comscore Apple announces new accessibility features for iPhones, Watches, Mac

Apple introduces new accessibility features: Door Detection, Live Captions and more

Apple has introduced also a Buddy Controller, which can be used by users to ask a care provider or friend to help them play a game.

Apple Accessibility Update

Image: Apple

Apple today announced a host of new accessibility features that are aimed to help users with disabilities. The list includes includes features such as Door Detection, Apple Watch Mirroring and Live Captions. Apple said that these new features will be coming to iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and Macs later this year. Also Read - Apple MacBook and iPad Pro models with OLED displays in works, will launch in 2024

Door Detection on iPhone, iPad

Apple’s Door Detection feature will use LiDAR sensors and iPhones and iPads to help users who are blind or low vision to locate a door upon arriving at a new destination, understand how far they are from it, and describe door attributes such as if the is open or closed, and when it’s closed, whether it can be opened by pushing, turning a knob, or pulling a handle. In addition to this, Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door, such as room number or an accessible entrance symbol. Also Read - Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch with M2 will be available to order from June 17: Price, features and more

Apple said that its Door Detection feature will be available in a new Detection Mode within Magnifier. “Door Detection, along with People Detection and Image Descriptions, can each be used alone or simultaneously in Detection Mode, offering users with vision disabilities a go-to place with customisable tools to help navigate and access rich descriptions of their surroundings,” Apple wrote in a blog post. Also Read - Apple sued for using the patented Auto Unlock feature on its Apple Watch

Availability: This new feature will be available on iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd and 3rd generation), and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th and 5th generation) later this year.

Apple Watch Mirroring on Apple Watch

For Apple Watch users, the company announced a feature called Apple Watch Mirroring, which helps users control Apple Watch remotely from their paired iPhone. Apple says that with Apple Watch Mirroring, users can control Apple Watch using iPhone’s assistive features like 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.

This feature 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.

Availability: This feature will be available on Apple Watch Series 6 and later.

Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, Mac

The company also announced Live Captions feature for the deaf and hard of hearing community. This new feature will be available on iPhones, iPads, and Macs and it will allow users to follow audio content more easily. Apple says its Live Captions feature will not only work with a phone or a FaceTime call, but also when users use a video conferencing or social media app, streaming media content, or are having a conversation with someone next to them.

Apple said that users can also adjust font size for ease of reading. “Live Captions in FaceTime attribute auto-transcribed dialogue to call participants, so group video calls become even more convenient for users with hearing disabilities,” the company wrote in a blog post adding that on Mac, users have the option to type a response and have it spoken aloud in real time to others who are part of the conversation.

Availability: This feature will be available in beta later this year in English on iPhone 11 and later, iPad models with A12 Bionic and later, and Macs with Apple silicon.

Voice Over gets new languages

Additionally, Apple has also added support for 20 new languages to its VoiceOver feature. The list includes Arabic (World), Basque, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Farsi, French (Belgium), Galician, Kannada, Malay, Mandarin (Liaoning, Shaanxi, Sichuan), Marathi, Shanghainese (China), Spanish (Chile), Slovenian, Tamil, Telugu, Ukrainian, Valencian, and Vietnamese. These new languages will also be available for Speak Selection and Speak Screen accessibility features.

Apart from this, the company said that VoiceOver users on Mac will be able to use the new Text Checker tool to discover common formatting issues such as duplicative spaces or misplaced capital letters for proofreading documents or emails better.

And some more

The list doesn’t end there. Apple has also introduced a host of other accessibility features within its various apps. Here’s a detailed list:

— The company has introduced a Buddy Controller, which can be used by users to ask a care provider or friend to help them play a game.

— The company has also introduced Siri Pause Time, which can be used by users with speech disabilities to adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request.

— Apple has also introduced a Voice Control Spelling Mode that gives users the option to dictate custom spellings using letter-by-letter input. This feature is available only in English.

— The company has also added a Sound Recognition feature to the mix that can be customised to recognise sounds that are specific to a person’s environment, such as their home’s unique alarm, doorbell, or appliances.

— Also, the company said that Apple Books app will now offer new themes, and introduce customisation options such as bolding text and adjusting line, character, and word spacing for an even more accessible reading experience.

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  • Published Date: May 17, 2022 9:26 PM IST

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