Welcome to the August 2018 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly newsletter which aims to highlight what's new and noteworthy on the AppleVis website. Below, you'll find a selection of the best content posted to AppleVis - from new app entries, to app updates, to the latest news and podcasts. For easier navigation, the major sections of this post are at heading level 3, and each individual item is at heading level 4.
New and Noteworthy App Entries
Dusk (iOS, Free)
Dusk is an all-new gaming experience, designed for the blind but playable by everyone.
Use your phone in ways you've never imagined and challenge yourself with a series of mini-games that do not require the use of sight, or play with a friend to find out who's the best!
- Each game uses a combination of movement sensors, vibration, sound and other technologies for a totally immersive experience.
- Full leaderboards and achievements support for singleplayer games.
- Play your favorite games with a friend and another iPhone, thanks to the multiplayer mode.
- Fully compatible with VoiceOver.
- Simple and minimalist high-contrast design to improve legibility.
(Please note that some games might not be available on older devices due to technical limitations.)
Current Version: 1.0.1 (July 17, 2018)
Personal Diary App (Journal (iOS, Free)
Never write a diary because of the inconvenience to do that? Always forget to write in your diary? Afraid that someone will peek into your diary? Unable to attach images into your diary? Just need a simple & easy to use diary?
Personal Diary is an app that solves the above problems. Easily access all your entries in all your devices with iCloud Sync. You can write diary entries without worrying that someone will peek at what you wrote, with passcode & biometric protection. Forgot about your diary? The app will now 'summon' you back a friendly nudge. You can also import as many photos as you wish into your entries. As an addition, you can set your mood and also the weather.
- Numeric passcode lock
- Unlock using Touch ID or Face ID
- Simple & Easy to use
- iCloud Sync
- Smart Search
- Ability to pick a mood
- Ability to choose the weather of the day
- Mood & Weather can be automatically chosen
- Import photos to your entries
- Auto-saves as you type
- Select a theme
- Dark Mode for better night use
- Fully supports iPad Multitasking Features
- Fully supports external keyboard
- Supports VoiceOver
- iPhone X Support
- Daily Notifications
- No Ads & absolutely free! :D
Current Version: 2.4.16 (August 12, 2018)
WakeUp Alarm, Guaranteed (Simple SleepCycle Alarm (iOS, Free)
WakeUp Alarm, Guaranteed. Get it? This alarm clock app guarantees that you'll wake up rested every morning, with many methods such as auto sleep cycle calculation & shake to stop alarm.
*This app is created by my 13 year old son, Wern Jie.
What is this?
- This is a Guaranteed WakeUp Alarm.
- Its a gesture-based UI alarm app.
How do I use it with gestures?
- Drag left or right to set alarm time.
- Drag up to activate alarm.
- Drag down to deactivate alarm.
- Shake to stop alarm.
- Easy to use... to the point where anyone can use it!
- Calculates sleep cycle stages to wake you up at light sleep.
- NO NEED to place the phone near the bed... It calculates the sleep cycles through the mean average of most humans' sleep cycle patterns.
- Only wakes you up at just the right time so you feel refreshed.
- Records estimate sleep into Health app.
- Sleep music: plays your favourite music to fall asleep.
- No Ads! :) .
- The most lightweight alarm app ever! (8 MB in size).
- VoiceOver fully supported.
Current Version: 1.0.1 (April 25, 2017)
YouTube Music (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
YouTube Music is a new music app that allows you to easily find what you’re looking for and discover new music. Get playlists and recommendations served to you based on your context, tastes, and what’s trending around you.
A new music streaming service from YouTube
- This is a completely reimagined music service with official releases from your favorite artists.
Find the music you want
- Easily find the albums, singles, live performances, covers and remixes you’re looking for.
- Don’t know a song’s name? Just search the lyrics or describe it.
Discover new music
- Get music recommendations based on taste, location, and time of day.
- Use “The Hotlist” to keep up with what’s trending.
Uninterrupted listening with Music Premium
- Listen ad-free
- Don’t worry about your music stopping when you lock your screen or use other apps.
- Download your favorites or let us do it for you by enabling Offline Mixtape.
Get 1 free month of Music Premium to listen ad-free, offline, and with your screen locked. Existing YouTube Red or Google Play Music members and users of either service who have already received a 30 day trial are not eligible. Monthly charges auto-renew for Music Premium membership outside of trial periods.
Current Version: 2.47 (August 28, 2018)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Dice World (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Thank you for checking out Dice World! The game was created by two regular dads with the goal to create a game that everyone can play together and have fun... for free!
After 6 years we are still at it, and loving every minute of it! Join the fun and meet new friends from around the globe. Everyone is welcome in Dice World!
Dice World is also designed so blind and sighted can compete against each other. It is completely accessible to the visually impaired!
6 social dice games in one App! Yatzy, Farkle, Pig, Threes, Balut and 1-4-24!
- Daily Tournaments!
- Play multiple games against different opponents at the same time.
- Turn based game play. There is no need for both players to be online at the same time.
- Track from which countries around the world your opponents are playing!
- Superior stats - Wins, Losses, Ties, High Scores… it’s all recorded!
- Leaderboards – Are you good enough to make it onto the worldwide leader board? Represent your country!
- Chat with your friends during game play - multiple lingual support for chat text (even user names support all languages)!
- Player ranking - work your way up from a starting level of DiceJoke to the surprise highest level! Be the first in your country to accomplish this feat!
- Offline? No problem - play some games against the computer opponents to hone your skills!
- Seamless integration with Push Notifications for lightning fast game play.
- Detailed help for each game to help new players get up to speed.
- 100% Voice over Accessible!
Current Version: 13.02 (August 30, 2018)
Changes in August
- New daily awards!
- Accessibility and iOS 9 compatibility fixes!
- iPad crash fixes
- Free gold upgrades
- Performance updates
- Accessibility fix for settings button.
- Free gold fixes!
Envision AI (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Envision enables people with visual impairment to live more independently. With Envision, visually impaired users can shop in supermarkets, use public transport, read menu cards in restaurants, recognise their friends, find their belongings and so much more, all on their own.
Envision can process an image an extract the information user is looking for. It can read texts from any surface accurately and quickly. It also automatically detects the language of the text and reads it out in the correct dialect. This text can then be explored through VoiceOver and also exported out.
Envision also does a great job of describing scenes. You can teach Envision to recognise faces of your friends and family and find out what they are doing by taking a picture of them. This also works for personal objects that the app also allows taught to the app.
The scene description and text recognition also work on all photos on your phone, right from the camera roll to WhatsApp images. This makes the web and social media a lot more accessible.
We are constantly working on improving our services and introducing more features. If you have any questions, feedback or feature request, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us from within the app.
Current Version: 1.5.2 (August 30, 2018)
Changes in Version 1.5.0
This version introduces a new long-awaited feature in Envision called Scan & Find. It's a whole new tab in addition to the Text and General tab that already existed. This tab has three functions:
- Teach Envision: This is similar to the previous teaching flow that we had, but we have improved it for higher accuracy. The new teaching method does take a little longer to process, but ensure the recognition happens much more accurately.
- Custom Scan: This function turns on the video feed and starts searching if any of the trained faces or objects are in the frame. As soon as it sees an object or person you have trained on the frame, it will speak it out. This could be useful in instances where you are searching for your lost keys on the table or for a friend in a cafe.
- General Scan: This function is to use the video feed to recognise general objects that are in front of you. This could be used to get a sense of what objects are around you or to just point it out from the bus to see what are you passing by.
We have put in a lot of work into building the backend for this and will continue to work on improving its stability, speed and accuracy. This is the very first version of this whole new feature so we look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback on it and learn how to make it better.
FlickType Keyboard (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
FlickType helps everyone type effortlessly, regardless of visual ability. Our innovative, award-winning technology and accessible design make typing easier, faster, and more comfortable - even if you are blind. Say goodbye to typing frustrations and rediscover the joy and productivity of writing on-the-go.
LIMITED VISION FlickType is designed to be as accessible as possible, featuring large keys, highly readable visual announcements, high-contrast color themes, and much more.
TYPE WITH YOUR EARS FlickType can speak back to you when you type or edit, enabling a completely eyes-free writing experience. People who are blind write millions of words every month using it, typing just as fast as everyone else.
COMFORTABLY SMART Say goodbye to painfully slow editing operations. Delete and change entire words with a single flick of your finger. Control the cursor directly from the keyboard. When typing, don't slow down and try to be accurate. Simply tap-type where it feels right and FlickType's unique algorithm will find the correct word from the pattern of your taps.
FAST, EASY & FUN FlickType users type a whole three to four times faster compared to the standard keyboard, VoiceOver typing, or even dictation after edits. And utilizing the standard QWERTY layout means you don’t have to learn a new way to type. Emoji, text shortcuts, and deep customization options make typing fluid and fun, just as it should be.
Current Version: 2.8 (August 28, 2018)
Changes in Version 2.6-2.8
- Container app: When exiting the app, the keyboard won't be dismissed.
- Container app: Added "Copy and Clear Text on Exit" function for easier frequent use.
- Bigger, more visually accessible key labels.
- Added "Tap feedback" setting for more responsive taps on touch down. See setting notes for more information.
- Added "Raise to Read Back" setting, off by default. See setting notes for more information.
- Changed icon for "Next Keyboard" button.
- Updated the "Welcome" and "Upgrade" tabs.
- Swapped order of "Demo" and "Upgrade" tabs.
- New half-screen, direct-commit mode where all text changes are instantly reflected in the current text field. This currently only works for non-VoiceOver users due to iOS limitations, but we are still looking for ways to bring it to VoiceOver users as well.
- The "Next keyboard" key and setting will be hidden on devices that have a dedicated, always-present "Next keyboard" key (such as the iPhone X), or if FlickType is the only keyboard in the keyboard list.
Gmail - Email by Google (iOS, Free)
The official Gmail app brings the best of Gmail to your iPhone or iPad with real-time notifications, multiple account support and search that works across all of your mail.
With the Gmail app, you can:
- Undo Send, to prevent embarrassing mistakes
- Switch between multiple accounts
- Receive notifications about new mail fast, with notification centre, badge and lock screen options
- Search your mail faster with instant results, predictions as you type and spelling suggestions
- Swipe to archive/delete, to quickly clear out your inbox
- Read your mail with threaded conversations
- Auto-complete contact names as you type from your Google contacts or your phone
- Respond to Google Calendar invitations straight from the app
- Organise your mail by archiving, labelling, starring, deleting and reporting spam
- Send and receive attachments
- See profile pictures as part of the conversation
Current Version: 5.0.180813 (August 28, 2018)
Changes in Version 5.0.180729
- You can now dismiss the prompts that appear to remind you to follow up on an email
- VoiceOver now announces system labels as expected
- VoiceOver now announces the correct text when editing a message
Microsoft Soundscape (iOS, Free)
Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to enhance your awareness of what is around you, and thereby help you get around and explore your surroundings.
Soundscape will place audio cues and labels in 3D space such that they sound like they are coming from the direction of the points of interest, parks, roads and other features in your surroundings.
You will need a pair of stereo headsets that you feel comfortable wearing outdoors. For example, bone conduction headsets, Apple AirPods and in-ear open headphones have proven to work well.
Soundscape is designed to live in the background and provide you with effortless ambient awareness. Therefore, feel free to use it in conjunction with other apps such as podcasts, audio books, email and even GPS navigation.
- As you walk, Soundscape will automatically call out the key points of interest, roads and intersections that you pass. These can be adjusted and turned on and off.
- An audio beacon can be placed on a point of interest, and you will hear it as you move around. You can place an audio beacon on a point of interest that you would like to track such as your destination, a point to return to or a landmark you are familiar with.
- “My location” describes your current location and the direction you are facing
- “Around me” describes nearby points of interest in each of the four cardinal directions, helping with orientation. Try this out when getting off a bus or leaving a train station.
- “Ahead of me” describes points of interest in front of you, for example when walking down the street.
- The expandable Callout History section lets you review callouts you have heard, repeat callouts, hear more information about them, and more.
Current Version: 1.8.0 (August 21, 2018)
Changes in Version 1.8.0
Mark anything you care about.
With this release we are introducing Soundscape markers, replacing reference Points. Whether you are marking up key landmarks on a route, the entrance to your park or just your spot on the beach, you can locate your nearby markers and even set a beacon on them as a guide. You can quickly mark your current location while on the go from the home screen, or add and edit markers through the "Manage Markers" menu item.
You can now control Soundscape like you do music using the buttons on your headphones! You can pause/play, forward and rewind. Give it a try and you can find the "Help and Tutorials" section in the main menu for more information.
We made further improvements to Soundscape behavior while you are in a vehicle. Soundscape will reliably update you every time you change a road, and using the my location button you can find out the upcoming intersection. Key landmarks will also be called out to aid with mental mapping and tracking where you are.
And as always, we continue to fix bugs and improve stability and reliability of the overall experience.
Travelear: Listen to the World (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
"A vacation for your ears."
Travelear promises to take your ears on an adventure like never before! You can finally go to a variety of destinations and environments with a pair of headphones and the click of a button. With Travelear you can hop across the pond and experience the hustle and bustle of London's famous Flower Market or even take a trip down to New Orleans jazz-filled streets. If you're not in the mood for a new city sound then you can always get up close and personal with forest wildlife or simply sit back and relax on your porch as a summer thunderstorm passes by. Let our sounds immerse you into an environmental narrative and make you feel like you are actually there.
- 3D experiences created exclusively for Travelear
- Organic recordings designed to tell a story
- Captured with the latest in 3D microphones
- Recorded and composed by Professional Audio Engineers
- HD sound quality
- HD images provide a visual for the experience
- Map View allows you to choose your destination
Take a break from your day, go somewhere fun. Sit back, relax, and choose your destination.
Current Version: 1.2.5 (August 21, 2018)
Changes in Version 1.2.4
Improved accessibility for VoiceOver! New Layout!
Zello Walkie Talkie (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Zello turns your phone into a walkie talkie and works anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to the internet!
Join millions of people who use Zello instead of texting and calls. You can use it one-on-one with a friend, for a live group call with your family or soccer team. The Zello app can even replace 2-way radios at work.
Zello is the only place for live open group communication – old school CB Radio style. Create a live Zello channel for your forum or customers, or enjoy conversations from across the globe.
- Free live voice over any network or Wi-Fi connection
- See who’s available or busy
- Send photos, text or location to friends instantly
- Replay messages later, even if your phone was off
- Free with no ads
- Won’t spam your friends
- Lets you delete your account
Current Version: 4.08 (August 21, 2018)
Changes in Version 4.06
- Updated UI to use round profile images
- Fixed missing VoiceOver labels on some screens
- Other bugfixes
Recent News and Views
Ba-Dum-Bump! Making Jokes with Your iPhone
By Paul Martz | August 22, 2018
Q: Why is a laser beam like goldfish?
A: Because neither one can whistle.
That was a line from Mike, the joke-telling computer in Robert Heinlein's classic novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Reading this book made me curious about the current state-of-the-art for computer generated humor. And what, if any joke apps might be available for my iPhone.
Joke-telling computers are still an area of active research. What we'd really like is Heinlein's Mike character—an artificial intelligence that employs machine learning to decide what is, and isn't, funny. It turns out this is no small task. Computers that develop funny jokes (computational humor, as it's known in the AI industry) require "mastery of sophisticated functions like self-awareness, empathy, spontaneity, and linguistic subtlety." Stuff most computers can't handle yet.
This TED Ideas article confirms the challenges of computational humor. According to Kevin Litman-Navarro, "If we ever want to build AI that simulates human-style intelligence, we'll need to figure out how to code for funny."
The closest thing we have today is The Joking Computer. The web page is accessible using Safari on MacOS 10.13.6, but somewhat difficult to navigate due to its complexity. Only the most joke-hungry blind users will navigate through to actually generate a joke. Sadly, it's jokes aren't always all that funny. Here's an example.
Q: What do you get when you cross a bicycle with an alley?
A: A bike street.
According to the Joking Computer, that joke is supposed to be funny because bike street sounds like back street. Many jokes are constructed this way, but computers have a hard time with the subtle nuances of spoken language.
The web page lets you rate the joke and provide other feedback. Hopefully my response will help the computer embarrass itself less going forward.
I thought the dream of a standup comedian robot might never come true. Then I found this Silicon Based Comedy TED Talk video (worth listening to even if you have no usable eyesight). This robot tells jokes from a pre-programmed list, but also gauges its success or failure based on audience response and uses that information to select subsequent jokes. It did pretty well, I must admit. But I don't think this robot is quite ready for the Second City Comedy Club.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed August 2018: The Falling Cat
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville, Randy Rusnakk and Mike Malarsie get together to talk about recent Apple news and topics of interest.
Topics featured in this podcast include:
Apple Q3 Fiscal Report 2018: 41.3M iPhones, 11.6M iPads, 3.7M Macs
Notes of interest from Apple's Q3 2018 conference call
Apple Sold Fewest Macs in Any Quarter Since 2010 as Nearly Entire Lineup Was Outdated
AAPL hits $1 trillion market cap, Apple first publicly traded company to reach 13 digit valuation
Group FaceTime won't be available for initial iOS 12 or macOS Mojave release
All three 2018 iPhones to support wireless charging, AirPower mat to cost $150, rumors say
2018 iPhones Could Start at $699, May Include Apple Pencil Support, 512GB Storage Option for OLED Models
More Evidence Emerges to Suggest 2018 iPhones Won't Be Bundled With Lightning to Headphone Jack Adapter
iPad Pro X (2018): Release date, specs, and features!
Apple Watch Series 4: Release date rumors, spec speculation, and more!
Apple says it is removing apps & in-app purchases from its iTunes Affiliate Program
Help Support AppleVis
tIP: How to disable short names for contacts
tIP: How to Use Siri to Get Betting Odds
You can contact the Unleashed Team with feedback or questions at email@example.com.
What's the good Word? Actually, it's Pages
To help start off a new school year, Tyler Stephen gives us a podcast covering some of the aspects of Pages for Mac for VoiceOver users.
Explore a Land of Adventure and Challenges and Fulfil your Destiny in Echoes from Levia: Soulbound
In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher gives us a demonstration of Echoes from Levia: Soulbound, an audiogame designed primarily for a visually impaired and blind audience.
The player will play as Seric, a boy of humble origins and blind from birth, and follows him during his adventure in the lands of Levia where he will be overwhelmed by a series of events that will bring him to discover his past and the mysterious and sinister characters who rule this world and ultimately fulfill his destiny.
The companion of this adventure is the mysterious familiar Kiroth, an incorporeal and enigmatic entity bound to the young Seric, who guides him on his journey through the different settings of the game.
The game consists of two main phases: combat and exploration.
In the first the player is free to explore the different gaming environments, from the dark stash of a pirate ship to the Reek river's brackish swamp, moving through a grid system using navigation based on sound clues and facing various mini-game obstacles. In the combat phase the player will have to fight against different enemies and use his own hearing to parry the slashes, counterattack, and finally deliver precise and well-settled finishing blows.
Soulbound offers the player an unprecedented immersive sound environment thanks to proprietary audio technology that simulates sound diffusion, making dialogues and sound effects consistent with the game setting. Finally, the game is equipped with a neat graphical interface that allows its use to a normally sighted audience.
The game is available on several platforms and costs US$22.99:
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts
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The AppleVis Editorial Team