Apple previewed innovative software features that introduce new ways for users with disabilities to navigate, connect, and get the most out of Apple products. These powerful updates combine the company’s latest technologies to deliver unique and customisable tools for users, and build on Apple’s long-standing commitment to making products that work for everyone.
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 Apple Watch from their iPhone with Apple Watch Mirroring; and the Deaf and hard of hearing community can follow Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Apple is also expanding support for its industry-leading screen reader VoiceOver with over 20 new languages and locales.
These features will be available later this year with software updates across Apple platforms.
“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.”
Door Detection for Users Who Are Blind or Low Vision
Apple is introducing Door Detection, a cutting-edge navigation feature for users who are blind or low vision. Door Detection can help users locate a door upon arriving at a new destination, 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. 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. This new feature combines the power of LiDAR, camera, and on-device machine learning, and will be available on iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanner.
- 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.
- Sound Recognition can be customised to recognise sounds that are specific to a person’s environment, like their home’s unique alarm, doorbell, or appliances.
- The Apple Books app will 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.