Apple shared previews of various accessibility improvements planned for its devices.
In a press release leading up to Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple has shared some previews of accessibility improvements headed to its devices later this year. One that stood out to us is shared controller input for games named Buddy Controller.
Apple’s own Copilot
Much like Copilot on Xbox, Buddy Controller allows a player to share controls with another player by combining the inputs from both into one. As Apple puts it, this allows users to ask a care provider or friend to help them play a game. We appreciate seeing features like these more widely implemented on a platform level. Apple also highlighted a selection of accessible games that are available on the App Store.
Where’s that door?
Apple also announced Door Detection to Detection Mode in Magnifier. As its name suggests, Door Detection can help users locate doors. It can also tell how far away they are and how to operate the door. It can also recognize labels such as those that indicate accessible entrances. The feature uses LiDAR and will only be available on iPhone and iPad models with the LiDAR Scanner, which I believe is currently limited to the Pro models.
Apple Watch Mirroring allows users to control Apple Watch using iPhone’s assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control, and use these input methods as alternatives to tapping the display on the watch. New Quick Actions also allows for more hand gestures to control the Apple Watch without needing to tap the display.
What was that sound?
Following their competitors, Apple is also introducing Live Captions. Live Captions will work for any audio content, whether from media, calls, or in-person conversations. The font size is adjustable for ease of reading. FaceTime attributes captions to call participants, to further improve group call accessibility. On Mac, users can type a response to have it spoken aloud to others in the conversation.
Sound Recognition can be customized to better recognize sounds in a person’s environment, something that was also announced last week for Android’s Sound Notifications.
Additionally, VoiceOver adds new languages and voices. A new Spelling Mode allows users to spell out words by letter for Voice Control. The Apple Books app also adds new themes and customization options such as line, letter, and word spacing.