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4 new accessibility features are coming to iOS and iPadOS

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Apple has introduced a range of accessibility features for iOS and iPadOS, including live speech, assistive access, personal voice and point and speak.

Assistive Access is aimed at enhancing the experience of individuals with cognitive disabilities and the point-and-speak feature improves the experience for people with visual impairment. The personal voice feature helps people replicate their voice and live speech helps input text that’s then read aloud.

Apple has also improved voice control, added gaming features, expanded SignTime to four more countries and introduced a font size picker in Mac apps.

Assistive Access feature

Assistive Access is among the notable new additions, aimed specifically at individuals with cognitive disabilities. With input from people with cognitive disabilities and their trusted supporters, Apple has streamlined the iOS and iPadOS interface, enabling easier communication with loved ones, photo-sharing, and music playback.

Source: Apple

A single Calls app now merges the phone and FaceTime apps, while configurable high-contrast buttons and large text labels have been incorporated to cater to users with accessibility needs.

Live Speech feature

Apple is enhancing communication for individuals who are non-verbal through its Live Speech feature. This feature enables users to type their desired messages, which are then read aloud during phone calls, FaceTime conversations, and in-person interactions.

Source: Apple

The Live Speech feature also allows users to save frequently used words and phrases for smoother communication with friends and family.

Personal Voice feature

The Personal Voice feature is intended for individuals with conditions like ALS, who are at risk of losing their ability to speak. This feature employs machine learning to generate a distinct personal voice for each user. To create a personal voice, users must read specific words and phrases into their iPhone or iPad microphone for roughly fifteen minutes.

Source: Apple

It integrates with Live Speech, enabling users to communicate with their loved ones using their own unique voice. Personal Voice currently supports only English and is exclusive to devices powered by Apple silicon.

Point and Speak feature

Point and Speak uses the iPhone’s camera and LiDAR scanner which allows individuals with visual impairments to interact with objects containing multiple text labels. for instance, this feature can assist users with vision disabilities in effectively operating household appliances like microwave ovens by audibly reading aloud the text on each button as they move their finger over the keypad.

Source: Apple

Initially, Point and Speak will support English, French, Italian, German, Spanish Portuguese, Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese and Ukrainian languages upon its release.

Upgrades in Voice Control and other features

Voice Control introduces a noteworthy enhancement called “phonetic suggestions for text editing.” This feature is designed to assist users who rely on voice typing by providing options for selecting the correct word from a list of similar-sounding alternatives, such as ‘do,’ ‘due,’ and ‘dew.’

Additionally, users can now transform any switch into a virtual game controller with the help of Switch Control. Furthermore, adjusting text size in Mac applications like Finder, Messages, Mail, Calendar, and Notes has become more convenient. As part of Apple’s increased focus on accessibility, the availability of SignTime is expanding to include Germany, Italy, Spain, and South Korea.

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Akash Singh

Akash is a law graduate who likes to go for bike rides on the weekends soul-searching for answers to his many existential questions. You can contact him here: singhakash95@pm.me

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