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TECHNOLOGY

Apple to introduce accessibility features for the disabled

The features will offer new ways for people with disabilities to navigate, connect, and so much more.

In Summary

•The features will offer new ways for people with disabilities to navigate, connect, and so much more.

•Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door, like the room number at an office, or the presence of an accessible entrance symbol.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook
Apple chief executive Tim Cook

To mark the global accessibility awareness day on Thursday (May 19), Apple has previewed innovative software features that introduce new ways for users with disabilities to navigate, connect, and get the most out of Apple products.

Door detection

Using advancements across hardware, software, and machine learning, people who are blind or low vision can use their iPhone and iPad to navigate the last few feet to their destination with Door Detection.

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.

Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door, like the room number at an office, or the presence of an accessible entrance symbol.

Live captions for the deaf and Hard of hearing users

The Deaf and hard-of-hearing community can follow Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Apple has also said it is also expanding support for its industry-leading screen reader Voice Over with over 20 new languages and locales.

These features will be available later this year with software updates across Apple platforms.

Quick Actions on Apple Watch help users perform a time-sensitive action — like answering a phone call — with a double-pinch gesture.
Quick Actions on Apple Watch help users perform a time-sensitive action — like answering a phone call — with a double-pinch gesture.

“Apple embeds accessibility into every aspect of our work, and we are committed to designing the best products and services for everyone,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Accessibility Policy and Initiatives.

“We’re excited to introduce these new features, which combine 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.”

Apple on Thursday will be highlighting related topics on the Apple Books app featuring stories by and about people with disabilities. Apple Books app will offer new themes, and introduce customization options such as bolding text and adjusting line, character, and word spacing for an even more accessible reading experience.

Additional Features

  • With Buddy Controller, users can ask a care provider or friend to help them play a game; Buddy Controller combines any two-game controllers into one, so multiple controllers can drive the input for a single player.
  • With Siri Pause Time, users with speech disabilities can adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request.
  • Voice Control Spelling Mode gives users the option to dictate custom spellings using letter-by-letter input.5
  • Sound Recognition can be customized to recognize sounds that are specific to a person’s environment, like their home’s unique alarm, doorbell, or appliances. 
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