Apple Unveils New Accessibility Features

Several Apple products will become more inclusive

Apple has revealed several new accessibility features coming to iOS this year, including a sign language service called SignTime.

Apple announced the updates on Wednesday, revealing plans to bring eye-tracking support to iPads, image support for VoiceOver, and made-for-iPhone hearing aids and audiogram support. The company also plans to incorporate background sounds into iOS to help minimize distractions for many users. 

A brief look at new accessibility features unveiled by Apple

Apple

"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," Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of global accessibility policy and initiatives, said in a press release.

"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."

One of the biggest additions coming is SignTime, a service designed to let users connect seamlessly with sign-language interpreters. SignTime will launch on Thursday, allowing both consumers and Apple Support specialists to connect with interpreters as needed.

Additionally, sound actions for Switch Control, new display and text-size settings, and more inclusive Memoji customizations are on the list of updates planned to come in the future. 

"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."

Apple Watch is also slated to receive AssistiveTouch, which is designed to allow users with upper body limb differences to enjoy all of the benefits that come with owning an Apple Watch without ever having to touch the display. Built-in motion sensors will allow users to navigate their Apple Watch using a cursor that appears on the screen.

Finally, Apple has a number of accessibility features planned for Apple Fitness+, which it says should make it easier for users with disabilities to navigate the service and take advantage of the fitness courses that it has to offer.

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