Apple’s AirPods wireless earphones are set to gain the useful Live Listen accessibility feature alongside the launch of iOS 12.
It wasn’t announced at WWDC, but TechCrunch reports the hearing aid-like feature will arrive with this autumn’s mobile software update.
So, those with hearing difficulties will be able to place their phone near to the other person during a conversation and use the handset as a microphone. The AirPods will then play the received audio directly to the wearer.
This could be a useful feature if iPhone owners in need of assistance are attempting to have conversations in busy environments. TechCrunch reports that the feature will be easily enabled within the iPhone settings.
Related: Apple AirPods review
Apple’s Listen Live feature has existed since 2014, but has previously been reserved for specialised hearing devices approved by the company through the Made for iPhone program.
On its website, Apple explains the Listen Live feature:
With Live Listen, your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch becomes a remote microphone that sends sound to your Made for iPhone hearing aid. Live Listen can help you hear a conversation in a noisy room or hear someone speaking across the room.
The feature hasn’t yet appeared within the iOS 12 beta, but today’s report claims it’ll arrive a little further along in the cycle, en route to the full iOS 12 release.
Apple’s reported plans come as tech giants continue to broaden their focus on accessibility. Last month Microsoft launched a brand new, completely reimagined Xbox One controller for gamers with disabilities.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been designed for gamers with limited mobility and can be uniquely customised for the individual player’s specific needs.
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