Apple has announced that it is bringing many new software features to help people with disabilities interact with their devices easily. The company says that the new features are designed specifically for people with mobility, hearing, vision, and cognitive disabilities. It adds that these new features “showcase” the belief of the company to make its products accessible to everyone.
When the next major versions of Apple’s operating systems are released or sometime 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 total blindness can use third-party eye tracking hardware to control the device. The age-old VoiceOver from Apple will also be updated in the near future to be more smarter locally using on-device intelligence.
“At Apple, we’ve long felt that the world’s best technology should respond to everyone’s needs, and our teams work relentlessly to build accessibility into everything we make,” said Apple’s senior director of 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 function of Apple technology to even more people — and we can’t wait to share them with our users.”
Improved customer care service with SignTime
To improve the customer care experience, Apple is launching SignTime – a new service dedicated to improve communication between customers with disabilities and Apple Store employees. Using the service, customers will be able to communicate using American Sign Language (ASL) in the United States, British Sign Language (BSL) in the United Kingdom, and French Sign Language (FSL) in France.
On the hardware side, Apple is making a significant update to its Made for iPhone (MFi) program. In a new, the company will now support the use of new bi-directional hearing aids made to work with the iPhone.