Apple Watch users can now control their smartwatch through subtle hand gestures – without EVER having to touch the display or controls

  • Apple has launched a new feature for Apple Watch called Assistive Touch
  • Users can control watch through movements including clenches and pinches 
  • Apple hopes the feature will make it easier for users with upper body limb differences to use their smartwatch

Since launching back in 2015, Apple Watch has been one of the tech giant’s most popular hardware products.

Now, Apple has launched a new feature for Apple Watch called Assistive Touch to support users with limited mobility.

The tool allows you to control your smartwatch through subtle movements, without ever having to touch the display or controls.

For example, you could set your Apple Watch to accept calls with a clench of the fist, or reply to messages by lightly pinching your index finger to your thumb.

The tool allows you to control your smartwatch through subtle movements, without ever having to touch the display or controls. For example, you could set your Apple Watch to accept calls with a clench of the fist, or reply to messages by lightly pinching your index finger to your thumb

ASSISTIVE TOUCH 

The Assistive Touch feature for Apple Watch is designed to make it easier for users with upper body limb differences to use their smartwatch.

Using built-in motion sensors and the optical heart rate sensor, the Apple Watch can detect small differences in muscle movement and tendon activity.

This means users can navigate their watch through subtle hand gestures, including a pinch or a clench.

Through these gestures, users can do everything from answer incoming calls to control an onscreen motion pointer.

The Assistive Touch feature for Apple Watch is designed to make it easier for users with upper body limb differences to use their smartwatch.

Using built-in motion sensors and the optical heart rate sensor, the Apple Watch can detect small differences in muscle movement and tendon activity.

This means that users can navigate their Apple Watch through subtle hand gestures, including a pinch or a clench.

Through these simple gestures, users can do everything from answer incoming calls to control an onscreen motion pointer.

Assistive Touch is one of several new features announced by Apple today, designed for people with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities.

Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s senior director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives, said: ‘At Apple, we’ve long felt that the world’s best technology should respond to everyone’s needs, and our teams work relentlessly to build accessibility into everything we make.

‘With these new features, we’re pushing the boundaries of innovation with next-generation technologies that bring the fun and function of Apple technology to even more people — and we can’t wait to share them with our users.’ 

Assistive Touch is one of several new features announced by Apple today, designed for people with mobility, vision, hearing and cognitive disabilities

Other exciting updates announced by Apple include eye-tracking support for iPad, and new features for VoiceOver – a screen reader for blind a low vision users.

In a blog, Apple explained: ‘Building on recent updates that brought Image Descriptions to VoiceOver, users can now explore even more details about the people, text, table data, and other objects within images.

‘Users can navigate a photo of a receipt like a table: by row and column, complete with table headers.

‘VoiceOver can also describe a person’s position along with other objects within images — so people can relive memories in detail, and with Markup, users can add their own image descriptions to personalize family photos.’

Apple’s Memoji feature will also be updated to reflect a wider range of users. New options coming later this year will include users with oxygen tubes, cochlear implants, and a soft helmet for headwear

A new Background Sounds feature is also coming to Apple’s products for people who find it difficult to focus or stay calm. 

Apple added: ‘Balanced, bright, or dark noise, as well as ocean, rain, or stream sounds continuously play in the background to mask unwanted environmental or external noise, and the sounds mix into or duck under other audio and system sounds.’

In addition, the tech giant’s Memoji feature will also be updated to reflect a wider range of users. 

New options coming later this year will include users with oxygen tubes, cochlear implants, and a soft helmet for headwear.  

THE TRILLION DOLLAR RISE OF APPLE

The company’s journey to the summit of the technology industry has been a rocky one, having seen Jobs (pictured right in 1976) leave the firm in the mid-1980s after his pet project, the first Macintosh computer, struggled and he attempted to oust then chief executive John Sculley. Wozniak is pictured left  

1976: Founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne created the company on April 1 1976 as they set about selling computer kits to hobbyists, each of which was built by Wozniak.

The first product was the Apple I. 

1977: Apple released the Apple II in June, which was the first PC made for the mass market. 

1981: Jobs became chairman.  

1984: The Macintosh was introduced during an ad break for the Super Bowl and later officially unveiled during a launch event. It was discontinued a year later and Jobs left the firm.

1987: Apple released the Macintosh II, the first colour Mac.

1997: Apple announces it will acquire NeXT software in a $400 million deal that involves Jobs returning to Apple as interim CEO. He officially took the role in 2000.  

2001: Apple introduced iTunes, OS X and the first-generation iPod.

The first iPod MP3 music player was released on October 23, 2001, at an event in Cupertino and was able to hold up to 1,000 songs.

Steve Jobs unveils Apple Computer Corporation’s new Macintosh February 6, 1984 in California.

The then Chief Executive Officer of Apple, Steve Jobs, with the iPhone

2007: Apple unveils the iPhone. 

2010: The first iPad was unveiled.

2011: Jobs resigned in 2011 due to illness, handing the CEO title to Tim Cook. Job died in October from pancreatic cancer.

2014: Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. It also unveiled its first larger iPhones – the 6 and 6 Plus. 

2015: After purchasing Beats from Dr Dre, Apple launched Apple Music to compete with Spotify and other music streaming services. 

Apple CEO Steve Jobs speaks at an Apple event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

2016: Apple returned to its roots and announced the 4-inch iPhone SE. Meanwhile, the firm is embroiled in a legal battle with the FBI, involving the agency demanding access to the locked phone used by Syed Farook, who died in a shootout after carrying out a deadly December attack in San Bernardino, California with his wife. The court order was dropped on March 28 after the FBI said a third party was able to unlock the device.  

2017: Apple introduces the iPhone X, which removes the home button to make way for a futuristic edge-to-edge screen design and a new FaceID system that uses advanced sensors and lasers to unlock phones with just the owner’s face.    

2018: In a first for the company, Apple introduces new features in its latest operating system, iOS 12, that encourage users to manage and spend less time on their devices. The move was spawned by a strongly worded letter from shareholders that urged the firm to address the growing problem of smartphone addiction among kids and teenagers. 

2019: In January, Apple reports its first decline in revenues and profits in a decade. CEO Tim Cook partly blamed steep declines in revenue from China.

2020: In March, Apple closes all its bricks and mortar retail stores outside of China in response to coronavirus. 

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