Apple introduces new accessibility tools for the disabled on iPhone, Watch

Apple is also expanding support for its industry-leading screen reader 'VoiceOver' with over 20 new languages and locales.

Cupertino (California): In a bid to further provide users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health, communication, and more, Apple on Tuesday previewed innovative software features that combine the power of hardware, software and machine learning (ML) on its array of products.

People who are blind or low vision can now use their iPhone and iPad to navigate the last few feet to their destination with ‘Door Detection’ tool.

The users with physical and motor disabilities who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control can fully control Apple Watch from their iPhone with Apple Watch Mirroring and the deaf and hard of hearing community can follow Live Captions on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, the company said in a statement.

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Apple is also expanding support for its industry-leading screen reader ‘VoiceOver’ with over 20 new languages and locales.

These features will be available later this year with software updates across Apple platforms.

“We’re excited to introduce these new features, which combine innovation and creativity from teams across Apple to give users more options to use our products in ways that best suit their needs and lives,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Accessibility Policy and Initiatives.

The ‘Door Detection’ tool can help users locate a door upon arriving at a new destination, understand how far they are from it, and describe door attributes – including if it is open or closed, and when it’s closed, whether it can be opened by pushing, turning a knob, or pulling a handle.

Door Detection can also read signs and symbols around the door, like the room number at an office, or the presence of an accessible entrance symbol.

This new feature combines the power of LiDAR, camera, and on-device machine learning, and will be available on iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanne, informed Apple.

“With Apple Watch Mirroring, users can control the watch using iPhone’s assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control, and use inputs including voice commands, sound actions, head tracking, or external Made for iPhone switches as alternatives to tapping the Apple Watch display,” said the company.

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