New iOS Accessibility Features

Apple is pre-announcing features again as we head toward WWDC. This time it is several new accessibility features:

Assistive Access

This feature addresses users with cognitive disabilities, combining and simplifying the communication features into a single app and adding other features, like an emoji-only keyboard.

Personal Voice and Live Speech

This feature is for people suffering from disabilities that impact their ability to speak. (They specifically call out ALS.) With Personal Voice you can train your iPhone to generate a voice that sounds like yours. There are a bunch of security implications for this, but Apple has the bases covered.

Magnifier App

This is getting several improvements, making it easier to interact with text labels and allowing the phone to announce text on each button.

Voice Control

There are better guides to help you set it up, and now the inclusion of phonetic suggestions for similar-sounding words.

Over the years, I’ve heard from many readers/listeners with disabilities praising their Apple devices. I think this is one of those things Apple always prioritizes. A few years ago, a shareholder suggested Apple could get a better return on investment by backing off accessibility features. His response: “When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI.”

As we head into WWDC and it increasingly looks like Apple will announce the new headset, expect them to be clearing the decks with more announcements like this.