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Apple confirms huge changes are coming to iPhone and iPads to make them more accessible

Apple confirms huge changes are coming to iPhone and iPads to make them more accessible

Apple is boosting accessibility for its disabled users.

New features are being brought to help disabled users in a huge new Apple update.

The tech giant announced the update in recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 16th.

'Each year, we break new ground when it comes to accessibility,' said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives.

One of the prominent new features is Eye Tracking. Using AI and the front-facing camera, users can control their iPad or iPhone with just their eyes.

This may be helpful for those with physical disabilities, allowing them to navigate apps and access functions without needing any additional hardware.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty

Another new addition, called Music Haptics, will be a new way for those deaf or hard of hearing to experience music on their device.

By activating the iPhone or iPad's Taptic Engine, music can be turned into taps and vibrations which are in sync with the playing audio

Music Haptics is set to work across millions of songs in the Apple Music catalogue.

Additionally, Apple is advancing its virtual assistant Siri to be more accommodating for those with speech impairments.

Users will be able to create custom voice commands and shortcuts to navigate their devices much more easily, building on similar accessibility features that were introduced in iOS 17.

'Artificial intelligence has the potential to improve speech recognition for millions of people with atypical speech, so we are thrilled that Apple is bringing these new accessibility features to consumers,” said Mark Hasegawa-Johnson, the Speech Accessibility Project at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s principal investigator.

Interestingly, Apple is also aiding those who suffer from motion sickness.

The all-new Vehicle Motion Cues uses the device's sensors to detect when a user is in a moving vehicle and respond accordingly.

NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty
NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty

Explaining how it works, Apple stated: 'With Vehicle Motion Cues, animated dots on the edges of the screen represent changes in vehicle motion to help reduce sensory conflict without interfering with the main content.'

CarPlay is also getting an upgrade with new features like Voice Control, Color Filters, and Sound Recognition.

The system will make it easier for those behind the wheel to control certain apps. For example, Sound Recognition will enable drivers or passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing to turn on alerts to be notified of car horns and sirens. Whereas, Color Filters make the CarPlay interface visually easier to use, with the addition of Bold Text and Large Text.

'We believe deeply in the transformative power of innovation to enrich lives,' said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

'[...]We’re continuously pushing the boundaries of technology, and these new features reflect our long-standing commitment to delivering the best possible experience to all of our users.'

Featured Image Credit: NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty