What can people do alone? What can computers do? And what can people and computers when they work together? Apple’s latest accessibility features give us a sense of new ways in which technology and people can complement each other.
Congratulations on World Accessibility Day
This week Apple celebrates World Accessibility Day with news of these future improvements, as well as a series of special sessions, hand-picked collections and more.
The company will also introduce in Canada SignTime on May 19, a service that connects Apple Store customers and Apple support with sign language interpreters on demand. SignTime was introduced in a timely manner for 2021 Global Accessibility Awareness Day and is already available in the US, UK and France.
But, in my opinion, the most interesting thing is that Apple plans to expand its existing accessibility features through machine learning to provide sophisticated solutions to help people with disabilities move, communicate, take care of their health and more.
This seems to be a useful illustration of how computers can magnify a person.
“Apple incorporates accessibility into every aspect of our work, and we strive to create better products and services for all,” said Sarah Herlinger, Apple’s senior director of accessibility policies and initiatives. statement. She noted that these new features reflect the contribution of teams from across the company.
They also reflect a long-standing commitments on the part of the company, which from day one has built accessibility solutions into its products. Apple CEO Tim Cook remains committed to this; in 2018 he described it this way:
“… Apple’s core value. We don’t make products for a specific group of people; we make products for everyone. We firmly believe that everyone deserves equal opportunities and equal access. “
Improved Apple capabilities continue to close the gapempowering people with disabilities tools that every business must also use to create a sustainable, hybrid workforce strengthened with a common understanding always win if your teams consist of different views and backgrounds.
So what will happen?
Apple has announced four key features that it says will be introduced “later this year”:
A tool that helps people who are blind or visually impaired to walk the last few feet to their destination. This will help find doors, inform users how far they are from those doors, whether they are open or closed and how they open. The system uses LiDAR on auxiliary devices and can also read signs and symbols such as door numbers.
Door detection will be available in the new magnifier detection mode. In detection mode, visually impaired users can use a set of customizable tools to help them navigate and access rich neighborhood descriptions. Apple Maps will offer sound and tactile feedback designed to help VoiceOver users determine a starting point for walking routes.
This allows users with physical and motor disabilities to control the Apple Watch via voice control or control switches on their iPhone – this applies to external Made for iPhone switches, head tracking and voice commands. The idea is that users with such disabilities can still enjoy health-promoting products provided by watches, including Blood Oxygen.
Apple has also improved the quick action on the Apple Watch: now a double-pinch gesture can answer or end a phone call, reject a notification, take a photo, play or pause media files in the Now Playing app, and start, pause or resume developing. It builds on existing Apple AssistiveTouch technology, which allows people with upper body differences to control gestures on the Apple Watch.
Live subtitles will be available on iPhone, iPad and Mac. A versatile feature, it basically turns your Apple product into a subtitle machine for your life and is designed to benefit the deaf and hard of hearing.
When used, your device can listen to any form of audio and deliver decoding in real time. It will work with any audio content – WebEx call, social networks, phone conversation or even a personal conversation.
When used with FaceTime, live subtitles can also attribute dialogue to specific speakers, while Mac users can enter answers to what is said, and their Mac speaks those answers to others in conversation. Font sizes are adjustable, and information remains only on the device.
New voices and tools for VoiceOver
This is a great incentive for proofreaders, VoiceOver on Mac gets a new text validation tool to detect common formatting issues such as duplicate spaces or incorrect uppercase letters.
Apple will add to VoiceOver support for 20 more languages, including Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian and Vietnamese, as well as locales. Users can choose from dozens of new voices optimized for ancillary features in a variety of languages. New languages, language standards and voices will also be available for speech selection and screen access functions.
There are other improvements:
- Siri Pause Time allows users with speech impairments to adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request.
- Buddy Controller combines any two game controllers into one, so multiple controllers can control the input for a single player.
- Sound recognition can be configured to recognize sounds specific to the human environment, such as alarm sounds, doorbells, or appliances.
- Apple Books will offer new themes and introduce settings such as bold text and line spacing, characters and words.
Celebrating availability through Apple channels
This week, Apple celebrates Global Availability Awareness Day with special sessions, hand-picked collections and more. Its retail stores will be conducting live sessions to explain existing accessibility features, and it is introducing the Accessibility Assistant shortcut in the Shortcuts app on Mac and Apple Watch to help recommend accessibility features based on user preferences.
Apple’s online services and portals also focus on accessibility, including movies and shows, fitness workouts and apps, books, music, podcasts, and other content.
Apple Maps will also introduce new tools to help users find affordable features and services in parks, as well as guides from the University of Gilead. Cook recently made an ingenious speech in Gallaudet. (It’s about 1:57 at video here).
These many improvements make valuable changes in people’s lives.
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