Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

Wanting An iPhone Is Not Snobbery

I need a new cell phone quite desperatly. Mine had been slowly falling apart for months, but it is now completely and utterly dead. Some of my followers on Twitter may find me annoying lately, as I moan about wanting an iPhone or a soon-to-be released HTC Magic. Someone even accused me of wanting such a device only because it is popular. But that isn’t the case. For me, it is in large part a question of accessibility.

Because of the arthritis in my thumbs and fingers, I cannot use the vast majority of the keypads on phones. To dial a number once in a while wouldn’t be a great problem, but to send TXTs, that would be problematic. To actually take notes and write memos would be impossible. This means that the phone I need must have either an on-screen keyboard, or the ability of hand-writing on the screen. This considerably limits the phones/devices available to me.

Then we have to take into consideration what uses I make of such a device. There are five main things I do:

  1. Use as a phone (well, "doh" you’ll say)
  2. Use the camera (for everyday moments when I don’t have my DSLR camera)
  3. Take notes
  4. Keep track of appointments
  5. Keep track of contact details

There are a few other things I use my phone/handheld for, such as reading e-books, or sometimes loading up some MP3s. Reading e-books is also a question of accessibility. There are days when my hands are unable to actually hold heavy books.

I started using a Palm handheld device back in 1998, doing calendar, contacts, notes, etc. It has saved me a lot of time and space. In 2001, I went up to the Palm Treo, which combined the features of the Palm with a cell phone. It didn’t have a camera at the time, but it did all I needed at the time. In 2004, I went to the Jam from i-Mate, which did all that, and gave me a camera.

5 years later, I still used the Jam, until it died today.

So I am looking for a device that will do all I’ve been using my Jam for, with the addition of being able to get on the web and get to a few websites. From what I’ve seen, the iPhone is the best device meeting those criterias. Another option is the HTC Magic, which is coming out this week in New Zealand. There is a Samsung device available on Telecom, but price-wise it is not that much lower than the iPhone, and I don’t wish to change provider & phone number.

So, there you have it. Yes, I am picky, but my need is guided by actual usage, and also by disasibility & accessibility needs.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to be able to afford the darn thing. What am I gonna do without a phone???? Oy vey ;)

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