Apple has annnounced a number of new features for its products intended to make life easier, especially for those with disabilities or non-standard speech patterns. Two of them are specific to virtual assistant Siri: Pause Time and Voice Spelling
The Pause Time feature isn’t a Tardis module! Instead it’s a new option that allows the user to specify how long Siri will wait before responding to a request. This will be useful for people have speech issues such as stuttering or who simply talk more slowly than Siri can currently handle. The options displayed by Apple on the preview are: Default, Longer and Longest.
Voice Spelling allows Siri to recognise words that the user spells out letter by letter. This should help if there’s a word that Siri never understands when you say it. It will also allow the entry of ‘custom spellings’ – which I assume refers to names etc. Voice controlled spelling mode will initially be restricted to US English.
As well as Pause Time and Voice Spelling, Apple announced a number of other non-Siri accessibility features including Door Recognition, Live Captioning and an extension of the VoiceOver screen reader to include an additional 20 languages and locales.
Apple says “These features will be available later this year with software updates across Apple platforms.”