Michigan mother wants Apple Watch more accessible to people with physical challenges

Kristen Wartella hopes social media will help create change

Kristen Wartella (WDIV)
Kristen Wartella (WDIV)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – A Michigan mother is hoping social media will help her convince Apple to make one of its most popular products more accessible to people with physical challenges.

"Hey Apple, my name is Kristen Wartella," she wrote in a Facebook post. "I am 33 years old, and I was born without my right arm (just below the elbow). I have worn a prosthesis since I was 6 months old. Although being an amputee definitely has its challenges I have always been proud that it has never stopped me from doing anything I set out to do."

Wartella isn't exaggerating. She goes on to explain.

"I’m a wife, a mom of 5 kids, and work as a reading teacher in an elementary school," she wrote. "I am a sports enthusiast. I played many sports throughout my life and was a multi-sport athlete in High School. Currently, I work out 5-6 days a week and enjoy running, boxing, weight lifting, and circuit training."

Kristen Wartella and her family. (Photo: Hunter Sallee Photography)
Kristen Wartella and her family. (Photo: Hunter Sallee Photography)

But Wartella recently ran into a hurdle she couldn't clear.

"After drooling over my husband’s Apple Watch I decided it was time to invest," she wrote. "I currently have a Fitbit Alta and was looking to upgrade. I like what the Apple Watch has to offer and how incredibly durable it is. I went to the store to purchase one and decided to test the watch out. In doing so I realized that I could not even get the watch to turn on as it needs a finger to touch and swipe. I was incredibly disappointed. My Fitbit Alta works by tapping the screen so I am able to tap it with my prosthesis. I left the store very discouraged."

That frustration soon turned into inspiration.

"The very next day while watching the Super Bowl I was moved to tears as I watched a commercial showing kids with similar disabilities using devices to play video games like their peers," she wrote. "I thought about how I felt not being able to use the Apple Watch as I had hoped. Technology has come so far. I encourage you to explore ways to adjust the Apple Watch so that people like me can wear them proudly. A tap screen feature would be AMAZING as I don’t have a finger print to use. I’d be happy to test anything you come up with. Please let me know your thoughts."

Wartella asked her family and friends to share her post. There's no word yet if it's reached the folks at Apple.