Apple is expanding availability of sign language interpreters in its stores around the world, enabling deaf and hard of hearing customers access to one-on-one appointments, Today at Apple sessions and more.
The tech giant first offered ASL interpreters at its flagship Carnegie Library outlet in Washington, D.C., in 2019, and sometimes provides similar services to select in-person and online Today at Apple sessions. This week marked a major expansion to the company's accessibility program.
As noted by 9to5Mac, users can arrange for sign language interpreters at hundreds of Apple Store locations in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the U.S. The free service can be requested through a link on a participating store's dedicated webpage.
Apple is known for its work to make consumer products more accessible and has in past partnered with organizations supporting such activity. As it applies to the deaf and hard of hearing community, the company last year joined forces with Gallaudet University to provide scholarships and develop a comprehensive education program that utilizes modern tools like iPad.
In related news, Apple on Thursday confirmed the upcoming closure of its MacArthur Center location in Norfolk, Virginia, a store that has been in operation since 2006. The company declined to say why the outlet is shutting down, though MacRumors speculates Apple is following large chains that vacated the mall due to ongoing safety issues like active shooter situations.
"While we have made the difficult decision to close our store at MacArthur Center, we are pleased to be able to offer all of our team members other jobs within Apple," said Apple in a statement, adding that customers can visit Apple Lynnhaven Mall or shop online.
It is unclear when Apple MacArthur Center will shutter its doors, though a person familiar with the situation said the store will likely close within 90 days. Apple is reportedly working to relocate employees.