2001 Conference Proceedings

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So! You're a Mac lover, Eh?

Mike Peplow
Information and Access Technology Services
Adaptive Computing Technology Center
University of Missouri-Columbia
S5C Memorial Union
Columbia, Missouri 65211
Email: Peplowm@Missouri.edu 

Abigail O'Sullivan
Information and Access Technology Services
Adaptive Computing Technology Center
University of Missouri-Columbia
S5D Memorial Union
Columbia, Missouri 65211
Email: Abigail@Missouri.edu 

This presentation and demonstration will focus on whether or not the Apple Macintosh iBook is a viable option for persons with mobility impairments, by examining the features that are inherent and some that can be added.

Apple initially developed this sturdy laptop computer for ambulatory students to be able to carry or quickly pull in and out of a backpack, however, with its rugged lighter weight design it also lends itself to many people with mobility impairments.

Why iBook over other laptops?

Some of the features that are inherent to the iBook that make it desirable for persons with mobility impairments are:

It's relatively lightweight design at 6.6 lbs.
New very durable design
Built in handle
No latch to open design
Not slip surface
Longer battery life (6 hours)
Wireless connectivity to the Internet and Accessibility options standard with the Macintosh operating system (including Apple's speech recognition software).

Some features that can be added are: an external mouse or trackball, speech recognition software with USB microphone.

Where iBook falls short from other laptops.

Slightly slower processor speed
No internal read/write device
Limited available hard drive space direct from the manufacturer
No open slots for adding other cards
Only one size monitor screen
Batteries cannot be swapped out easily

Coming attractions!

Apple has shown a continuing commitment to upgrading all of its products in a timely manner, always striving with its newer products like the iBook and the iMac to give the consumer what they want within the product design. With this said, some of the thing to watch out for in the future for the iBook could be: larger hard drive space, more memory standard on SE model, better speakers and new colors.

Conclusion.

Being a person with a mobility impairment I find many of the design features inherent to the iBook a welcome addition to the laptop realm. I have searched for a way to place a handle on a laptop in the past without ruining the machine or the warranty; Apple has taken care of that for me as well as thrown in some other nice additions. For anyone with a spinal cord injury level C 5 or lower this could be a very welcome addition for their lap tray, lap or backpack. While, like many other things it is not the answer for all it does bear careful consideration if you are thinking about being mobile with your computing.

References

Apple Computer, Inc. (2000). Apple iBook, Apple.com (pp. www.apple.com/ibook). Apple Computer, Inc.

Andrew Gore (1999). Macworld: iBook, Macworld Magazine (pp. macworld.zdnet.com/1999/10/22/ibook.html).


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