Apple has made great strides in ensuring that their iOS software is accessible to everyone. For example, those who are visually impaired can use Speak Selection to read out text messages and emails that would otherwise go unseen. An option to flash the iPhone’s built-in LED available since iOS 5 can be used to alert deaf users that they have an incoming call or notification. Although similar features can be found on other handsets and operating systems, Apple’s latest innovation in this field is something entirely unique.
According to 9to5Mac, an anonymous tipster informed them that the forthcoming iOS 7 operating system could be navigated using head movements. The editorial team then tested the most recent version of the beta software and found the claims to be true.
The list of functions that you can complete with just a tilt of the head is rather impressive. You can bring up the home screen, adjust the volume, enable Siri, access the App Switcher, and do everyday actions such as ‘tapping’ to open up an app or link. While all of this sounds great, the feature is admittedly time consuming and not ideal for those that don’t necessarily require it.
To make this possible, the iPhone makes use of the front-facing camera that is often used for Face Time. The program loops through all available options or applications, and the user must jerk their head to either the left or right to make a selection.
It’s important to note that since this is just an early build of iOS 7, the hands-free feature will probably be polished up a bit, hopefully improving the experience. There is also no guarantee that the motion controls will even make it to the final version.
Regardless of the outcome, it’s nice to see that Apple is going to great lengths to make its products usable by everyone. It will also be interesting to see how other manufacturers measure up in the motion-sensing spectrum. After all, the Samsung Galaxy S4 launched earlier this year with a cool feature called SmartPause, a program that automatically stops a video when the user looks away from the screen. As a result, Samsung certainly has the expertise and know-how to bring forth their own head motion controls.
For those interested, here is a quick video demonstrating the feature.