Apple previews new accessibility tools, including Live Speech and Assistive Access

    Apple is previewing a number of new accessibility tools and features ahead of its Worldwide Developers Conference which is scheduled for June.

    The company wouldn’t say when, exactly, the new tools will become available beyond saying it’ll happen later this year. Given that Apple typically launches new versions of its operating systems at WWDC, it’s reasonable to assume that at least some of these new features will ship with the upcoming iOS 17 and iPadOS 17.

    “Today, we’re excited to share incredible new features that build on our long history of making technology accessible, so that everyone has the opportunity to create, communicate, and do what they love,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement.


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    The new tools include Assistive Access, which takes some of Apple’s essential apps and experiences simplifies them so they’re easier to use by people with cognitive disabilities. For example, Phone and FaceTime were combined into a single Calls app, and there are also customized experiences for Messages, Camera, Photos, and Music.

    Apple’s Assistive Access distills some of Apple’s apps and experiences to their essential features.
    Credit: Apple

    Live Speech is another new feature which works on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, allowing user to type what they want to say and have it spoken out load during phone calls and FaceTime calls, as well as in-person conversations.

    Personal Voice allows people who are at risk of losing their ability to speak to create a voice that sounds like them.

    Apple Live Speech

    Apple’s Live Speech feature is designed to help people who have trouble speaking.
    Credit: Apple

    Detection Mode is a new Magnifier feature which allows users who are blind or have low vision to point at a physical object that has several text labels and have each label read aloud to them as they move their finger across the different labels.

    Voice Control adds phonetic suggestions for text editing, allowing users who type with their voice to more easily choose the right word out of several similar-sounding words.

    Apple also announced several other features, including the ability to automatically pause images with moving elements and improvements to Siri’s voice including the option to customize the rate at which Siri speaks. For a complete list of what’s new, check out Apple’s announcement(opens in a new tab).

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