Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Apple’s Global Accessibility Head on the New Features in iOS 13 and MacOS 10.15

Steven Aquino, TechCrunch:

[Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives at Apple] demoed Voice Control to me, and it works as advertised despite our setting containing a lot of ambient noise. The gist of it is simple enough: You give your MacBook or iMac commands, such as “Open Mail” or “Tell Mary ‘Happy Birthday’ ” in Messages. Beyond the basic syntax, however, there are elements of Voice Control that make dictating to your Mac (or iOS device) easier. For example, Herrlinger explained how you can say “show numbers” in Safari’s Favorites view and little numbers, corresponding to the number of favorites you have, show up beside a website’s favicon. Say TechCrunch is No. 2 in your list of favorites. If the glyph is hard to make out visually, saying “open 2” will prompt Voice Control to launch TechCrunch’s page. Likewise, you can say “show grid” and a grid will appear so you perform actions such as clicking, tapping or pinching-and-zooming.

I was blown away by the demo of Voice Control during the Platforms State of the Union presentation and, having had the opportunity to try it myself, it works pretty much as advertised. It’s shockingly good, almost to the extent that I was considering keeping it on so I could use my iPad while I’m cooking, for example, but I worry about its impact on battery life. Happily, you can switch it on temporarily with a simple “Hey, Siri” request. This is one of the most impressive tech things I’ve seen anywhere, and it’s worth trying out even if you don’t need it for using your device.