To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day and offer new tools to differently-abled users for navigation, health, communication, and more, Apple has announced various software features to reiterate its commitment to make inclusive products.
Among various software features coming later this year, Apple has announced to add navigation tools, door detection technology, and live captions to help users with low vision or visually impaired, physical and motor disabilities, and users with hearing disability.
The US-based tech giant has used advancements across hardware, software, and machine learning technology to make inclusive products. Here is the list of newly added features by Apple
To navigate the last few feet to their destination, visually impaired or users with low vision can use their iPhone and iPad with Door Detection. This cutting-edge navigation feature allows users to locate a door upon arriving at a new destination. It also allows users to understand how far they are from it, and describe door attributes — including if it is open or closed, and when it’s closed, whether it can be opened by pushing, turning a knob, or pulling a handle.
Featuring combined power of LiDAR, camera, and on-device machine learning, Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door. This technology will help users to know about the room number at an office, or the presence of an accessible entrance symbol. iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanner will be equipped with Door Detection technology..
Apple has confirmed that Door Detection can be found in a new Detection Mode within Magnifier, the built-in app of the Company supporting blind and low vision users.
Door Detection, along with Image Descriptions and People Detection, can each be used separately or simultaneously in Detection Mode, offering users with vision difficulties a go-to place with customizable tools to help navigate and access bettwer descriptions of their surroundings.
Besides navigation tools within Magnifier, sound and haptics feedback for VoiceOver users to identify the starting point for walking directions will also be offered by Apple Maps.
Voice Control and Switch Control
With the help of assistive features such as Voice Control and Switch Control, users with physical and motor disabilities can fully control Apple Watch remotely from their iPhone with Apple Watch Mirroring. It allows users to control Apple Watch using iPhone’s assistive features such as Voice Control and Switch Control, and use inputs including voice commands, sound actions, head tracking, or external Made for iPhone switches as alternatives to tapping the Apple Watch display.
Apple Watch Mirroring uses hardware and software integration, including advances built on AirPlay, to help ensure users who rely on these mobility features can benefit from unique Apple Watch apps like Blood Oxygen, Heart Rate, Mindfulness, and more.2
Additionally, simple hand gestures can be used to control Apple Watch. The Quick Actions on Apple Watch allows users to answer or end phone call with a double-pinch gesture. It can also be used to take a photo, play or pause media in the Now Playing app, dismiss a notification, and start, pause, or resume a workout.
Those who are hearing impaired or hard of hearing can follow Live Captions on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Users can follow along more easily with any audio content — 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. Font size can also be adjusted for ease of hearing.
Live Captions in FaceTime attribute auto-transcribed dialogue to call participants, so group video calls become even more convenient for users with hearing disabilities.
Users have the option to type a response and have it spoken aloud in real time to others who are part of the conversation when Live Captions are used for calls on Mac. Live Captions are generated on device, user information stays private and secure.
VoiceOver adds new languages and more
With more than 20 new languages and locales including Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese, the tech giant is also expanding support for its industry-leading screen reader VoiceOver. These features will be available later this year with software updates across Apple platforms.
Users will also be able to select from dozens of new voices that are optimized for assistive features across languages. Apple has confirmed that the newly added languages, locales, and voices will be part of the Speak Selection and Speak Screen accessibility features.
Additionally, those using VoiceOver on Mac can use the new Text Checker tool to check common formatting issues such as duplicative spaces or misplaced capital letters, which makes proofreading documents or emails even easier
Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Accessibility Policy and Initiatives said that Apple embeds accessibility into every aspect of its work, and Company is committed to designing the best products and services for everyone.
The new features are combination of innovation and creativity from teams across Apple to give users more options to use our products in ways that best suit their needs and lives.
Also, Read Here: After 20 years, Apple announces to discontinue iPod