Apple Debuts AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch, Eye-Tracking on iPad, SignTime, More

BY Sanuj Bhatia

Published 19 May 2021

new apple features assistivetouch apple watch eye tracking ipad

Apple, today, introduced new accessibility features for its users. The new features make it easy for people with mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities to interact with Apple products and services.

Apple says that “accessibility is a human right” and each and everyone should be able to interact with its services no matter their condition. Apple will issue new software updates later this year, across its operating systems, that will bring some amazing capabilities to its devices like Apple Watch and iPad. These are the features Apple introduced today:

  • SignTime: SignTime will enable users to communicate with AppleCare and Retail Customer Care by using sign language. SignTime will be available in American Sign Language (ASL) in the US, British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK, or French Sign Language (LSF) in France.
  • AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch: For the user with limited mobility, Apple will introduce AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch later this year. This enables Apple Watch owners to use the in-built gyroscope and accelerometer sensors to enjoy the benefits of the Apple Watch without ever having to touch the display or controls.
  • Eye-Tracking for iPad: A new iPadOS update later this year will let people control their iPad using just their eyes, using special eye-tracking devices. Compatible MFi eye-tracking devices will let the iPad track where a person is looking onscreen and the pointer will move to follow the person’s gaze, while extended eye contact performs an action, like a tap.
  • Background Sounds: With all of us stuck in our homes, it can become a little distracting to work under noise. To help users stay focused, Apple is adding ocean, rain, and stream sounds to iPhone to help users stay focused. All of the sounds can be set to play in the background to mask unwanted environmental or external noise. Apple says the sounds mix into or duck under other audio and system sounds.
  • New Memojis: Apple is adding more memojis to its operating system to represent all users of society. New memojis represent users with oxygen tubes, cochlear implants, and a soft helmet for headwear.
  • Exploring Images with VoiceOver: Apple is adding a new feature to VoiceOver that lets users with low vision get an idea of what’s being displayed in the image. VoiceOver can also describe a person’s position along with other objects within images — so people can relive memories in detail, and with Markup, users can add their own image descriptions to personalize family photos.
  • Customized Display Settings for Individual Apps: With the upcoming updates, Apple will let users set different display settings for individual apps.
[Via Apple]