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Special iPhone 3GS offer for the visually impaired: Maxis

AvantiKumar | April 21, 2010
Demo of iPhone to Malaysian Association of the Blind Cyber Club
KUALA LUMPUR, 21 APRIL 2010 -- Malaysian mobile service provider Maxis has launched a special iPhone 3GS offer, which cuts the price of the device by US$155.92 (RM500), to the visually impaired community in the Klang Valley.

During a recent demonstration of the device to 70 members of the Malaysian Association of the Blind Cyber Club (MABCC), Maxis chief operating officer Jean-Pascal van Overbeke said the special offer required registration to a Maxis postpaid iValue plan.

"The iPhone is a tool with almost limitless uses, delivered through: the unparalleled variety in its application store, an easy-to-master user interface, and, on Maxis, through the most advanced mobile network in Malaysia," said van Overbeke.

He said key relevant features of the iPhone for the visually impaired included VoiceOver. "This is the world's first gesture-based screen reader. Instead of memorising keyboard commands or pressing tiny arrow keys, you simply touch the screen to hear a description of the item under your finger, then double-tap, drag, or flick to control the iPhone."

Other features included:

  • VoiceOver, which speaks 21 languages, and works with all of the applications built into iPhone 3GS.
  • Zoom on the iPhone allows the user to magnify the entire screen of any application.

"In addition, iPhone 3GS allows you to change the display to white on black for higher contrast," he added. "The White on Black feature may be used in any application, as well as on the Home, Unlock, and Spotlight screens, and with Zoom and VoiceOver."


 Previously worried about price
After a three-week trial of the iPhone 3GS from Maxis, MABCC chairman, Yam Tong Woo, said: We are truly excited about the iPhone 3GS and its new features but were previously worried about the price tag. The special offer from Maxis makes the smart phone so much more available to us.

Before the iPhone 3GS, visually-impaired mobile phone users like me had to purchase screen reader software costing up to US$311.84 (RM1, 000) to install on our phones," said Yam. "I am personally looking forward to using the iPhone 3GS on a daily basis. My favourite feature is the built-in voiceover function which I found to be most useful.

There are several applications from the iTunes Store that I can download for free or buy at a nominal price and what's more, most of these applications can be used by the blind or visually impaired," he said.  "At a touch, I can easily check the local weather, stock market report, connect to Skype and Facebook and lots more.

In addition, the built-in digital compass helps me to check my bearings and orientation and find my way around, said Yam. I am also looking forward to downloading a visual-impairment-friendly GPS [global positioning system] programme with local maps, with audio accompaniment for turn by turn feature which will make it easier to walk about independently.