Apple today introduced new software features for those with disabilities. Assistive Access, Live Speech, Personal Voice and Point and Speak are some of the features that were showcased ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 18.
Assistive Access, a customisable interface for iPhone and iPad users with cognitive disabilities, as well as Live Speech and Personal Voice for those who are unable to talk or are in danger of losing their speech over time, are among the new software features that will be available later this year. Point and Speak, a potent new tool built into the Magnifier app that makes it easier for users with vision disabilities to read text labels on physical objects.
Assistive Access provides a customised experience for Phone and FaceTime, which have been combined into a single Calls app, as well as Messages, Cameras, Photos, and Music. With features to enable dependable supporters to customise the experience for the person they support, the feature offers a distinctive UI with high-contrast buttons and large text labels.
Messages will include an emoji-only keyboard and the option to record a video message to share with loved ones. According to Apple, those trusted supporters can also select between a row-based layout for those who like text and a more visually appealing grid-based layout for their Home Screen and apps.
Live Speech and Personal Voice Advance Speech Accessibility
With Live Speech, users on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, will be able to type what they want and have it be spoken out loud during phone and FaceTime calls as well as in-person conversations. In addition to this users can also save frequently used phrases so they can swiftly join in quickly during lively conversations with family, friends, and colleagues.
According to the company, Live Speech has been designed to support millions of people globally who are unable to speak or who have lost their speech over time.
On the other hand for users at risk of losing their ability to speak, Personal Voice offers customers a quick and safe option to generate a voice that sounds like them.
It is also designed for users such as those with a recent diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) or other conditions that can progressively impact speaking ability.
Users can create a Personal Voice by reading along with randomly generated text prompts to record 15 minutes of audio on iPhone and iPad. Moreover, Personal Voice uses on-device machine learning to keep users’ information private and secure. It also seamlessly interacts with Live Speech so that users can use their Personal Voice when speaking with friends and family.
Point and Speak
To assist users in navigating their physical surroundings, the Magnifier app for the iPhone and iPad includes a function called Point and Speak that may be used in conjunction with VoiceOver and other Magnifier capabilities like People Detection, Door Detection, and Image Descriptions. This feature will make it simpler for those with visual impairments to engage with tangible things that include several text labels.
For example, while using a household appliance — such as a microwave — Point and Speak combines input from the Camera app, the LiDAR Scanner, and on-device machine learning to announce the text on each button as users move their fingers across the keypad.
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