Accessibility at WWDC: Dwell Control, Taptic Time, Software TTY, and More

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Apple on Tuesday hosted a WWDC 2016 session called What's New in Accessibility that provided an overview of new assisitive technologies and features added to iOS 10, macOS Sierra, tvOS 10, and watchOS 3.

Physical and Motor Skills

Switch-Control-tvOS
Switch Control can now be used to interact with the tvOS interface using a single physical button, such as a switch on a wheelchair. There is both a cursor interface that highlights elements on the screen and an alternative interface with an on-screen remote. Accessibility users that already use Switch Control with an iOS device or Mac can automatically use the function on tvOS without re-pairing a switch.

Dwell-Control-macOS
Dwell Control is a new feature for macOS Sierra that enables users to control the cursor on Mac using assistive technologies and hardware like a headband with reflective dots or eye movements. When the cursor dwells on a certain location, a timer appears that expires and invokes a mouse click or other customizable actions.

Vision

Vision-iOS-10
Apple has made display and color adjustments and introduced the option to tint the entire display on Mac, Apple TV, and iOS devices, which can significantly increase contrast and reading ability.

Taptic Time is a new VoiceOver feature on watchOS 3 that uses a series of distinct taps from the Taptic Engine to help someone tell time silently and discreetly.

Vision-Magnifier-iOS
Magnifier is a new systemwide iOS 10 feature that enables users to use the camera to magnify objects in their physical environment. Various color filters, such as grayscale and inverted grayscale, are supported to increase contrast.

Hearing

Software-TTY-iOS
iOS 10 allows for Software TTY calls to be placed without any additional hardware. The calls work with legacy TTY technology and make it easy to dial a non-TTY number through your carrier’s relay service. There are also built-in TTY-specific QuickType keyboard predictions.

Learning

Typing-feedback-iOS
iOS 10 has a number of enhancements designed to help people with dyslexia. There are improvements to Speak Selection and Speak Screen to help people better understand text that has already been entered, and there is new audio feedback for typing to help people immediately catch mistakes.

Learn more by watching the What's New in Accessibility video or reading the slideshow.

Top Rated Comments

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54 months ago
You can say what you want, but Apple is still and will always be leader in accessibility. :)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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54 months ago
I think this is amazing. When they demoed the AW and it counting movements for people using wheelchair, that kind of blue me away and I was really happy they did all that work so anyone can use and enjoy their AW.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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54 months ago
Thanks for doing this type of round up. The wife is a Occupational Therapist so anything related to this type of stuff (especially Apple Watch) I send to her right away. She sees huge potential in the very near future for people with physical disabilities to have huge improvements in the quality of their life because of these new technologies. Exciting times!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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54 months ago

Don't worry, the 0.5% of Apple users that are geeks will be along to say this is all pointless and helping impaired people is a waste of time.

Excuse me? What a horrible generalisation!
I am a geek and I support additional accessibility as much as I can! (and not just in computing)

Most of us will have health issues at some point in our lives that will make accessibility features useful - be it advanced smartphone software or perhaps wheelchair-accessible transit and housing.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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54 months ago
This is all good, and I totally expect to be using the magnifier. My eyes are not what they used to be. :cool:
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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54 months ago

If you haven`t chosen a band yet. I first wanted the Milanaise band, the Problem here for me is, it is magnetic all over, so I decided to buy my AW with the Leather Loop band. I don´t know how well you can use your hands. I made a try-on at an Apple Store, before I bought mine.

I've got rubbish hands (cerebral palsy), so I would probably go and try some in store.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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