Apple Announces Assistive Touch for Apple Watch, Eye-Tracking Features on iPad Among Other Accessibility Updates
Apple has announced an array of powerful software features that are particularly customized for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities.
Assistive Touch for Apple Watch
Users having upper body limb differences can easily access various features including incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer, notification center, and more. The watchOS uses built-in motion sensors like an accelerometer and gyroscope along with the optical heart rate sensor that analyzes the minute change of movements in tendon activity and muscles. They enable the user to move a cursor on the screen with gestures like clench, pinch, or hand movement.
Eye Tracking Support for iPad
Users can control the iPad using their eyes as the iPadOS will support third-party eye-tracking devices. In the near future, with the help of compatible MFI devices, the pointer will make a move based on the person’s gaze and many more.
Explore Images with VoiceOver
Making life smooth for blind and low vision communities, the VoiceOver will enable them to discover minute details about objects within images, table data, text, people. This helps them re-experience reminiscences in detail.
Hearing Aids and Audiogram assistance
Enabling new bi-directional hearing aids, the microphones will allow deaf and ear-related problems to have facetime conversations and hands-free phone
The Headphone accommodations will now increase soft sounds and able frequencies to match with the user’s hearing ability
Now users can have a comforting environment with minimal distractions with the addition of new background sounds like rain or stream sounds that play to mask external noise.
Features in the coming year
Sound Actions for Switch Control – Users with non-speaking and have restricted movement can use their mouth sounds to use the phone.
Display and Text Size settings will enable users with various vision challenges to have easy access to the screen.
Closed captioning for every workout is one of the ways Apple is making Fitness+ inclusive and welcoming to all users.
You can now track medications and daily routines with Siri shortcuts supported by the Accessibility Assistant Shortcut feature
Apple Books adds reading recommendations from author and disability rights activist Judith Heumann, along with other themed collections.
Apple Maps features new guides from Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for Deaf, hard of hearing, and Deafblind students, that help connect users to businesses and organizations that value, embrace, and prioritize the Deaf community and signed languages.