The National Federation of the Blind
of Connecticut
I got an iPhone
By Ann Chiappetta

I finally went to the Verizon store and bought an iPhone. I was afraid, you know, sweaty palms, the tight knot of anticipation, etc. Until this point, I'd never even attempted to text, let alone purchase a smart phone. Now I was trading in a tactile keypad for a touch screen and was a bit apprehensive, to say the least. Once I instructed the sales girl how to turn on the voice over accessibility, however, and held it, all the doubts blew out the window and into the slipstream. I felt like the Looney Tunes character Duck Dodgers in the 24th and ½ Century.

All kidding aside, though, it often feels like a fantasy. I doubted the digital gadget, thought it was overrated. Then I did some serious research and when a friend showed me how it sounded, felt, and worked, I took the plunge, even though I'm paying $50 more per month for my iPhone contract.

So, with the help of very patient friends and a wonderful user's guide called, Getting to Know the iPhone, available on digital download from the National Braille Press, I've learned how to flick, tap, split-tap, triple flick, scroll, four finger flick, scrub, and touch type while interpreting the clicks, boings, doinks, gurgles, and chimes accompanying each new gesture. I think I want to name my new phone R2D2. I still have trouble with the two finger wheelie thing called a router that brings up editing and typing options.

As for the virtual keypad, I'm good at touch typing and improve every time I do it, however, I'm not satisfied with how slow the editing process is when making an error. Correcting a mistake is time consuming, as it involves the two finger wheelie router thing and flicking that is disorienting for me. I am going to invest in a Bluetooth keyboard so I don't frustrate myself. My hope is that once I acclimate, learn to operate the apps, I can leave the note taker at home and carry two slim, intuitive, and totally awesome pieces of equipment, which will lighten the weight of my purse and thereby save my back and shoulders from carrying around the blind person's miscellany. I could even graduate to a smaller purse, thus making the necessary trip to the shopping mall to purchase a new one. I could even buy more than one purse, don't you think? Onward, space rangers!

 

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Updated December 7, 2011