Apple urges the FCC not to adopt universal compatibility

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Apple Inc. is urging the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to implement regulations requiring universal compatibility between hearing aids and wireless devices and technologies, reports Fiercewireless.

In an FCC news release in late November, the commission indicated that it was taking “major steps to ensure greater access to wireless communications services and handset devices for the tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss.” This was another step to build on the Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) Act of 1988.

The FCC said the new rules were aimed at fostering accessibility for people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, while promoting innovation and investment in the wireless industry. The aim would be to ensure that all wireless handsets are accessible to and usable by people who use hearing aid devices and cochlear implants.

However, in a recent comments filing, Apple said that although the iPhone complies with current FCC rules, the company’s own hearing aid platform (Made for iPhone or MFi) should be recognized as an alternative for hearing aid compatibility compliance.

“Recognizing approaches such as the MFi hearing aid platform as compliant … will accelerate adoption, increase scale, and reduce cost of new technologies that can improve accessibility compared with today’s HAC-compliant technologies,” said Apple, “thereby providing further incentive for future third party development. Doing so will also increase consumer awareness of, and demand for, accessibility solutions based on these platforms.”

Apple believes that blanket rules requiring universal compatibility with hearing aids may stifle innovation and would be impractical in a market where new devices, technologies, and services are constantly reaching consumers.

Source:Fiercewireless; FCC; Appel Inc.