Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference keynote is a time for company execs to stand on a big stage and shout a bunch of new features and changes to a bunch of clapping geeks. While many of these changes are expected refreshes of Apple operating systems, one announcement is a major milestone for the company in terms of making its products much more accessible.
At WWDC on Monday, Apple announced Voice Control, a new assistive technology feature that lets users control MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS entirely through voice commands. The feature uses Siri speech recognition technology that is baked into the device, according to a press release from Apple. The company also claims that the feature “ensures personal data is kept private.”
Voice Control works “with virtually any app,” according to Apple, and allows users to tap, swipe, and scroll using their voice. The feature affords individuals with motor impairments a way to more fully and autonomously navigate Apple’s phones, computers, and tablets.
It’s a refreshing announcement among more iterative or predictable changes, and one that highlights technology’s capacity to be a great equalizer for millions of people. The feature will reportedly be available in the fall.