Apple has announced that it will be releasing many new software features to help people with disabilities easily interact with their devices. The company says the new features are specifically designed for people with mobility, hearing, visual and cognitive disabilities. It adds that these new features “demonstrate” the company’s belief in making its products available to everyone.
When the next major versions of Apple’s operating systems are released, or at some point in the near future, people with limb differences will be able to use AssistiveTouch to interact with their Apple Watch. On the iPad, people with low vision and complete blindness can use third-party eye-tracking hardware to control the device. The ancient one Voice over Apple will also update in the near future to be smarter locally using on-device intelligence.
“At Apple, we’ve long believed that the best technology in the world should meet everyone’s needs, and our teams work tirelessly to bring accessibility into everything we do,” said Apple’s senior director, Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives Sarah Herrlinger. “With these new features, we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation with next-generation technologies that bring the fun and capabilities of Apple technology to even more people – and we can’t wait to share them with our users.”
Improved customer service with SignTime
To improve customer service, Apple starts Sign time – A new service to improve communication between customers with disabilities and Apple Store employees. The service allows customers in the United States to communicate in American Sign Language (ASL), in the United Kingdom in British Sign Language (BSL), and in France in French Sign Language (FSL).
On the hardware side, Apple is taking a major update of its Made for the iPhone (MFi) program. In a new version, the company will now support the use of new bidirectional hearing aids developed for the iPhone.