In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 19th, 2022), Apple released a wide range of forthcoming accessibility features. Later versions of the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac computers will support these accessibility features when they become available.
Apple asserts that incorporating these innovative accessibility features will make it possible for individuals with disabilities to “browse, connect, and get the most out of Apple products” in a more streamlined manner.
Apple has provided a sneak peek at some of the future forward-thinking accessibility features it will release. These features combine the hardware, software, and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Read: 36 Apple Watch 6 Pros and Cons
When new accessibility features become available later this year, users with impairments will have access to new tools that will help make life for accessible in a variety of areas, including navigation, health, communication, and more.
The displays of an iPhone and an Apple Watch, both of which have received software updates, now display updated accessibility features and options.
Thanks to the revolutionary software features that Apple has introduced, users with disabilities now have access to new ways to explore, interact with, and get the most out of their Apple products. Apple has made this possible.
Apple has just revealed a number of revolutionary software innovations that will make it simpler for customers with disabilities to use Apple devices, interact with other people, and get the most out of their use of Apple technology.
Recent Accessibility Innovations
These powerful enhancements combine the most recent technologies developed by the company to provide users with tools that are both original and adaptable. They also build on Apple’s decades-long commitment to designing products available to a diverse range of customers.
Users with physical and motor disabilities who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control can fully control the Apple Watch from their iPhone with Apple Watch Mirroring. The Deaf and hard of hearing community can follow Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. People who are blind or have low vision can use their iPhone and iPad to navigate the last few feet to their destination with Door Detection.
Read: What Kind of Visual Functionality Does An Apple Watch Have?
Apple Watch Mirroring
Apple Watch Mirroring allows users with physical and motor disabilities to fully control Apple Watch from their iPhone. The development of new hardware, software, and machine learning techniques made these innovations possible.
VoiceOver, Apple’s industry-leading screen reader, will now have support for over 20 new languages and localizations thanks to the company’s latest update. As a result of software updates, these functionalities will become available across the board for Apple systems later this year.
Apple’s senior director of accessibility policy and initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, stated that the company:
“Embeds accessibility into every element of our work” and that “we are committed to designing the finest products and services for everyone. “We are excited to introduce these new features, which combine innovation and creativity from teams across Apple to give users more options for using our products in ways that are best suited to their needs and lives.”
“These new features combine innovation and creativity from teams across Apple to give users more options for using our products in ways that are best suited to their needs and lives. With the addition of these new features, users will be able to customise their experience with our products to meet their unique requirements and daily routines.”
Door Locating Technology for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
Door Detection is a brand-new navigation tool that will soon be available by Apple. This tool will assist users who are blind or have impaired vision. When users arrive at a new location, Door Detection can help them locate a door, determine how far away they are from it, and describe the door’s attributes. Additionally, it can determine how far away they are from it. These characteristics can include the state of the door, such as whether it is open or closed. And, if closed, whether it opens by pulling a handle, turning a knob, or pushing a button.
Door Detection is also capable of reading signs and symbols that are located close to the door, such as the room number in an office or the presence of an accessible entrance emblem.
Examples of these signs and symbols include the room number in an office and the presence of an accessible entrance emblem. This new service will be available on versions of the iPhone and iPad, that include the LiDAR Scanner. It combines the capabilities of the device’s camera, LiDAR, and machine learning that performs locally on the device.
Detection Mode and Magnifier
In Apple’s built-in app Magnifier, which helps people who have low or no vision as well as those who are blind, Detection Mode will be Door Detection.
This mode is currently under consideration. In Detection Mode, each of the three features—Door Detection, People Detection, and Image Descriptions—will be available singly or in conjunction with the other two simultaneously. Users with vision impairments are provided with a centralized location that contains tools to assist in navigating and gaining access to detailed descriptions of the environment around them.
In addition to the capabilities of navigation that are already in Magnifier, Apple Maps will provide users of VoiceOver with audible and tactile feedback to assist them in locating the starting point for walking routes. This is in addition to the navigation capabilities already included in Apple Maps.
Door Detection is a powerful function that helps users who are blind or have impaired vision navigate the final few feet to their destination. This function allows users to independently navigate the last few feet to their destination.
Increasing the Capabilities of the Apple Watch in Terms of Physical and Motor Accessibility
Because Apple Watch Mirroring enables users to control their Apple Watch remotely from their associated iPhone, it is now simpler than ever before for individuals with physical or motor limitations to utilize their Apple Watch. Using assistive features on the iPhone, such as Voice Control and Switch Control, users can take control of their Apple Watches through the use of Apple Watch Mirroring. Users have access to various inputs in addition to tapping the display of the Apple Watch, including voice commands, sound actions, head tracking, and external Made for iPhone switches.
Thanks to Apple Watch Mirroring, users who rely on these mobility features can still use special Apple Watch apps such as Blood Oxygen, Heart Rate, Mindfulness, and more. The combination of software and hardware, in addition to developments based on AirPlay, has made this achievable.
Because of a feature known as Apple Watch Mirroring, users can take command of their Apple Watch right from the associated iPhone in their possession. As an alternative to tapping the display, users can use assistive capabilities on their iPhone, such as Voice Control and Switch Control. These capabilities allow for more control over the device.
Hand Gestures for Navigation of the Apple Watch
Additionally, users can control the Apple Watch with only a few simple hand gestures, which opens up many additional possibilities. On an Apple Watch, a double pinch action can now answer or end a phone call, dismiss a notification, take a picture, play or stop media in the Now Playing app, and start, pause, or continue a workout. Additionally, this action can now take a picture.
watchOS 5 brought with it the addition of these brand-new Quick Actions. This builds on the ground-breaking technology used in the AssistiveTouch feature of the Apple Watch. This accessibility feature gives people who have impairments in their upper body limbs the option to control the Apple Watch with movements such as a pinch or a clench rather than having to tap the display of the watch.
Users who are deaf or hard of hearing can now take advantage of live captioning on Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.
Read: How to Use Your Apple Watch With Assistive Touch
Live Captions are a new feature that Apple is introducing for deaf or hard of hearing users. This feature will be available on the Mac, as well as the iPhone and iPad.
Users can more easily follow along with any audio content, regardless of whether they are on a phone or FaceTime call, using a video conferencing or social media app, streaming media content, or having a conversation with someone next to them. This is the case regardless of whether they listen to audio on their own device or stream it from the internet.
The user is also able to change the size of the font, which makes reading much simpler. Live Captions in FaceTime can attribute automatically transcribed dialogue to call participants, making it even more convenient for users who have hearing problems to participate in group video calls.
Apple Inc initially developed live Captions. When Live Captions are enabled for calls on a Mac, users can type a response and have it read aloud in real-time to the other people taking part in the conversation. This feature is only available on some versions of the Mac operating system. When Live Captions are utilized for calls, this action is carried out. Furthermore, because Live Captions are generated locally on the device, user information is protected from prying eyes and remains private at all times.
Which devices support Live Captions?
Live Captions made it significantly less challenging to follow along with any audio content. Apple devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and Mac have the Live Captions feature.
VoiceOver now supports these and a number of other languages.
Apple’s industry-leading screen reader, VoiceOver, for users who are blind or have impaired vision, is adding support for more than 20 additional localities and languages. VoiceOver is designed for users who are blind or have impaired vision. Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese are just a few of the new places and languages that have been discovered.
Users also have access to dozens of new voices that have been recorded specifically for use with assistive features, and these voices are available in a number of different languages. These recently added languages, locations, and voices will also be made available for use with the accessibility features known as Speak Selection and Speak Screen when those features are made available.
In addition, people who use VoiceOver on Mac can use a new tool called Text Checker. This makes it much simpler to proofread written work such as emails or papers by locating common formatting errors such as missing or duplicated spaces or capital letters in the wrong places.
Additional Benefits and Operation Capabilities
The Buddy Controller integrates any two separate game controllers into a single device, making it possible for a single player to control the action using a combination of controllers. Due to the fact that the Buddy Controller combines any two-game controllers into one, users can ask a care provider or friend for assistance when playing a game, thanks to the Buddy Controller’s ability to combine any two game controllers.
The Siri Pause Time feature allows users who have trouble speaking to control the amount of time that elapses before Siri responds to a request. This is helpful for users who have difficulty speaking.
Users can express their own unique spellings by using an input method that is letter-by-letter when it comes to the Voice Control Spelling Mode.
The Sound Recognition software works by programming the software to differentiate between sounds that are specific to a person’s environment (such as the alarm, the doorbell, or the appliances in their home).
Apple has made the reading experience even more approachable with the introduction of new themes and other customization options within the Apple Books app, such as the capability to bold text and modify the line spacing, character spacing, and word spacing. Additionally, the ability to change the line spacing, character spacing, and word spacing will be one of these options.
Apple Books offers a wide range of innovative page layouts and various personalization options.
As a result of recent enhancements made to the Sound Recognition capabilities of both the iPhone and the iPad, it is now possible to instruct either device to recognize a particular alarm, doorbell, or appliance.
Users can now modify the amount of time Siri waits before responding to a request thanks to a new feature called Siri Pause Time.
Within a short amount of time, all Apple computers and devices will have access to the Accessibility Assistant shortcut through the Shortcuts app.
Apple’s Other Accessibility Work
As part of the ongoing effort to make physical activity more accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds, trainer Bakari Williams is using American Sign Language (ASL) this week in Apple Fitness+ to highlight the available features.
These features include Audio Hints. These are verbal cues that provide descriptive information to assist users who are blind or have low vision. Episodes of Time to Walk and Time to Run renamed “Time to Walk or Push” and “Time to Run or Push” for wheelchair users; and Audio Hints, which provide verbal cues that provide descriptive information to assist users who are blind or have low vision.
In addition, the instructors at Fitness+ incorporate American Sign Language (ASL) into each workout and the meditations. All the videos include closed captioning in six different languages. And the instructors demonstrate modifications during each workout so that users of varying fitness levels can participate.
The National Park Foundation has introduced a new guide called Park Access for All that can be found on Apple Maps. This guide is intended to assist users in locating accessible attractions, activities, and services that can be experienced in national parks all over the United States.
Guides written by Gallaudet University, which is recognized as the world’s leading institution of higher education for students who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind, highlight businesses and organizations that support, accept, and prioritize the Deaf community and signed languages.
Everything is available via the app store
Users can explore accessibility-focused apps and powerful stories from app creators in the App Store. Check out the stories by and about people with disabilities featured in the Transforming Our World collection in Apple Books. They are a great way to learn about the creative ways technology is advancing accessibility by listening to Apple Podcasts.
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