Apple Accessibility Features

July 15, 2021 7:44 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Are you a person with mobility, vision, hearing, or cognitive disabilities? Apple recently announced next-generation technologies that highlight Apple’s belief that accessibility is a human right. The Company is focused on advancing the company’s long history of delivering Apple accessibility features that make Apple products customizable for all users. And I strongly reiterate “all users.” Here’s why.

Nobody can say that Apple is not an achiever. Every product and service they develop is geared to the needs of users and is done with an eye on the current technology landscape, as well as the future.

Upcoming Fall Releases

Taken from a press release posted in May, Apple is going to introduce software updates across all of Apple’s operating systems for users with disabilities. For example, people with limb differences will be able to navigate Apple Watch using AssistiveTouch; iPad will support third-party eye-tracking hardware for easier control; and for blind and low vision communities, Apple’s industry-leading VoiceOver screen reader will get even smarter using on-device intelligence to explore objects within images. By the same token, for people who have neurodiversity issues, Apple is going to introduce new background sounds to help minimize distractions. More Apple accessibility features for the hearing impaired is called Made for iPhone (MFi) which will soon support new bi-directional hearing aids.

SignTime Enters the Scene

Now hearing-impaired can contact Apple AppleCare and Retail Customer Care by using American Sign Language (ASL) in the US, British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK, or French Sign Language (LSF) in France, right in their web browsers. Talk is already in the works to expand SignTime capabilities for other countries. This service will connect Apple Store and Apple Support customers to on-demand sign language interpreters for one-on-one shopping and support sessions, and they won’t have to schedule ahead of time. The steps are three-fold:

  • Connect with an interpreter through Apple shopping or support sessions.
  • Allow browser access to your camera and microphone.
  • Next, an interpreter will call Apple Support to connect your session.

More Advanced VoiceOver Options Coming

VoiceOver is not to be left out. Apple promises new features for VoiceOver for assisting the blind and low-vision user. Based on recent updates that brought Image Descriptions to VoiceOver, users can now explore even more details about the people, text, table data, and other objects within images. What is more exciting is that users can navigate a photo of a receipt like a table: by row and column, complete with table headers. Also, VoiceOver has the ability to describe a person’s position along with other objects within images. People can now relive memories in detail. Oh wait; with Markup, users can add their own image descriptions to their prized family photos.

More Accessibility Features

Additional Apple accessibility features coming later this year include:

  • Sound Actions for Switch Control replaces physical buttons and switches with mouth sounds — such as a click, pop, or “ee” sound — for users who are non-speaking and have limited mobility.
  • Display and Text Size settings can be customized in each app for users with colorblindness or other vision challenges to make the screen easier to see. Users will be able to customize these settings on an app-by-app basis for all supported apps.
  • New Memoji customizations better represent users with oxygen tubes, cochlear implants, and a soft helmet for headwear.

Is This the End to Apple Accessibility Features

I believe the answer to that is a definite no. Apple is always looking for ways to improve their customers’ user experiences. As a matter of fact, I may have inadvertently left out some of the features. Never fear, however; Megabite will let you know of new Apple features as we become aware of them.

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This post was written by Megabite

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