Apple will soon be adding some new accessibility features for macOS Mojave, iOS 12, tvOS and watchOS 5, which will be available this fall.
At WWDC 2018, Apple introduced a range of improvements that should make its solutions accessible to users of Apple devices.
VoiceOver Gets 4 New voices on iOS 12:
Apple has added 4 new English voices in iOS 12 that include a male and female Irish accent and a male and female South African accent.
LiveListen on AirPods:
Apple has made AirPods compatible with LiveListen in iOS 12. The technology was originally developed for Made for iPhone hearing aids. It uses the iPhone’s microphone to monitor what is being said and streams the audio direct to the AirPods.
In the past, Speak Selection used a different system of voices to speak what was on screen. iOS 12 speaks selected text in the much-improved Siri voice by default.
Hands-free productivity with Siri Shortcuts:
One feature include Siri Shortcuts, which will deliver hands-free benefits to people who have autism or mobility challenges. The software enables creation of orally controlled ways to get things done.
Apple introduces Group FaceTime chat for up to 32-users making it possible for simultaneous sign-language translation between chat participants using an iPhone, iPad orMac.
Walkie talkie on the Apple Watch:
Apple Watch users will be able to contact family and/or key care providers using the Watch — no need to find an alarm button or find your iPhone.
iWork gains Optical Character Recognition support for handwritten notes created in Apple’s productivity suite. This means handwritten notes can be read aloud, so blind and low-vision users can hear text mark-up in documents, making it useful for those who write or collaborate on written projects.
Apple has also made improvements to the accessibility keyboard when typing using Switch Control. These improvements make typing much faster and easier than before, boosting productivity.
Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro:
Apple has made a useful improvement for the MacBook Pro with TouchBar. VoiceOver users with those Macs can now build custom Automator shortcuts that can be accessed in the Touch Bar. A second enhancement available to all Macs, Dark Mode in macOS Mojave will help low vision users see better when using their Mac.
Backwards compatibility and performance:
Apple’s decision to ensure iOS 12 will deliver performance improvements on devices as old as the iPhone 5s will benefit people who have disabilities, many of whom use older devices.
Dolby Atmos audio on Apple TV
Apple has added support for Dolby Atmos audio as well as improving some if its accessibility features creating a virtually immersive experience with the right speakers for blind and low vision users who enjoy a night at the movies in the comfort of their home.
Coinciding with the rollout of the tvOS 12 software update, Apple will extend its iTunes collection of Dolby Atmos supported movies. Apple is leading the way in the streaming player arena, as the tvOS 12 update will make the Apple TV 4K the only device to be both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified.
It will become easier to sign in as you won’t have to go through the authentication process, instead it will automatically detect your broadband network and sign you in.