Apple just released major details about its upcoming iOS 15 OS, slated to come with the iPhone 13 around September.
On Wednesday, Apple gave a sneak peek of an array of iOS 15 features ahead of the WWDC 2021 through a press release, which announced "powerful software features" for people with "mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities." This is in line with their inclusive approach towards its users, having people with disabilities more comfortable in using the iPhone, iPad, or other Apple devices.
These new features should provide a good hint at major UI changes coming in iOS 15, such as the Settings app having inset cells and a navigation bar merged with the background, as 9to5Mac revealed.
Apple iOS 15 Features: AssistiveTouch for Limb Differences
It first announced AssistiveTouch for Apple Watch's OS to make it easier for people with limb differences to navigate the wearable device without having to touch it. BGR.com noted that using the built-in motion sensors, optical heart rate sensor, and machine learning, Apple Watch could spot precise movements, letting wearers use the smart timepiece with hand gestures.
iPad will also support third-party eye-tracking devices, which will make it possible for users to manage their Apple tablets with their eyes. As such, the iOS 15-supported devices will be able to detect where the user is looking, allowing pointer control with a gaze. Other actions are done with longer eye contact on an area in the device's screen.
VoiceOver, Apple further said, will get a refurbished look. In this new update, Apple's reading tool will offer more information about an image on the screen, and this includes people, texts, figures, and other defined items. In addition, VoiceOver could also describe the position of a person or an object in the image.
Apple iOS 15 Features: Extending MFi Program for Bi-Directional Hearing Aids
In addition, the Made for iOS program will extend support for bi-directional hearing aids, Apple announced. Likewise, recognition for audiograms, which are charts that present the results of a hearing test, will be added to Headphone Accommodations under the Accessibility Tools menu.
Utilizing this new feature, users can also customize audio based on the hearing test results imported from a paper or PDF audiogram. Headphone Accommodations would amplify soft sounds and adjust specific frequencies that match the hearing ability.
Apple iOS Features: Calming Background Sounds, Mouth Support for Switch Control Actions
Likewise, Apple is supporting neurodiversity by unveiling new calming background sounds to minimize distractions and help users focus, stay calm or rest. Such sounds as ocean, rain and stream sounds will play in the background to cancel out external noise.
It also offers mouth sound support to enable Switch Control actions for those who are non-speaking and have limited mobility.
Also iOS 15 introduces new Memojis for those with cochlear implants and oxygen tubes, and a soft helmet for headwear.
Users can also customize app text size and display settings depending on specific needs, such as those users with colorblindness and other visual impairments, making the screen easier to see. Customization is done on individual apps.