Over the past few days, 9to5Mac and MacRumors have posted details of several iOS features that are reportedly in development at Apple.
Based upon findings in supposed unreleased iOS 14 code, one of these reports is of a new developer framework named VoiceProvider, which could let developers replace built-in speech voices on iOS with custom text-to-speech synthesizers.
Information on how this might be used is speculative, with MacRumors saying:
Voice synthesizer extensions would be bundled with apps from the App Store, and then could be offered to the system to replace the default speech voice, which could be important for languages and dialects that Apple does not support. This could potentially extend to an API for the HomePod, although this is not for certain.
iDownloadBlog.com takes the speculation a step further by suggesting that custom synthesizers could “range from Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 computer to the Majel Barrett-Roddenberry computer voice from Star Trek”.
The leaked code is currently in the early stages of development, so much of what's been found might not make it into the first iOS 14 beta, or even into iOS 14 at all. Accordingly, all that we can reasonably say for now about what this finding might mean for VoiceOver users is to “watch this space”, but it does certainly appear that Apple has something in mind.
If you think you know what that might be - or have a wish - we would love to hear in the comments to this post.
In its exploration of the leaked iOS code, 9to5Mac has discovered what might be some major new accessibility improvements coming in iOS 14:
Our code findings uncovered a new feature that will be able to detect important sounds like fire alarms, sirens, door knocks, doorbells, and crying babies. Presumably, iOS will translate these alerts into haptics for people who have hearing loss.
More new accessibility features would bring support for the camera to detect hand gestures while “Audio Accommodations can improve audio tuning over AirPods or EarPods for people with mild to moderate hearing loss”. Further iOS 14 should offer the ability to run an audiogram on-device to help the users tune the audio.
Other findings from the supposed iOS 14 code include:
- Sophisticated mouse cursor support coming to iOS 14, new iPad Smart Keyboard models with trackpad
- iOS 14 to include new homescreen list view option with Siri suggestions and more
- Apple Testing New iMessage Features Such as Mentions and Retracting Messages, Could Extend to Mac App
- Apple Developing Fitness App for iOS 14 That Lets You Download Guided Workout Videos
- Apple Watch Series 6 and watchOS 7 to include ‘Infograph Pro’ with tachymeter, Schooltime and kids mode, sleep tracking, more
- Apple's Rumored Tile Competitor 'AirTag' May Have Removable Coin-Shaped Battery Like the Tile Pro
- iOS 14 Features New OCR Capabilities That Will Convert Handwritten Text From Apple Pencil Into Typed Text
- HomeKit in iOS 14: Face recognition, Apple TV audio, Night Shift for lights
- iOS 14 icon leak reveals first look at Apple’s high-end, over-ear headphones with AirPods features