AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for July 2017

Welcome to the July 2017 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

Blindfold Pyramid Tiles (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Pyramid Tiles is a fully accessible solitaire puzzle inspired by matching games such as Pyramid Puzzles, for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.

In each puzzle, the tiles are laid on in several levels, where some tiles are on top of other tiles. The goal of the puzzle is to remove pairs of matching tiles. You can remove a tile if no other tile is on top of it, and there is no tile to both the left or the right. Hence, if the tiles on a row are 1, 2, 3 and 4, you can remove tiles 1 and 4. You cannot remove tiles 2 and three since they have tiles touching them on both the left and right sides.

The game comes with several different tile layouts, and you can chose your level of difficulty. You earn 2 points each time you complete a match.

Blindfold Pyramid Tiles comes with coins to play for free, and then you can additional coins or unlimited play.

Current Version: 1.0.9 (July 4, 2017)

Read Blindfold Pyramid Tiles' AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Blindfold Pyramid Tyles' App Store page

Cyclepath (Mac, Free)

In this game you're riding on a motorcycle and your goal is to avoid other cars while jumping on ramps to pick up coins which can be used to unlock faster bikes and more varied locations to drive in. The game features Binaural audio (like Papa Sangre) as well as environmental effects.

Current Version: 0.0.1 Beta

Read Cyclepath's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information
Visit Cyclepath's website

Loadstone GPS (iOS, US$7.99)

Loadstone GPS is an app which enables blind pedestrians to "go blindly where everyone sighted has gone before."

What sets Loadstone apart from other GPS apps for the blind?

  • designed by the blind for the blind
  • no data plan required
  • available in multiple languages
  • create, store, and share your own navigation waypoints with others
  • see points in your neighbourhood
  • highly customizable and configurable
  • access to data from OpenStreetMap as well as points shared by other Loadstone users.

Current Version: 1.0 (July 21, 2017)

Read Loadstone's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Loadstone's App Store page

Rain Rain Sleep Sounds (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

AS SEEN ON ABC7 "Best Apps to Battle Anxiety" Trouble sleeping? Rain Rain helps you fall asleep fast! Let 74 high-quality endless sounds lull you to sleep in no time, with more sounds added all the time. Mix and match any combination of sounds and save your favorite combinations. Download the app that over four million people have used to fall asleep today!

Current Version: 5.2 (June 26, 2017)

Read Rain Rain Sleep Sounds' AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Rain Rain Sleep Sounds' App Store page

Seeing AI: Talking Camera for the Blind (iOS, Free)

Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text, and objects.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:

  • Short Text - Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
  • Documents - Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
  • Products - Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
  • People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
  • Scenes (early preview) - Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
  • Images in other apps - Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.

Seeing AI is built to help you achieve more by leveraging the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence. As the research progresses, more channels may be added.

Available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore. Coming soon to more countries.

Current Version: 1.2.1 (July 28, 2017)

Read Seeing AI's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Seeing AI's App Store page

Transmit (Mac, US$45.00)

Transmit is an excellent FTP (file transfer protocol), SFTP, S3 (Amazon.com file hosting) and iDisk/WebDAV client that allows you to upload, download, and delete files over the internet. With the most Mac-like interface available, Transmit makes FTP as simple, fun, and easy as it can possibly be.

Current Version: 5.0 (July 20, 2017)

Read Transmit's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information
Visit Transmit's website

All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:

iOS
Mac
Apple Watch
Apple TV

Notable App Updates

Audio Game Hub (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)

Audio Game Hub is a set of experimental arcade audiogames that use audio as their primary interface – making them accessible for both sighted and non-sighted users.

Audio Game Hub provides a medium to develop and improve motoric, auditory and memory skills by training them in a fun and stimulating way!

Audiogames:

  • Bomb Disarmer (up to 10 player)
  • Super Simon (up to 10 player)
  • Blackjack (Casino)
  • Slot Machines (Casino)
  • Archery
  • Hunt
  • Samurai Tournament (up to 4 player)
  • Samuari Dojo (up to 4 player)
  • Labyrinth
  • Animal Farm (Memory)
  • Blocks (Bejeweld)

Current Version: 2.1.1 (July 25, 2017)

Changes in Version 2

Audio Game Hub 2.0 introduces 3 new games to the award winning Audio Game Hub with a fresh instalment of new features and sensational sound-effects!

Race against the clock and disarm bombs in Bomb Disarmer, follow Simon as he leads you through unlocking complicated patterns in Super Simon, or sit at the round table and enjoy a casual game of Blackjack.

Read Audio Game Hub's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Audio Game Hub's App Store page

FruitPot: Slots & More - Vegas Casino & Surprises (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

FruitPot: Not your typical slot machine. Enjoy the best features of slot machines, puzzles and life simulation games, mixed in the most amusing experience ever! 96% Five Star Reviews can't be wrong!

All the excitement of slot machines combined with original challenges:

  • Heaps of FREE CHIPS, prizes and surprises at your fingertips.
  • Enjoy slots, lucky wheel, card games, roulette, and many more bonus games!
  • Test your skills on the highly entertaining fruit machine with its classic ‘nudge’, ‘hold’ and ‘bet’ buttons.
  • Fill the FruitPot, win the Jackpot and watch your fortune grow.
  • Spend the chips you’ve earned on products in the stores, collect new symbols and earn bigger prizes.
  • NO INTERNET connection required to play.
  • Complete VoiceOver integration.
  • ENJOY FOR FREE, now also on your Apple Watch!
  • New: Save five different games on iCloud and share them between your devices.

Current Version: 1.6.2 (July 26, 2017)

Changes in Version 1.6.2

Good news! There's a new game inside the laboratory: a five reel slot machine with nudges, wildcards and jackpots. Finally strategy meets five reels slots! - There's also some fixes to improve your game experience! All this enhancements were suggested by gamers like you. Remember to send us your ideas and advice to fruitpot@icloud.com

Read Fruitpot's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Fruitpot's App Store page

myTWiT - Your own personal TWiT Network (iOS,

myTWiT is your own personal TWiT Network on iOS!

Add your favorite shows to myTWiT for quick access to the latest episodes! Your favorite shows sync via iCloud across your iOS devices!

  • View the TWiT Live stream directly from your iOS device and access the TWiT schedule!
  • View information about hosts and guests of an episode in one streamlined view!
  • Discover new content by checking out what other episodes they have appeared in!
  • Explore episode sponsors in one tap!
  • AirPlay episodes to your Apple TV!
  • Split Screen support for iPad!
  • Picture in Picture support for iPad!
  • Chromecast support!

Current Version: 1.0.4 (July 7, 2017)

Changes in Versions 1.0.3 and 1.0.4
  • dded support for Chromecast! You can now cast both audio and video versions of an episode to your Chromecast! Tap the cast icon when viewing episode details and then select audio or video!

Media Player Updates

  • Streamlined the look of the media player
  • Time elapsed now updates as you move the scrubber for more precise scrubbing
  • Removed the 10-second rewind button
  • Added 15-second fast forward and rewind buttons
  • Control Center Now Playing supports scrubbing and 15-second fast forward and rewind buttons

Accessibility Updates

  • Added richer support for VoiceOver including the media player
  • Added support for the Magic Tap and Z-Gesture
  • Thank you to Daniel and Greg for reaching out to me about these issues

Performance improvements and bug fixes

Read myTWiT's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit myTWiT's App Store page

Nearby Explorer (iOS, US$79.99)

Nearby Explorer is a full featured GPS app designed for use by people who are blind. Instead of just providing directions, it describes the environment in ways comparable to reading signage or observing road characteristics.

It uses onboard maps, so a data connection is not required, but if you have one, Nearby Explorer supplements the on board map data with crowd collected locations from Foursquare or Google Places. It includes complete maps for the United States and Canada which contain millions of points of interest. The onboard maps are over 4GB in size, so be sure the device you plan to use has enough available space before purchasing.

Nearby Explorer works with any device running iOS version 9 or later, but if the device does not contain its own GPS receiver, like most iPads and iPods, you must use an external GPS receiver. All iPhones contain GPS receivers.

Nearby Explorer works by letting you select from several different location related options about what to announce as you move. These include both typical items like street name and address and specialized options like approaching streets, intersection configurations, and nearby places and the distance and direction to them. (All announcements are optional.) All of this information is shown on the home screen and is available at any time, but typical use is to adjust the level of announcements, then lock the screen and put the device away. This keeps both hands free and let's your preferred voice speak the characteristics of the environment as you move.

You may also use the devices position and orientation to obtain additional targeted details such as pointing the end of the device to scan for businesses, even in a moving vehicle, or tilting it vertically to function as a compass, including a listing of streets in the indicated direction. This all works with the device locked, so one need not fuss with the touch screen while moving. You may even mark a point, then use the position of the device to get haptic feedback about that point's location.

Nearby Explorer includes a transit feature that provides detailed mass transit schedules for over 60 metropolitan areas in the U. S. and Canada. It treats transit stops just like favorites and points of interest by announcing their name and relative position as you move, but in addition, transit stops add next vehicle stop time, direction of travel, and route name to the announcements. You can use the transit schedules to look up times or even follow a route.

You may virtually move to any area in the U.S. or Canada and explore the road network, search, or use the transit maps for that area.

Current Version: 1.06.0 (July 17, 2017)

Changes in Version 1.06.0
  • Adds indoor support for selected venues
  • Adds OpenStreetMap as an address and search provider. Maps are currently only available for selected areas. All OpenStreetMap data are stored onboard
  • Adds radio buttons to the Search view for easier selection of the search provider
  • Sets accessibility focus properly in the Transit Stops view when backing out of the Routes view
  • Increases the number of intersections supported in an attempt to correct the occasional missing intersection
  • Adds a switch to Settings to control Indoor support
  • Adds a switch to Settings to control the expansion of street and city abbreviations
  • Adds a switch to Settings to control distance rounding
  • Doubles the amount of force required to trigger a shake on iPad

Read Nearby Explorer's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Nearby Explorer's App Store page

Weather Gods (iOS, US$2.99)

Meet the Gods: Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon delivering you the Weather as you have never experienced it before. Weather Gods redefines the weather app with painstakingly crafted data visualizations, procedural graphics and audio that enable you to literally see, hear and feel the weather. With no more weather icons to decode, the Weather Gods is simply the quickest, most engaging, most enjoyable way to get the accurate weather information you need.

The Weather Gods skilfully integrates premium weather data into an elegant, iOS Exclusive, easy-to-use interface that will delight casual users and weather enthusiasts alike.

With a wealth of rich weather data from the world’s most respected providers, the Weather Gods provide detailed site-based forecasts for over a million locations worldwide. Our advanced, next-generation notifications are easy to setup and bring you exactly the information you want right when you need it.

With 24 hour charts, observed weather, built in moon phase, widget, world clock and much, much more, the Weather Gods is a powerful personal time machine that lets you travel the world and visit the future. Please come join us on this exciting journey as we begin our mission to bring you the finest, most practical, most enjoyable weather app experience ever. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Current Version: 1.4.1 (July 21, 2017)

Changes in Versions 1.4 and 1.4.1
  • NEW: Apple Watch App and Complications with full Voiceover support
  • NEW: German localisation
  • NEW: Japanese localisation
  • UPDATE: Greek localisation for sticker accessibility labels
  • UPDATE: Improvements to offline mode
  • UPDATE: Improvements to Follow Me
  • UPDATE: Improved accessibility for main notifications screen
  • APPLE WATCH : NEW : Show day high and low on main screen
  • APPLE WATCH : NEW : Show today, tonight and tomorrow summary on main screen
  • APPLE WATCH : UPDATE: Improvements to the 48 hour timelines
  • APPLE WATCH : UPDATE : Big fixes and performance improvements.

Read Weather Gods' AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Weather Gods' App Store page

Recent News and Views

My Experiences With Apple Mac Computers Thus Far

By Will929 | July 30, 2017

When I made it to the twelfth grade, I had already taken a couple different music classes (piano and choir), and was looking for something new to try my hand in. I ended up in a class that taught audio production and music technology. It was quite a small class, and there was only one other person in it besides myself. I’m sure you can tell where this is going… Me being the only totally blind student in the entire school, the teacher was thrilled I had decided to take the class, and informed me that he had heard the Mac laptops had a screen reader built into them like the iOS devices, and from here I was set the assignment of learning how to Navigate GarageBand on an iMac independently. Thus began my learning of Voice Over (VO for short).

Needless to say, this was a train wreck. When VO was fired up on the iMac for the first time I felt a sense of familiarity already. Just hearing my preferred voice (Samantha) which I had requested the teacher switch to before turning speech on, say, “Voice Over on” made me feel right at home. Then I realized that I was, for a lack of a better word, totally and utterly screwed. There were so many key combinations to memorize, and pressing Enter (AKA Return) did nothing and instead Control, Option, and space had to be pressed to select something. Navigating was a nightmare because every time I had to move around the Control and Option keys had to be held by default, and this took a lot of time to get used to. Remember, I had no idea what I was doing, and was unaware of QuickNav being an option. Not to mention I had no experience with this version of Voice Over before, and had been an avid JAWS user since I started using computers. It should go without saying that I spent tens of minutes to locate whatever I needed to either interact with, select, or which keys I needed to hold down to perform different basic actions, and found myself confused by it all for quite a while. It didn’t help either that the classes were only forty five minutes long, and I only was present in this class for three days a week. It seemed that as soon as I would begin to make some headway on actually understanding what felt like a tiny corner of the tapestry that is Voice Over, the bell would interrupt and I’d have to quit and resume at a later time.

Read More: "My Experiences With Apple Mac Computers Thus Far"

Yo, Human! No Internet? What?: Accessing Life with Adaptive Technology

By Nicholas | July 25, 2017

The information hit me hard, almost not understandable. What did that service rep just say? No internet for almost two weeks? Really? I had her repeat the installation date again. Yup, no internet for two weeks. Wow.

We were moving into our new apartment in a couple of days, but, my face scrunched up trying to swallow the concept, no internet for two weeks. I even tried Googling "no internet," but only found people having trouble connecting to their internet service, which 'did' still exist. Ours however, I repeated it again so it would sink in, would not exist for two weeks. Uhg!

Read More: "Yo, Human! No Internet? What?: Accessing Life with Adaptive Technology"

Apple Releases iOS 10.3.3, macOS 10.12.6, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2

By AppleVis | July 19, 2017

Today has seen another round of software releases from Apple, with updates arriving for all of its platforms.

At the time of posting, full release notes for today's updates are not yet available. However, we are currently unaware of any outward-facing changes of note; with Apple's focus for these releases seemingly being on making the typical mix of bug fixes, security patches, and under-the-hood performance improvements.

We have been able to carry out some extremely limited testing of iOS 10.3.3 prior to today’s public release, and our experience suggests that blind and low vision users are likely to find no accessibility-related changes in this release.

Read More: "Apple Releases iOS 10.3.3, macOS 10.12.6, watchOS 3.2.3, and tvOS 10.2.2"

Dave Nason and Tyler Stephen Join the AppleVis Editorial Team

By AppleVis | July 12, 2017

We are pleased to announce that Dave Nason and Tyler Stephen have joined the AppleVis Editorial Team.

Dave and Tyler are both long-term contributors to the AppleVis community, and they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.

Outside of work where he uses Windows, Dave uses all Apple products and has done so for many years—thanks to the built-in accessibility features. Tyler brings over 10 years of experience with macOS to the AppleVis Editorial Team, and he is hopeful that his efforts finding and reporting accessibility bugs will make macOS a better experience for VoiceOver users.

We are very excited to welcome Dave and Tyler to our Team, and we look forward to their contributions to the community as AppleVis opens a new chapter in its history.

We also want to take this opportunity to publicly thank everyone who expressed an interest in joining the AppleVis Editorial Team. We were thrilled by both the number of people who applied, as well as by the wealth of knowledge and experience that so many could bring to the table; this speaks volumes about the value that AppleVis has to people in our community.

Read More: "Dave Nason and Tyler Stephen Join the AppleVis Editorial Team"

This Month in Podcasts

An introduction to Audio Game Hub 2 for iOS

In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher introduces us to Audio Game Hub 2.

Audio Game Hub is a set of experimental arcade audio games that use audio as their primary interface – making them accessible for both sighted and non-sighted users.

Audio Game Hub 2.0 introduces 3 new games: race against the clock and disarm bombs in Bomb Disarmer, follow Simon as he leads you through unlocking complicated patterns in Super Simon, or sit at the round table and enjoy a casual game of Blackjack.

Audio Game Hub is a free download from the iOS App Store, with some add-ons and games available as in-app purchases.

Listen to "An introduction to Audio Game Hub 2 for iOS"

A Demonstration of Seeing AI, a New iOS App for the Blind that Describes Nearby People, Text, Objects and More

In this podcast, Darrell Bowles gives us a demonstration of Seeing AI: Talking Camera for the Blind, a free iOS app from Microsoft.

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:

  • Short Text - Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
  • Documents - Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
  • Products - Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
  • People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
  • Scenes (early preview) - Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
  • Images in other apps - Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.

This app is currently only available in the U.S., Canada, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore; but is reported to be coming soon to more countries.

Listen to "A Demonstration of Seeing AI, a New iOS App for the Blind that Describes Nearby People, Text, Objects and More"

Watch Your Cable or Local Free to Air TV With Channels

In this podcast, mplsjeff demonstrates Channels — Live TV, an app that makes watching TV on your Apple TV a breeze and accessible.

App Store Description:

Live TV, right next to your apps. Channels lets you play, pause, and rewind local or cable TV directly on your Apple TV using your HDHomeRun device. Now. you really can have one device to rule them all!

Listen to "Watch Your Cable or Local Free to Air TV With Channels"

AppleVis Extra #50: Ryan McLeod, 2017 Apple Design Award Winner for Accessibility

In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Thomas Domville and Alex Hall meet with Ryan McLeod, a 2017 Apple Design Award Winner for his iOS App, Blackbox - think outside the box.

Every year at its Worldwide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), Apple celebrates and acknowledges through its Apple Design Awards the mobile and desktop apps which raise the bar in design, technology and innovation. The award to Ryan was cited by Apple as recognition of Blackbox being "fully accessible, and offering unique and ingenious gameplay, deep iOS integration, and clever innovations".

According to Apple’s own report on the 2017 Design Awards, Blackbox is:

... a refreshingly stimulating, engrossing, and clever puzzle game that breaks through the “fourth wall” of iPhone to take you beyond the screen and make your world a part of each solution. Designed and developed by one person, Blackbox was chosen as an Apple Design Award winner for being fully accessible, and offering unique and ingenious gameplay, deep iOS integration, and clever innovations. Blackbox offers puzzles that rely on minimalistic clues, deliberate movement, elegant animations, and visual cues to expand creative thinking and encourage players to solve puzzles by turning, shouting, clicking, snapping, and more. It is fully accessible, taking a highly visual interface designed to be navigated by touch and and other sensory inputs, and adding a brilliant sonic interface that enables a new world of gameplay for everyone. It uses haptics for sensory feedback to make puzzles more personal, nuanced, and tactile, and relies heavily on the iPhone’s camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer to enable sensory inputs. Additionally, by using CoreAudio, CoreLocation, Core Telephony, AVCaptureSession, iCloud, and GameCenter in novel ways, this app takes advantage of an enormous range of iOS technologies. Blackbox challenges the player's ingenuity and creativity through innovative presentation and unique interactions. The result is a game that is impressively clever and unlike anything we’ve played before.

As many of you will know, Ryan has actively engaged with members of the AppleVis community in his efforts to enhance the gameplay and user experience of Blackbox for VoiceOver users.

Blackbox - think outside the box is a free download from the iTunes App Store.

Listen to "AppleVis Extra #50: Ryan McLeod, 2017 Apple Design Award Winner for Accessibility"

A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts

Helping to Support AppleVis

AppleVis is managed by a small team of unpaid volunteers and receives no external funding or sponsorship. So, if you enjoy and benefit from what we do at AppleVis, please consider helping to make this possible by making a single or regular micro donation at www.applevis.com/donate All donations are truly appreciated and help to cover the financial costs of maintaining and developing AppleVis for the community.

The AppleVis Editorial Team
www.applevis.com

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