Apple Switch Accessibility: 1979 to 2014

Apple have an undeniably long history of promoting the accessibility of their computers. This reputation was cemented in the 1980s by activists pushing for greater access such as parent Jacquelyn Brand of the Disabled Children’s Computer Group and later Alliance for for Technology Access. Of course most importantly, by the successes of the enabled users.

Key also to Apple's current reputation are the past and present teachers and engineers such as Paul Schwejda and Judy McDonald of Adaptive Peripherals Inc. and the likes of AssistiveWare and their Switch XS system. These are undoubtedly some of the shoulders that Apple's current switch access features stand upon.

The videos above show: Ms. Pac-Man played with a single switch on an Apple II GS with Adaptive Firmware Card. Tap to bring up the auto-scanning menu, then tap again to choose D(own), U(p), (R)ight, (L)eft. Love the way the game stops whilst you decide.

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy is again played with a single switch. There's also a short demo of Morse Code entry which was an alternative to scan and select.

Mike Philip's demonstrates his phenomenally quick single switch skills with Switch XS on an Apple Mac to play mainstream games.

And finally, Colin McDonnell shows the current Yosemite operating system with in-built access, which has taken much from the iOS7 switch access updates.

Some of the current switch access is not perfect, as some activities are very difficult now. I'm hopeful Apple will address this soon. Finally for now, if anyone has a manual for the Adaptive Firmware Card, and ideally the resources disk too, please get in touch. The Ms. Pac-Man and Hitch Hiker's videos were kindly created by Richard Pickles who brought my (g32) Adaptive Firmware Card back to life with his Apple II GS. We can't understand for the life of us how to get the joystick and paddles emulation working, and would love to do so to document this amazing device a little further. UPDATE: Superb post from Richard Pickles here on the Adaptive Firmware Card.

g32 Adaptive Firmware Card with Don Johnston I/O Box with blue accessibility switch plugged in. Fitted to an Apple II GS (doesn't fit very well!)

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