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Apple, AT&T partner to assist deaf with iPhone 4 and FaceTime

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Apple and AT&T have teamed with ZVRS to bring video relay calling for deaf and hard-of-hearing users via the iPhone 4 and its FaceTime video chat functionality.

Video relay services allow deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired people to communicate with hearing people in real-time, via a sign language interpreter. In addition to hardware, ZVRS makes video relay software for both Macs and PCs. And with the help of Apple and AT&T, it will now bring its latest software -- dubbed iZ -- to the iPhone 4.

ZVRS on Wednesday hosted a private party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia, Penn., to announce iZ, which will be released on July 26, 2010 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Further details on the service, including whether it will work over a regular cellular data connection, were not provided. Currently, FaceTime is only available over Wi-Fi.

Amy Cohen Efron of Deaf World as Eye See It wrote about Wednesday's event on her blog. She said that Carl Gustin, former chief marketing officer with Apple from 1988 to 1994 current ZVRS board member, worked with his former company and AT&T to put the plan in motion.

Karen Putz, who writes A Deaf Mom Shares Her World, was also present at this week's event with ZVRS. She said hundreds of people watched as three members of the audience made video relay calls live from the stage.

"It was absolutely amazing to watch each of them communicate via using a cell phone," Putz wrote. "How many of us have dreamed of that day? The day is here!"

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz, former president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, places a ZVRS call on iPhone 4 Wednesday. Photo courtesy ZVRS.

Apple previously touted the ability of the iPhone 4 and FaceTime to help people who speak through sign language communicate with one another. The company released a commercial in early June which included two people signing to one another via the forward-facing camera found in the iPhone 4.

post #2 of 40
I'm not deaf nor hearing impaired, or have any good friends or family that are. But this stuff chokes me up. Even the commercial from June.

It just seems like the simple communication world is really opening up for the rather large subset of humanity that is out there.

It would be sweet, with lots of hurdles I'm sure, if FaceTime could be made available not just on wi-fi, but over 3G etc. to those that require it for daily communication. But it would be right.
post #3 of 40
So what kind of service plan are they offering for this? Do you still have to pay the monthly fee for voice service?

(I don't understand why Apple doesn't sell the iPhone unsubsidized in the US, unlocked. Is AT&T that worried that a significant number of people will buy these and go with the only other quasi-option, T-Mobile?)
post #4 of 40
Apple has made this protocol open source and free to use by other manufacturers. It ought to be required by law to be included on every phone under the anti-descriminiation acts of the various advanced countries. I think Apple will be able to get compression issues under control and this will work over 3g too which will be an even bigger advance.

Well done Apple, this is the most important innovation on a phone since the iPhone was first launched.
post #5 of 40
Good to know that the hearing impaired can now actually use a "phone". Who would have thought that when AG Bell among others first cooked up the telephone a long time ago.
post #6 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBestMan View Post

It just seems like the simple communication world is really opening up for the rather large subset of humanity that is out there.

I think the deaf community will just text like everyone else. Just like they always have.
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

So what kind of service plan are they offering for this? Do you still have to pay the monthly fee for voice service?

(I don't understand why Apple doesn't sell the iPhone unsubsidized in the US, unlocked. Is AT&T that worried that a significant number of people will buy these and go with the only other quasi-option, T-Mobile?)

Easier said than done when have "Exclusivity and contract" involved...
post #8 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Good to know that the hearing impaired can now actually use a "phone". Who would have thought that when AG Bell among others first cooked up the telephone a long time ago.

Yea, cuz texting hasn't been on phones for ages.
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Good to know that the hearing impaired can now actually use a "phone". Who would have thought that when AG Bell among others first cooked up the telephone a long time ago.

Hopefully Bell himself.
post #10 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by All Day Breakfast View Post

Apple has made this protocol open source and free to use by other manufacturers. It ought to be required by law to be included on every phone under the anti-descriminiation acts of the various advanced countries.

Section 508 ( http://www.section508.gov/ ) has spelled out accessibility requirements for web pages but the regulations are almost universally ignored. Even though the government is required by law to ensure that all contractors who build web content for any entity that receives federal funding comply with all the regulations, they seldom do. So yeah, make it a law, but maybe they should start by enforcing the laws they already have. There are about 10 million deaf or blind people in the US. I know a few quite well.

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post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

Yea, cuz texting hasn't been on phones for ages.

Right and texting is a very personal experience. I have a deaf cousin who does have a phone to use for texting but but despite that he always says he has never truly used a phone even though he has one. Deaf people communicate well and on a personal level through sign language and seeing and reading someone's lips. I showed him my iPhone and let him experience FaceTime. He loved it so much he went out and bought one and is talking his hearing impaired friends into getting iPhone 4s also. His mom who lives in another state is planning on getting an iPhone for the sole purpose of communicating better and more personally with her son.

Thank you Mr. Sensitivity for your very insightful and well thought opinion.

Jerk!
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

Yea, cuz texting hasn't been on phones for ages.

You really don't "get it" do you?
post #13 of 40
Yes, Facetime makes it easier, but this is nothing new.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videophone

(I know....it's a Wikipedia reference....just read it anyway)
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

yes, facetime makes it easier, but this is nothing new.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/videophone

(i know....it's a wikipedia reference....just read it anyway)

Who cares if the idea isn't new? It's being implemented in a usable way now which makes it new! That's like comparing a new/better wheel to the original caveman wheel.
post #15 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Section 508 ( http://www.section508.gov/ ) has spelled out accessibility requirements for web pages but the regulations are almost universally ignored. Even though the government is required by law to ensure that all contractors who build web content for any entity that receives federal funding comply with all the regulations, they seldom do. So yeah, make it a law, but maybe they should start by enforcing the laws they already have. There are about 10 million deaf or blind people in the US. I know a few quite well.

And the web would be a better place for it. Technology, and the web in particular are great enablers. Technology can also achieve the opposite (traditionally FLASH being the big culprit, as well as ignorant coding).
post #16 of 40
FaceTime is a joke for the vast majority. There are niches that it will serve very well, as proven in this article. What's the other niche? FacePorn.
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

FaceTime is a joke for the vast majority. There are niches that it will serve very well, as proven in this article. What's the other niche? FacePorn.

If you're not going to use it, then don't use it and quit b!tching about it. Why do you have to be a jerk about something some people will actually use? Just coz you don't find it useful doesn't mean others won't. Since you obviously dont care about video calls, why should it matter to you whatever people will use FaceTime for?
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

(traditionally FLASH being the big culprit, as well as ignorant coding).


Shoot the messenger. Flash can display closed captioning if you want to spend the time to provided it. Agencies charge Around $10 a minute to re-encode your Flash movie with captions. People don't want to pay for it. I have never seen any option for CC on Apple's site. Maybe it is there I just haven't seen it.

But on the subject of accessibility for the blind, on government sites you are supposed to have audio descriptions of the action in the video sort of like Vince Scully does play by play for radio audience. Flash is more problematic for blind people though, as you say ignorant coding. Buttons and link need to be made accessible from the keyboard. This issue has been addressed even since the Macromedia days, but developers don't seem to care.

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post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

If you're not going to use it, then don't use it and quit b!tching about it. Why do you have to be a jerk about something some people will actually use? Just coz you don't find it useful doesn't mean others won't. Since you obviously dont care about video calls, why should it matter to you whatever people will FaceTime for?

He's the ambassador for the vast majority - listen to him, he knows what he's talking about.
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

I think the deaf community will just text like everyone else. Just like they always have.

I know several deaf people. None of them own cell phones. A pager makes more sense.
post #21 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

Yes, Facetime makes it easier, but this is nothing new.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videophone

(I know....it's a Wikipedia reference....just read it anyway)

True but no one has ever taken video calling to mainstream and I think that's what Apple is tying to do. Video calling capabilities on a mobile phone has been around for years now but no one has been able to make it popular. I had it on my old Nokia phone back in 2006. It hasn't caught on because no one has really promoted and pushed video calling on cellphones.

Will Apple be one to take video calling mainstream? Remains to be seen..
post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post


Will Apple be one to take video calling mainstream?.

Check!
post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Right and texting is a very personal experience. I have a deaf cousin who does have a phone to use for texting but but despite that he always says he has never truly used a phone even though he has one. Deaf people communicate well and on a personal level through sign language and seeing and reading someone's lips. I showed him my iPhone and let him experience FaceTime. He loved it so much he went out and bought one and is talking his hearing impaired friends into getting iPhone 4s also. His mom who lives in another state is planning on getting an iPhone for the sole purpose of communicating better and more personally with her son.

Thank you Mr. Sensitivity for your very insightful and well thought opinion.

Jerk!

I would like to fully align myself with your comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

FaceTime is a joke for the vast majority. There are niches that it will serve very well, as proven in this article. What's the other niche? FacePorn.

I always like reading what people who speak for "the vast majority" have to say. How do you know this is a joke for the majority? Have you conducted a poll?

When I travel on business, which is frequently, I would love to be able to actually see my wife when I call her, rather than just talking to her.
post #24 of 40
The iPhone ad that highlighted someone using facetime for sign language. When I saw it on TV, my jaw dropped. Absolutely brilliant.
post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post

When I travel on business, which is frequently, I would love to be able to actually see my wife when I call her, rather than just talking to her.

Give us a little time to get out of the shot first.

(kidding!)
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBestMan View Post

I'm not deaf nor hearing impaired, or have any good friends or family that are. But this stuff chokes me up. Even the commercial from June.

It just seems like the simple communication world is really opening up for the rather large subset of humanity that is out there.

It would be sweet, with lots of hurdles I'm sure, if FaceTime could be made available not just on wi-fi, but over 3G etc. to those that require it for daily communication. But it would be right.

I'm glad I'm not the only one chocking up....

Plus, it will probably be easier for our older generation than a webcam to be able to communicate since some are still scared of technology.
post #27 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Give us a little time to get out of the shot first.

(kidding!)

Touche!
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Right and texting is a very personal experience. I have a deaf cousin who does have a phone to use for texting but but despite that he always says he has never truly used a phone even though he has one. Deaf people communicate well and on a personal level through sign language and seeing and reading someone's lips. I showed him my iPhone and let him experience FaceTime. He loved it so much he went out and bought one and is talking his hearing impaired friends into getting iPhone 4s also. His mom who lives in another state is planning on getting an iPhone for the sole purpose of communicating better and more personally with her son.

Thank you Mr. Sensitivity for your very insightful and well thought opinion.

Jerk!

Excellent response, well said
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Enjoying the new Mac Pro ... it's smokin'
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini.
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post #29 of 40
I think it's just wonderful that Apple and AT&T are working together on this endevour.

Personally I wish they would work together and fix their network so I could make a plain old telephone call...
post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I know several deaf people. None of them own cell phones. A pager makes more sense.

I know several Deaf people as well, and they all have cell phones. My ASL teacher in particular is extremely exited about iPhone 4, as both she and her husband are Deaf.

FYI for others: Deaf people do not appreciate the term "hearing impaired."
post #31 of 40
When 'texting' was first launched, everyone said, "why would you type out a message when you could just call". Now, the same thing is going to happen with FaceTime.

@OllieWallyWhiskers - man, you must feel like a total jerk about right now. What a horribly insensitive thing to say. Sending a text is nothing like making a phone call just like listening to a sporting event on the radio is nothing like watching it on TV. Think before you speak, my fine whiskered poster. It's not too late to just say, "You're right guys, my bad."
post #32 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Right and texting is a very personal experience. I have a deaf cousin who does have a phone to use for texting but but despite that he always says he has never truly used a phone even though he has one. Deaf people communicate well and on a personal level through sign language and seeing and reading someone's lips. I showed him my iPhone and let him experience FaceTime. He loved it so much he went out and bought one and is talking his hearing impaired friends into getting iPhone 4s also. His mom who lives in another state is planning on getting an iPhone for the sole purpose of communicating better and more personally with her son.

Thank you Mr. Sensitivity for your very insightful and well thought opinion.

Jerk!

great post! Even better use of the technology. Go Apple! It definitely humanizes the experience of a phone conversation.
turtles all the way up and turtles all the way down... infinite context means infinite possibility
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post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac31 View Post

FYI for others: Deaf people do not appreciate the term "hearing impaired."

Well, that is true...but there are also those who are not deaf, yet have a lesser ability to hear...and some of these people do not mind the term "hearing impaired."
post #34 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac31 View Post

FYI for others: Deaf people do not appreciate the term "hearing impaired."

Didn't realize that. I only know three people (personally) who are deaf and none of them are bothered by that term. But thanks for the FYI. Definitely don't want to insult anyone.
post #35 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

I think the deaf community will just text like everyone else. Just like they always have.

Dinosaurs like you may, but deaf doesn't mean stupid.

Daniel Swanson

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Daniel Swanson

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post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by xamian View Post

Well, that is true...but there are also those who are not deaf, yet have a lesser ability to hear...and some of these people do not mind the term "hearing impaired."

Actually, the correct term is "hard of hearing."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

Didn't realize that. I only know three people (personally) who are deaf and none of them are bothered by that term. But thanks for the FYI. Definitely don't want to insult anyone.

Glad to let you know.

I'm sure there are some Deaf people out there who don't mind "Hearing Impaired," but as far as Deaf Culture is concerned, "Hard of Hearing" is the preferred term.
post #37 of 40
Also, another tidbit of information:

Deaf people were some of the first to start texting. My Deaf Culture teacher was Deaf and she was part of a kind of test group to see how well texting would go over with people. Since Deaf people were initially ideal subjects, she was part of the test. After that, texting on different devices became mainstream. I believe she did this while she attended Gallaudet.
post #38 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac31 View Post

Actually, the correct term is "hard of hearing."



Glad to let you know.

I'm sure there are some Deaf people out there who don't mind "Hearing Impaired," but as far as Deaf Culture is concerned, "Hard of Hearing" is the preferred term.

-----------

This is categorically false, if you view the disability exclusively pathologically, you could get away with it, however, anthropologically, Deaf is BY FAR the more appropriate answer.

9.9 times out of 10, people will call themselves deaf and by proud of it.

source: i was born in a deaf family, i have my degree in "deaf culture studies", my job as a sign language interpreter (certified), I could go on and on.
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post #39 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by eddively View Post

-----------

This is categorically false, if you view the disability exclusively pathologically, you could get away with it, however, anthropologically, Deaf is BY FAR the more appropriate answer.

9.9 times out of 10, people will call themselves deaf and by proud of it.

source: i was born in a deaf family, i have my degree in "deaf culture studies", my job as a sign language interpreter (certified), I could go on and on.

It is not just a matter of degree. An audiologist would say I have a 'moderately profound hearing loss', but powerful hearing aids work well for me. I don't use sign language. I've dealt with a deaf person who did rely on sign language, and we had to communicate via e-mail (a form of texting). I'm aware of the tremendous cultural gap between those who are deaf and those with some hearing.

I was pleasantly surprised when viewing the WWDC keynote speech to see the iPhone 4 Retina Display being used for sign language.

Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

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Nullis in verba -- "on the word of no one"

 

 

 

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post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

...snip...Thank you Mr. Sensitivity for your very insightful and well thought opinion.

Jerk!

LOL
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