Apple recently unveiled several new accessibility software features that will be coming to a range of devices later this year, all aimed at helping users with disabilities.
One of the key accessibility additions to look forward to is Live Captions, which will initially launch in a beta format for users in the US and Canada. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and Mac, Live Captions will automatically transcribe conversations over the phone, on FaceTime, through social media apps, and in person. The font size can also be adjusted for comfortable reading, while Mac users can type responses to be read aloud during conversations. While Live Captions will initially only be rolled out in the US and Canada, we hope other countries get the feature soon after so that the deaf and hard of hearing around the world can take advantage of it.
Apple also discussed a feature that allows people with blindness or low vision to navigate doorways in unfamiliar locations. Called Door Detection, this feature helps users locate doors, how far away they are, and what type of door it is, including whether it is push or pull, has a doorknob or handle, and so on.
Another useful aspect of Door Detection is the ability to read written details on doors, such as numbers and whether an accessibility entrance is listed. When live, Door Detection will sit in the Magnifier app alongside similar accessibility features People Detection and Image Descriptions. This feature relies on LiDAR scanners, so it only works on devices with LiDAR technology, including the Pro iPhone 12 and 13 models and the recent iPad Pro tablets.
Apple Watch users will greatly benefit from the upcoming accessibility additions thanks to Apple Watch Mirroring on Series 6 devices and above. This feature is aimed at helping people with physical and motor disabilities and allows users to control Apple Watch with an iPhone, using the larger screen or with voice commands.
Several additional accessibility features are also on the way, including more languages for VoiceOver, Apple’s screen reader tool, adjusting how long Siri waits before responding to requests, and Buddy Controller to combine two controllers into one input for gaming sessions. Check out the full details via the official announcement.
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