Apple has long emphasized accessibility features, and the company just announced a slew of upcoming accessibility features across many of its platforms:
- SignTime: With this new service, you’ll be able to communicate with Apple support through American Sign Language, British Sign Language, or French Sign Language from a Web browser. If you visit a physical Apple Store, translators will be available through SignTime, with no prior notice required.
- AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch: You’ll be able to use the movements of your arm and wrist to control the Apple Watch without using the screen or crown.
- Eye-Tracking for iPad: The iPad will be able to work with Made for iPhone (MFi) third-party eye trackers.
- Explore images with VoiceOver: Apple’s VoiceOver technology for reading interface elements can now describe images, adding details about people, text, table data, and other objects.
- Bi-directional hearing aids: The MFi hearing device program is adding support for bi-directional hearing aids, which help with hands-free conversations. New devices with this technology will be available in 2022.
- Audiogram support in Headphone Accommodations: You’ll be able to import the results of a hearing test to fine-tune the Headphone Accommodations setting.
- Background sounds: If you find everyday sounds reducing your focus, you’ll be able to turn on a collection of background sounds that play while you use your iPhone or iPad.
Those are just the high points. Apple announced many more features, such as Memojis with oxygen tubes and cochlear implants, sign language in Apple Fitness+ workouts, and more. It’s great to see the company working to improve the accessibility of its devices and making these efforts more public than in the past.