June 11, 2012
Apple has been working on making the upcoming iOS 6 more accessible to those with hearing, vision, learning, and mobility disorders. At WWDC Apple introduced Guided Access, which helps those with learning disabilities remain focused on tasks by restricting touch input on selected screen areas. A parent or instructor can also disable the home button, preventing the user from leaving an app. For people with autism or learning disorders this feature will be very welcome, making the iPad a perfect tool for focused learning. VoiceOver, which aids users with low-vision or blindness, will be improved as well. It will now integrate with AssistiveTouch, Zoom and most impressively, Maps. When coupled with the upcoming turn-by-turn navigation, this new accessibility may remove the need for many current apps that specialize in navigation for people with vision loss. Also those with the new iPad will have the improved Siri digital assistant, who will be partnering with apps that will keep users up to date on sports, movies, and more. For those with hearing loss, Apple announced on their Web site that they are "working with top manufacturers to introduce hearing aids that will deliver a power-efficient, high-quality digital audio experience." These hearing aids are being designed for use exclusively with the iPhone 4S. However, we hope to see them also work on the iPad by release date as it would be great for the elderly who often suffer from vision loss. Overall, Apple has a great record of creating ways that allow everyone to use their iDevices. In iOS 6 they have raised the bar even further. We cannot wait to test out the newest features first hand and report to you. Do you think Apple could do more or have any other suggestions to help those with disabilities?