As Petr Kucheryavyy scrolls through his Facebook feed, his iPhone spews out a string of unintelligible syllables, not unlike the sounds C-3PO made in Empire Strikes Back when Chewbacca screwed his head on backward. The words move way too fast for me to understand, but Kucheryavyy navigates his audio-based internet world with ease. Images appear on the screen, but he doesn’t see them: Kucheryavyy’s been blind since the age of nine.
“If you go to one of the conventions for the National Federation of the Blind, you’ll hear thousands of phones making these sounds,” he tells VICE. “Apple has figured out that if they build these things on the front end, and make them accessible, there is a giant community of people who will reimburse their investment.”