Apple introduces SignTime, more accessibility features for people with disabilities

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Apple is introducing a slew of software features – some touchless – all designed to make using iPhones, Apple Watches and iPads devices easier for people with disabilities. 

Learn more about Apple Watch’s AssistiveTouch feature

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SignTime, which will be available for deaf or hard of hearing customers Thursday, lets customers communicate with AppleCare and other retail customer services by using American Sign Language (ASL) in the USA, British Sign Language (BSL) in the United Kingdom and French Sign Language (LSF) in France through their web browsers.



graphical user interface, application: Apple's new SignTime feature allows hearing-impaired users to better reach AppleCare and other retail customer services by using sign language.


© Apple
Apple’s new SignTime feature allows hearing-impaired users to better reach AppleCare and other retail customer services by using sign language.

Customers visiting Apple Stores in those countries can use SignTime to remotely access a sign language interpreter without booking one ahead of time. The feature will roll out to other countries soon, Apple said.

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Thursday, Today at Apple will offer live virtual sessions in ASL, BSL and VoiceOver.

Also coming this year for Apple Watch users is AssistiveTouch, which will allow those with “upper body limb differences” to use WatchOS without having to touch the display or controls by using certain hand gestures, including clenching or pinching. AssistiveTouch will help users easily answer incoming calls, control an onscreen motion pointer and access the notification and control centers, Apple said.

AssistiveTouch works by using built-in motion sensors like the gyroscope and accelerometer, along with the optical heart rate sensor and on-device machine learning, Apple said, adding…

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