Apple announces new accessibility features for iOS, iPadOS and macOS

Apple today officially announced a set of new accessibility features. They are expected to be introduced later this year on iOS, iPadOS and macOS.

The first novelty announced by Apple is Assistive Access – a new special mode of operation of iOS and iPadOS devices to facilitate their use by people with cognitive impairments. It will include a highly simplified version of the home screen and basic system functions and applications, thus facilitating activities such as making calls, sending messages, taking and viewing photos or playing music. This mode can be adapted to some extent to the individual needs of each user.

Another feature, Personal Voice, is to enable users with speech difficulties to create a virtual copy of their own voice, which can then be used to read the words typed (also during phone calls and via FaceTime). To make a copy, you will need a sample of approximately 15 minutes of the person’s voice recordings. The operation of this function will be based on the use of machine learning, but to protect the privacy of users, everything will take place directly on the device. According to Apple’s announcement, this function is to help, for example, people who have been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Apple has also announced new improvements to the magnifier function, allowing you to read aloud the text at which the iPhone lens is pointed. The feature, called Point and Speak, will use camera and LiDAR data as well as machine learning. In addition, a number of minor changes are to be made to iOS, iPadOS and macOS, such as improved cooperation with hearing aids, easier text resizing in macOS applications and improved speech recognition. Some of them will be introduced this Thursday on the occasion of World Accessibility Awareness Day. The others are to be introduced before the end of this year, which probably means that they will appear with the release of iOS 17.

Source: Apple

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