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Apple (AAPL) Unveils Features for Users With Disabilities

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Apple (AAPL - Free Report) honored this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day by announcing the launch of new features for users with disabilities.

Amid stiff competition, Apple has been focusing on developing its services to attract different kinds of customers to their products and increase market share. The recent move looks to attract people with disabilities. The iPhone maker will launch unique new tools for navigation, health and communications utilizing hardware, software and machine learning.

Apple has previewed features like door detection for people who are blind. This feature will help them to navigate the last few steps to their destination. The feature will explain attributes like whether the door is open or closed or how it should be opened.

For Apple Watch users with physical and motor disabilities, the company will launch features like Apple Watch mirroring to control Apple Watch using features like voice control and switch control. Users can send commands simply by using features like voice instructions, sound actions and even head tracking.

The company is also launching features for the deaf and hard of hearing community like Live Captions on iPhone, iPad and Mac. The unique feature will enable users to follow along with any audio content like during a phone call or while face-timing without requiring any intervention from a third party.

Apple’s recent upgrades across its various product platforms are expected to attract more customers, thus driving top-line growth.

However, rising economic turmoil has impacted the demand for Apple products negatively. Investors are wary as a higher interest rate environment is expected to persist in 2022 due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Amid all this, Apple has halted its production in Russia, where it had a 16% market share last year. Consequently, Apple is lowering its production plans for iPhone SEs by 20%, which is about 2 million to 3 million units, per Nikkei Asia.

iPhone 13 production is anticipated to be reduced by a couple of millions. AirPods production is being lowered by 10 million units.

Shares of Apple, which currently carries a Zacks Rank # 3 (Hold), have fallen 20.7% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Computer and Technology sector’s decline of 24.8%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Apple Inc. Price and Consensus

Apple Inc. Price and Consensus

Apple Inc. price-consensus-chart | Apple Inc. Quote

Apple Services: The Key to Rising Above the Competition

Apple is facing stiff completion across all of its products and services. However, the company’s robust business model to provide updated software with new features across all of its offerings and the services business is becoming the key differentiator for its profitability.

The recent upgrades made by Apple to cater to disabled people with their plethora of services are expected to attract ESG compliant investors. Apple is committed to investing in making technological upgrades to counter competition.

Apple previously extended services of its Maps application to several U.S. cities like Chicago, Detroit, and other Midwestern cities with cycling directions to help cyclists find the best route with a bike lane.

The recent feature to help blind people to navigate, along with the previous upgrade to include health enthusiasts, is expected to intensify its competition with Alphabet’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Google Maps.

Alphabet’s Google recently upgraded its map services with new features to attract more customers, even among iPhone users. Google maps has been upgraded with toll prices for the first time to help drivers decide when to take toll roads and regular roads to avoid traffic.

The new features are easily accessible from the iOS home screen in the iPhone and let users navigate with Google maps using the Apple watch. These new upgrades will help Google attract iPhone users to their map services.

Apple has recently updated the iOS and watchOS with new health-tracking features after the company expanded the Fitness + program by introducing a postpartum fitness routine to the service. Apple Watch’s new upgrade to include pregnant women, senior citizens and currently users with locomotive disabilities will help the company fend off competition from the likes of Garmin (GRMN - Free Report) .

Garmin has been able to benefit from the growing fitness business amid the pandemic with its different smartwatches to meet the diverse needs of outdoor hikers, swimmers as well as other health enthusiasts.

Apple’s augmented-reality (“AR”) ambitions are well-known. In fact, CEO Tim Cook is known to be a fan of AR technology. The iPhone maker's rumored headset is the most anticipated product in 2022, which will go head to head with Meta Platforms Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses, developed in collaboration with EssilorLuxottica.

Meta Platforms has recently begun testing tools to sell digital assets and services in the virtual reality platform — Horizon Worlds, an early iteration of the Metaverse. This is a massive step for Mark Zuckerberg's bold ambitions to create the Metaverse, as it will allow the development of commercial activity in the alternate reality independent of the real world.

Apple, on the contrary, is more interested in AR, where users will lay digital objects onto the real world rather than virtual-reality tools that create an entirely new world. These contrasting ideas between the tech giants will result in interesting competition to win market share in the alternate reality space with differentiated products.

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