Apple doubles down on health, accessibility with new software updates

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the leading cause of vision impairment globally.

Cupertino (California): The last three years of the Covid-19 pandemic made millions realise how important it is to remain fit and healthy and Apple has taken another stride towards this by announcing key software updates — not only for the healthy people but also for those who need help.

In iOS 17 which will be made available this fall, Assistive Access is a customisable interface that helps users with cognitive disabilities use iPhone with greater ease and independence.

The ‘Live Speech’ gives non-speaking users the option to type and have their words spoken in person, or on phone and FaceTime calls.

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Personal Voice will give users at risk of speech loss the option to create a voice that sounds like theirs; and Point and Speak, which helps users who are blind or have low vision read text on physical objects by pointing.

The Health app offers new mental health features.

“Users can log their daily moods and momentary emotions; see what might be contributing to their state of mind; and easily access depression and anxiety assessments often used in clinics, plus resources available in their region,” according to the company.

Additionally, increasing the distance the device is viewed from can help children lower their risk of myopia and gives adult users the opportunity to reduce digital eyestrain.

Screen Distance in Screen Time uses the TrueDepth camera to encourage users to move their device farther away after holding it closer than 12 inches from their face for an extended period of time.

With watchOS 10, Apple Fitness+ introduces Custom Plans, a new way to receive a custom workout or meditation schedule based on day, duration, workout type, and more.

The Apple Watch update will also feature Stacks which allows users to select multiple workouts and meditations to do seamlessly back to back and Audio Focus, which gives users the ability to prioritise the volume of the music or the trainers’ voices.

The Medications app can send follow-up reminders if a medication hasn’t been logged 30 minutes after the scheduled time.

With the Mindfulness app in watchOS 10, users can discreetly and conveniently log their momentary emotions and daily moods.

Users can turn the Digital Crown to scroll through engaging, multidimensional shapes to choose how they are feeling, select what is having the biggest impact on them, and describe their feelings.

In the Health app in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, users can see valuable insights to identify what might be contributing to their state of mind — whether it’s associations or lifestyle factors, like sleep or exercise.

“Additionally, depression and anxiety assessments often used in clinics are now easily accessible in the Health app and can help users determine their risk level, connect to resources available in their region, and create a PDF to share with their doctor,” the company announced.

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is the leading cause of vision impairment globally.

To reduce the risk of myopia, the International Myopia Institute recommends children spend at least 80-120 minutes a day outdoors.

With watchOS 10, Apple Watch introduces the ability to measure time spent in daylight using the ambient light sensor. Users can view this information in the Health app on iPhone or iPad.

“Time spent in daylight can provide additional benefits to physical and mental health for all ages. And children who do not have their own iPhone can use Family Setup to pair their Apple Watch to their parent’s iPhone, giving parents visibility into the amount of time their kids are spending in daylight with Health Sharing,” said Apple.

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