utility.

Continuing efforts in the area, Apple during October's "Hello Again" MacBook Pro event launched a special mini-site that highlights the many accessibility features built into its various products. A month later, the company integrated AirPods-style streaming and Live Listen accessibility to MFi hearing aids.