The assistive access features have been announced and demonstrated, they’re supposed to roll out across Apple devices later this year. Apple claims to have designed the Assistive Access features with feedback from people with disabilities understanding their pain points and solving very specific problems for people with visual or verbal impairs. What are these Accessibility features?
Assistive Access focuses on making it easier for people with disabilities to communicate with loved ones, and share photos and music with ease. The accessibility feature will streamline the interface and make it simpler with clearer textual annotations and larger icons. Users will be able to customize the visuals.
Apple already has some useful accessibility features. For instance, the Magnifier tool allows people with blindness and low vision to find doors and people in front of them. Building up on that Apple is about to introduce the Point and Speak feature. It’s pretty simple; if you point at a piece of text, the application will read it out loud. Point and Speak will be available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Cantonese, Korean, Japanese and Ukrainian.
Imagine a situation where a person with visual impairments wants to heat up their food in a microwave. The Point and Speak feature will help them discern among the different buttons. The system uses the device camera and the LiDAR scanner to facilitate visually challenged users with easier communication with objects and tools with writings on them.
Another interesting feature is Personal Voice. It allows you to create AI generated speech that imitates your own voice. You can activate this by reading out textual prompts for 15 minutes. After that, you can use Personal Voice to turn text to speech and even use it in apps like FaceTime. To prevent misuse of the highly trained machine learning algorithms, Apple devices do not share the Personal Voice data even with the corresponding Apple ID. Personal Voice will be available only in English to begin with.