Apple on Thursday announced a whole range of accessibility features that have been designed keeping in mind people who have mobility, cognitive, hearing or vision-related limitations. These features will be pushed via software updates later this year.
One of the most interesting features for the Apple Watch that has been announced is one that allows people with limb related limitations to navigate the device’s interface by making use of AssistiveTouch. Users who own iPads or iPhones will also get similar features. Apple has also introduced a new language interpreter service under the name of SignTime which will allow users to communicate with either AppleCare or retail care.
What are Apple’s Latest Accessibility Features
AssistiveTouch, one of the updated additions from Apple will allow Apple Watch users to navigate a cursor on the display via a series of hand gestures that will include pinches or clenches. Apple states that this will be made possible by the accelerometer and gyroscope present onboard the Apple Watch along with machine learning and the heart rate sensor.
Gesture controls via AssistiveTouch will also allow users with limb differences to easily answer calls, control an on-screen pointer, access the control centre and notification centre, all on the Apple Watch without any physical inputs. The models that will get these features are yet to be revealed.
Furthermore, iPadOS will also be bringing support for third-party eye-tracking software and devices to allow users to control their iPad without any physical input, instead, they will use their device with their eyes. Apple has also stated that it is updating its preloaded screen reader, VoiceOver to let people explore more details in their images.
People who get distracted by sounds have also been considered, with Apple announcing background sounds such as balanced, dark noise and bright that will continue to play in the background so that the user is not distracted by some unwanted noise or external sound, allowing them to stay focused, calm and at ease.
For mute users, Apple is bringing mouth sounds such as click, ee or pop to replace physical keys and buttons so that non-speaking users with limited mobility can use their devices. There will also be new memoji customisations to represent users with oxygen tubes, cochlear implants or a soft helmet.
The SignTime feature will be available in the US, UK and France starting May 20, with plans of expansion in the future, but the details for the same are yet to be revealed.