The third beta release of Apple’s iOS 5 firmware was seeded to developers yesterday, and in addition to a number of fancy new sounds and some welcome bug fixes, there’s also a new ‘AssistiveTouch’ feature.

With AssistiveTouch enabled within the Accessibility Settings on your iOS device, you’re presented with a new button on your home screen, which gives you access to a menu overlay with a number of features that may mean you never have to touch your device’s buttons again…

The feature is designed for users who may not be able to fully interact with their devices:

AssistiveTouch allows you to use iPhone [or iPad] if you have difficulty touching the screen or if your require an adaptive accessory.

It allows you to rotate the screen without actually turning your device, go back to your home screen without actually pressing the home button, and perform a number of gestures and functions at the touch of a button. For example, you can use two-, three-, four- and even five-fingered gestures with just one finger, and pinch-to-zoom or swipe in any direction with just a tap. What’s more, you can even record and save your own gestures.

To enable AssistiveTouch, you must be running the latest third beta of iOS 5. You must then navigate to the Accessibility section of the Settings app and turn AssistiveTouch on. You’ll then have to wait a short while for it to activate, which I think may be a bug with the beta. On my iPhone 4 I had to wait around 5 minutes for the AssistiveTouch button to actually appear on my screen.

Have you tried this new feature yet? What do you think?