The Download: China’s counterfeit lawsuits, and Apple’s accessibility failure

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. The counterfeit lawsuits that scoop up hundreds of Chinese Amazon sellers at once Sun Qunming had no idea that the word “airbag” could be trademarked. Sun, who owns an e-commerce company in Shenzhen,…
The Download: China’s counterfeit lawsuits, and Apple’s accessibility failure

On April 3, 2010, Steve Jobs debuted the iPad. What for most people was basically a more convenient form factor was something far more consequential for non-speakers: a life-­changing revolution in access to a portable, powerful communication device for just a few hundred dollars.

But a piece of hardware, however impressively designed and engineered, is only as valuable as what a person can do with it. After the iPad’s release, the flood of new, easy-to-use augmentative and alternative communication apps that users were in desperate need of never came.

Today, there are only around half a dozen apps, each retailing for $200 to $300, that ask users to select from menus of crudely drawn icons to produce text and synthesized speech. It’s a depressingly slow pace of development for such an essential human function. Read the full story.

—Julie Kim

This story is from our forthcoming print issue, which is all about accessibility. If you haven’t already, subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out on future stories—subscriptions start from just $80 a year.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 OceanGate was aware of safety concerns over its submersible
He claimed the sub, which is currently missing, had “visible flaws” and was not built for extreme depths. (New Republic $)
+ The company likened itself to the SpaceX of the sea. (Motherboard)
+ There will always be people willing to pay for extreme tourism ventures. (The Atlantic $)
+ Coastguards are scouring the sea for any sign of the vessel. (Economist $)