Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Previews New Accessibility Features Coming Later This Year to iOS, iPadOS, and WatchOS

Apple newsroom:

To support users with limited mobility, Apple is introducing a revolutionary new accessibility feature for Apple Watch. AssistiveTouch for watchOS allows users with upper body limb differences to enjoy the benefits of Apple Watch without ever having to touch the display or controls. Using built-in motion sensors like the gyroscope and accelerometer, along with the optical heart rate sensor and on-device machine learning, Apple Watch can detect subtle differences in muscle movement and tendon activity, which lets users navigate a cursor on the display through a series of hand gestures, like a pinch or a clench. AssistiveTouch on Apple Watch enables customers who have limb differences to more easily answer incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer, and access Notification Center, Control Center, and more.

There is a minute-long video demo in this press release that I urge you to see. I have watched it ten times and it never looks like anything less than magic. If it works even half as well in person, it is going to be astonishing for all kinds of use cases. If you the timer on your Apple Watch goes off while you’re cooking, for example, you can stop or adjust it without touching the screen. If you get a call while you are on your bike, just double clench your fist to answer it. Incredible.

By the way, if this is what Apple is showing before WWDC in press releases, imagine what the keynote is going to be like.