Apart from Steve's not-so-subtle hatred of buttons, Apple has traditionally been a fairly accessibility-aware company, and its latest patent application, for the "Multimedia data transfer for a personal communication device," outlines a method by which the visually-impaired can use services like SMS. The system eliminates the need for backend servers and data transfers by having the transmitting device first read the text and then send it over a voice channel to the receiver. The application also details an extension of the system where received voice transmissions are forwarded to a mail server and stored for later retrieval -- kind of like reverse voicemail. As always, Apple's pretty vague about how we might see this patent applied, but that doesn't make trying to read the patent tea leaves any less entertaining.

[Thanks, Brian]

[Via MacNN]