Apple has a longstanding commitment to making technology accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. The latest announcement introduces several new accessibility features that leverage Apple's advanced hardware and software, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to enhance user experiences across iOS and iPadOS devices.

Key Update

Apple's new accessibility features set to debut later this year include Eye Tracking, which allows users with physical disabilities to control their iPads and iPhones using only their eyes. This feature utilizes the front-facing camera and on-device machine learning to ensure data privacy. Music Haptics, another innovative addition, uses the Taptic Engine in iPhones to let deaf or hard-of-hearing users experience music through vibrations. Vocal Shortcuts enable users to create custom sound commands for Siri, while the "Listen for Atypical Speech" feature improves speech recognition for users with speech impairments. Apple also introduced Vehicle Motion Cues to help reduce motion sickness by displaying animated dots that mimic vehicle motion on the screen. These features are expected to roll out with iOS and iPadOS 18 later this year.

Technical Terms

Eye Tracking

Technology that allows a device to detect and follow the movement of a user's eyes to control the device.

Taptic Engine

A component in Apple devices that provides tactile feedback to users.

API (Application Programming Interface)

A set of tools and protocols that allow different software applications to communicate with each other.

Relevance to New Tech Career Seekers

Understanding these advancements in accessibility can be crucial for new tech career seekers, as it highlights the growing importance of inclusive design in technology. Familiarity with AI and machine learning applications in accessibility features can also enhance their skill set and employability in tech roles focused on user experience and product development.

Relevance to Small Business Owners

For small business owners, especially those developing apps or digital services, integrating accessibility features can broaden their customer base and demonstrate social responsibility. Knowing about these updates can help them ensure their products are inclusive, catering to a wider audience, including individuals with disabilities, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.