Apple Complains About FCC's Hearing Aid Push
Apple has filed comments with the FCC requesting the agency refrain from adopting new hearing aid rules. In November, the agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require all phones to be accessible to people who use hearing aids or have cochlear implants. Right now, phone makers only have to make a small selection of their handsets accessible to hearing-impaired persons. The FCC wants to see such people offered the same range of devices that are available to all consumers. Apple complies with current rules with its own hearing aid platform called Made for iPhone (MFi), but believes the FCC's new proposal goes too far. "The FCC has not in the past, and should not now, require that manufacturers ubiquitously implement coupling technologies that can function with every hearing aid," argued Apple. "To do so would undermine companies' ability to attract consumers with hearing loss by differentiating their products in the marketplace, and would severely constrain innovation." Further, Apple believes its Made for iPhone program should be more than adequate for its handsets. "Recognizing approaches such as the MFi hearing aid platform as compliant under the FCC's HAC rules will accelerate adoption, increase scale, and reduce cost of new technologies that can improve accessibility compared with today's HAC-compliant technologies." MFi supports voice calls, FaceTime, Siri, navigation, and multimedia. The FCC is still accepting comments on its proposal and has not said if or when any regulations might go into effect.
Sprint Marketing the Alcatel Retro to Seniors
Sprint today announced the availability of the Alcatel OneTouch Retro, a simple flip phone with accessibility features on board. The device, which is also sold as the Speakeasy and Fling, is being marketed to senior users as well as those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.
FCC Wants All Cell Phones Hearing Aid Compatible
The FCC today expanded the scale of hearing aid compatibility in cell phones to include IP-based communications, such as WiFi and VoLTE. AT&T and Verizon Wireless recently sought and received waivers to offer WiFi calling along with an alternate to the legacy technology called RTT (real-time text).
FCC Pushes Privacy Rules Forward
The FCC on Thursday followed through on plans to tackle consumer privacy. The agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to govern the use of consumer data by broadband providers, both wired and wireless.
FCC to Let Phone Companies Replace TTY with RTT
The FCC this week adopted rules that will allow carriers to replace their existing (but aging) TTY systems with the more modern RTT (real-time text) service. The move is meant to expand the tools for the deaf, hard of hearing, and blind.
AT&T Asks FCC to Change Rules So It Can Offer WiFi Calling
AT&T has filed a waiver with the FCC asking the agency to alter some of the rules governing how AT&T serves deaf and hard-of-hearing customers so it can deploy WiFi calling sooner. AT&T plans to use WiFi to supplement its cellular network in some areas.
Apple: "How dare you require us to make our products properly available to everyone. We want to only have our specific types of (likely overpriced) hearing aid which locks people into our ecosystem or massively inconveniences them."
I mean come on. I'm sure they'd complain just as bitterly if they were required to have compatible chargers or other accessory connectors, that are part of a standard that the rest of the world has moved to - after all, that would make it easier for people to swap phones out and not get stuck in their locked-down ecosystem.
Apple, grow up and realize ...
I supposed we should also crack dow...