Apple announces new accessibility features for all products


Image: Apple

apple on tuesday announcement new accessibility features for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and more. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant said the features will provide “new ways for users with disabilities to browse, connect, and get the most out of Apple products.”

New features leverage advances in hardware, software, and machine learning.

“Apple embeds accessibility into all aspects of its work, and we are committed to designing the best products and services for everyone,” said Sarah Herrlinger, senior director of accessibility policy and initiatives at Apple.

“We are excited to introduce these new features, which combine the innovation and creativity of Apple’s teams to give users more options to use our products in the way that best suits their needs and their lives.”

The announced software features will begin rolling out to users later this year as part of firmware updates, Apple said, but the company has offered a preview in the meantime. Apple’s upcoming accessibility features include:

Door detection

A new navigation feature designed to allow people who are blind or partially sighted to locate and be guided to a door by their iPhone or iPad when they arrive at a new destination.

Door detection uses LiDAR, the device camera, and on-device machine learning to locate a door, determine how far it is, recognize attributes such as whether it is open or closed, and determine how it can be opened (by pushing or turning a button, for example).

Apple Watch Mirroring

The new feature will allow users, especially those with physical and motor disabilities, to control their Apple Watch remotely from their paired iPhone.

Users will also be able to use assistive features such as Voice Control and Switch Control on the iPhone to control their Apple Watch as a replacement for the Apple Watch display. Apple has also expanded hand gesture controls for the Apple Watch by adding new Quick Actions.

Live Captions for iPhone, iPad and Mac

Apple is bringing Live Captions to iPhone, iPad and Mac to make audio easier to follow for users who are deaf or hard of hearing. The feature works entirely on device and supports phone and FaceTime calls, video conferencing apps, social media apps, content delivery platforms, and more.

Additional Features

  • With Buddy Controller, users can ask a caregiver or a friend to help them play a game; Buddy Controller combines two game controllers into one, so multiple controllers can drive input for a single player.

  • With Siri pause timeusers with speech impairments can adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request.

  • Voice control spelling mode gives users the ability to dictate custom spellings using letter-by-letter input.5

  • Sound recognition can be customized to recognize sounds specific to a person’s environment, such as the alarm, doorbell, or unique devices in their home.

  • the Apple Books The app will feature new themes and introduce customization options such as bolding text and adjusting line, character and word spacing for an even more accessible reading experience.

Apple also announced 20 new languages ​​and locales for its industry-leading screen reader, VoiceOver.

“At Apple, we design accessibility from the ground up and constantly innovate on behalf of our users. The industry-leading features we’re sharing today will give people with disabilities new ways to browse, connect, and more.” mentioned CEO Tim Cook on Monday.

The new accessibility features will likely be part of iOS 16 (and its sister updates for other Apple product lines). Apple is expected to unveil iOS 16 at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), scheduled for June 6-10.

According to recent speculation, iOS 16 won’t change much in terms of how the operating system looks, but it will bring new Apple apps and more ways to interact with devices. The first public beta of iOS 16 would be available in July, which is later than Apple’s usual schedule for new iOS releases.

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