I shared this on Facebook in May 2021 and wanted to post it here while I still remembered the details. I was working in my office next to Kīpuka at UH-Hilo one day. Apple had started to start ship the first iPhones, so it must have been 2007. So my friend and colleague Kalani Makekau-Whittaker walks into my office with a big smile on his face. He had in his hand the first iPhone I ever saw, flipped it around to show me the screen, and I saw an email that was written to him in Hawaiian with the ‘okina and kahakō showing. No fonts to install or anything it just worked.
The only problem was there was no way to type those characters on it. I contacted my friends at Apple and they explained that the core of the iPhone’s operating system, iOs, was based on OSX, so the language support transferred over when it was ported. I asked if they could add a Hawaiian keyboard, and they hesitated, explaining they didn’t think they could get support for adding new keyboards. So I brought out the fact that if the user long-held over the vowels, versions of the vowel with various diacritics appeared as a pop-up and you could select any of them. Couldn’t they add the vowel-macron to that and the proper ‘okina to the apostrophe key? The quick answer was – “Yes, absolutely. We’ll get it in the next iOS update.” Which they did. A few short years later our Hawai‘i Apple representatives Jim Uyeda and Nani Daniels made a convincing case to their superiors as to why Apple should include the Hawaiian keyboard and other language support software to iOS. The message got through to the right people, and the rest, as they say, is history. #normalizationrocks#sodoesapplecomputer#evennicrosoft
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