Welcome to the May 2015 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which aims to highlight what’s new and noteworthy in the accessible app landscape. Below, you’ll find a recap of the best content posted to AppleVis - from new app entries, to app updates, to podcasts and blogs. 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 Spades (Free with In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Spades is a fully accessible Spades card game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.
Blindfold Spades is a trick taking game where the spade suit is always trump. First you decide how many tricks you will be able to take, and you bid that amount. You play against 2 computer players who also bid how many tricks they think they can take.
You score highest if you make exactly the number of tricks that you bid, and you lose the most if you don't make at least the number of tricks that you bid. A help on how to play Spades is included with the app.
Current Version: 1.0.2 (May 8, 2015)
Blindfold War (Free with In-App Purchases)
Blindfold War is a fully accessible classic card War game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.
Each player starts with a deck of 26 cards. The game takes place through a series of battles in which each player reveals one card. The player with the highest card wins both cards. If both players reveal a card of the same rank, a war ensues, giving each player a chance to win many of their opponent's cards.
The cards are not visible; instead, you play by listening. Tap the screen to play your next card, and the computer plays its next card too.
Blindfold War tells the cards you and the computer played, and the number of total cards in your hand. You can customize the game to your liking: how much extra information is spoken and how quickly it is spoken.
Current Version: 1.1.4 (May 7, 2015)
DoublePost - Quickly update your social networks from iPhone or Apple Watch! (Free with In-App Purchases)
Tap, type, send! Quickly send updates to Twitter, Facebook, or both without all the hassle. Just start the app and you're ready to go! DoublePost can even format your posts automatically to best fit each service.
Current Version: 2.2 (April 28, 2015)
Drafts 4 - Quickly Capture Notes, Share Anywhere! (US$9.99)
Drafts is the quick, easy way to capture and share text. In Drafts, text comes first – open the app and get a new, blank draft – ready to type. Don't get bogged down in a timeline to tweet or post to Facebook. Don't tap your way through multiple screens to get down an email or SMS. Don't navigate folders, create files and name them just to jot down a note or create a todo.
Current Version: 4.2.2 (May 20, 2015)
Google Photos (Free)
Google Photos is the home for all your photos and videos, searchable and organized by the places and things that matter.
- VISUAL SEARCH: Your photos are now searchable by the places and things that appear in your photos. Looking for that fish taco you ate in Hawaii? Just search “Hawaii” or “food” to find it even if it doesn’t have a description.
- AUTO BACKUP: Keep all your photos and videos safe and accessible from any device. Choose free, unlimited cloud storage available at high quality or store up to 15GB original size for free (shared across your Google account).
- SAVE SPACE ON YOUR DEVICE: Google Photos can help you clear safely backed up photos and videos from your device so you never have to worry about deleting a photo to make space.
- BRING PHOTOS TO LIFE: Automatically create montage movies, interactive stories, collages, animations, and more.
- EDITING: Transform photos with the tap of a finger. Use simple, yet powerful, photo and video editing tools to apply filters, adjust colors, and more.
- SHARING: Share hundreds of photos instantly with shareable links and use whichever apps you’d like to share.
Premium Video Poker (Free with In-App Purchases)
From the AppleVis Editors: Coming from the makers of Dice World, it should be no surprise that this free iOS game is completely accessible with VoiceOver.
Features include progressive jackpot increases, free coins, multiple betting options and . optional auto hold.
Current Version: 1.0 (May 23, 2015)
Notable App Updates
Audio Defence : Zombie Arena (US$4.99)
A zombie shooter audio game. Made from gut-wrenching 3D binaural sound, for a new kind of weird immersion.
You are the blind warrior, fighting off wave after wave of Dr Bastard’s Zombies. With 3D binaural sound the zombies really are all around you.
Current Version: 1.1 (May 19, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 1.1
This release includes a number of fixes and improvements. For VoiceOver users, these specifically include:
- Fixed swipe problem on iOS 8.3
- You can now flip tarot cards in VO mode
- 2 finger double tap will perform Accessibility Magic shortcut in some menu screen: replay on endless game over, start the game on tarot screen, etc
- Implemented Accessibility escape gesture: perform a two-finger Z-shape to go back to the previous page
- Removed menu animations on some screens to allow smoother navigation
- Added in-game button mode support for VO (Tap top right button to Fire your Weapon. Tap bottom right button to Reload. Tap top left button to use Melee Weapon. Tap bottom left button to Switch Gun.)
- Added Test headphones in settings for VO users (to check your headphones are the right way)
- Fixed missing labels in VO mode (game over screen for example)
The KNFB Reader converts printed text into high quality speech to provide accurate, fast, and efficient access to both single and multiple page documents with the tap of a button on the iPhone. Picture accuracy is facilitated by a Field of View Report, Automatic Page Detection, and Tilt Control.
Our app allows users to capture pictures of virtually any type of printed text, including mail, receipts, class handouts, memos and many other documents that you may encounter.
Current Version: 1.5 (May 4, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 1.5
This update adds support for the iPad Air 2 and fixes VoiceOver issues with the language picker and the Field of View button.
Launcher with Notification Center Widget (Free with In-App Purchases)
Launcher is the first must-have app for iOS 8 that puts your favorites at your fingertips. When you install it, you get a new iOS 8 Today Widget which can be added to Notification Center on your iPhone or iPad so that it's always just one swipe away!
Why worry about what apps to put in your dock or your home screen when you can put over a dozen app, web and contact launchers in your Launcher widget? Unlike the dock or home screen, Notification Center can always be accessed with one swipe even if you're in an app, an app folder or even the lock screen.
With just one tap in the Notification Center you can:
- Call, message, email, and facetime the people you contact the most.
- Get directions home or search for nearby restaurants, coffee shops, or whatever you're looking for at your current location.
- Quickly access your favorite web sites.
- Perform actions within a number of apps. Send a Yo, load a specific page on Facebook, fire off a canned email or message, tweet, run Workflows, and more.
- Launch your most frequently used apps -- thousands of apps built-in. (NOTE: Not all apps on your device are supported)
Current Version: 1.2 (May 27, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 1.2
In addition to some minor fixes and improvements, this release specifically improves the accessibility of the app with VoiceOver.
Seeing Eye GPS (Free to Download; In-App Purchase Subscription Required)
The Seeing Eye, the pioneer in guide dogs, and Sendero Group, the pioneers of accessible GPS, have teamed up to create The Seeing Eye GPS™. Almost 20 years of user feedback and feature requests are behind the design of all Sendero GPS products. The accessible features in The Seeing Eye GPS™ are only the beginning of what is yet to come as users help in evolving this first fully accessible GPS product for the iPhone. The Seeing Eye GPS™ is a fully accessible turn-by-turn GPS iPhone app with all the normal navigation features plus features unique to blind users.
Unique to The Seeing Eye GPS™ * Instead of multiple layers of menus, the three important navigation elements are on the lower portion of every screen: Route, POIs and Location. * At intersections, the cross street and its orientation are announced * Intersections are described (e.g. four-way) with the clock face orientation of the streets. * There are two choices for POI data (Google Places and Foursquare). * Directions are configured appropriately for Pedestrian and Vehicle routes, including heads-up announcements for approaching turns, turn now, continue straight and upcoming turns. * If one wanders off the route, it's automatically recalculated and updated turn information is announced. * Point your phone in a given direction to hear what is nearby with the LookAround Wand. * Nearby Points of interest and intersections are automatically announced. * Ability to run in the background or with the screen locked for iOS 7. If you are running an older version of iOS 6 only the sound effects will play and the phone will vibrate at turns and at your destination but no speech output. Note: Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.
Current Version: 1.5.3 (May 8, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 1.5.3
Seeing Eye GPS version 1.5.3 includes support for Google POIs via Google Places, as well as other VoiceOver improvements. One can change the POI source to Google by activating the POI menu in the app.
Recent News and Views
Way Cool to No Way: Apple Rumors for WWDC and Beyond
By Mehgcap | May 31, 2015
How Will Apple Finish Out 2015?
With Apple's annual Worldwide Developer's Conference now just days away, a lot of people are wondering what new shinies we'll see. Will there be a new Apple TV? Yet another update to some Mac or other? A better iPad Mini? What will iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 bring to the table? Will Apple continue its headlong rush into dazzling new features at the expense of quality, or will it slow down and start refining what it has already done? what shots did Google's May announcements fire across Apple's bow, and how might it respond? What will the fall bring? New iPhones, to be sure, but what will they look like, and what bits of advanced technology might they sport in their super thin casings? If the iPad doesn't get a mention at WWDC 2015, will it be updated in the fall? Where does the supposed iPad Pro fit in, and is it even real?
We'll all know the full score for WWDC by June 8, but the closer that day comes, the faster the rumor mill churns. Apple's fall event won't be too far behind, and then we're into the holiday shopping season, then Christmas, then it's 2016 and we get to do it all again, except with even cooler gadgets. While I don't put much stock in Apple rumors, some of what I've seen would be really wonderful if it were true. Some, of course, is way crazy. Come join me as I take a look at what the mill has spit out so far, and use some of my own suppositions to round things out. I'll link to specific stories where I can, but much of my information comes from this wonderful roundup of WWDC rumors. This is my first-ever post to be based solely on rumors and my own thoughts, but I think we'll both have a good time, dear reader. The only question is…where to start?
Accessible to the Core: My Apple Watch Try-On Experience
By Michael Hansen | May 18, 2015
In late April, Apple began offering the opportunity for users to explore and experience Apple Watch's accessibility features at try-on appointments. After confirming that my local Apple Store had a Watch set up and ready (all stores should now have Watch units available for accessibility demonstrations, but my appointment was at the beginning of the rollout), I went into the store to check the Apple Watch out for myself.
Revisiting the Reasons Why I Wasn’t Going to Buy an Apple Watch; But Still Did
By David Goodwin | May 15, 2015
Last month David Woodbridge shared with us 13 reasons why he wanted an Apple Watch. In response, I gave some reasons why I would not be buying one.
However, the voice giving me what seemed like good reasons for not buying an Apple Watch was ultimately outshouted by another which kept insisting that I really, really wanted one.
So, yes, despite my claims to the contrary, I ended up placing an order for an Apple Watch Sport. Not for the first time in my life, the gadget lover and early-adopter won out over the voice of apparent common sense.
Having now spent some time with the Watch, I thought that it might be interesting to revisit some of those reasons I had previously given for not buying one. Would they still stand up? Would I now have found reasons for needing an Apple Watch in my life? Or would common sense have been proven right, and not only did I not need an Apple Watch, but I didn’t actually want one either?
Apple Releases Watch OS 1.0.1 With Accessibility Fixes
By AppleVis | May 19, 2015
Apple has today released Watch OS 1.0.1, marking the first update to the Apple Watch OS since the device was released in April.
According to Mac Rumors, the 1.0.1 update contains various bug fixes and improvements - accessibility being among them - as well as support for the new emojis found in iOS 8.3.
Apple has confirmed to us that this release fixes the following problems encountered by VoiceOver users in the first release:
- Fixed bug keeping VoiceOver users from clearing notifications.
- Fixed bug where users were getting stuck in Glances.
- Fixed problem with deleting emails.
AppleVis Community Inducts KNFBReader and Be My Eyes into the iOS App Hall of Fame
By AppleVis | May 1, 2015
We are pleased to announce the results of the public vote for the 2015 inductees into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame.
The AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame is one of the ways in which the AppleVis community seeks to recognize the hard work that developers put into making great applications that are fully accessible to blind and low-vision users. These apps can be liberating; empowering; life-changing; provide access to information that sighted users take for granted; or, in some cases, they can just be good fun!
Participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day by Reaching Out to iOS and OS X Developers
By AppleVis | May 21, 2015
Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and we are asking everybody to use this as an opportunity to reach out to iOS and OS X developers - to either encourage them to make their applications accessible and usable by the vision-impaired; or to show your appreciation for applications which already are.
GAAD was created as a mechanism to reach out to the people who “build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use”; raising awareness of both how and why they should be striving to ensure that technology is accessible to all its potential users. To learn more about GAAD, read the blog post by Joe Devon that inspired it.
This Month in Podcasts
Apple Watch Basics
David Woodbridge has added more podcasts to his comprehensive series devoted to the Apple Watch. Topics covered include using some of the features of the Watch and its native apps.
All of David’s podcasts about the Apple Watch can be found at www.applevis.com/applevis-podcast/apple-watch
AppleVis Extra #30: A Roundtable Discussion on Hopes and Expectations for iOS 9 and OS X 10.11
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Michael Hansen, Scott Davert, Alex Hall, and Jamie Pauls discuss their hopes and expectations for the upcoming releases of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 later in 2015.
AppleVis Extra #29: Shalin Shah, Developer of Voice - Take A Picture And Have It Spoken
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Thomas and Scott meet with Shalin Shah, developer of Voice - Take A Picture And Have It Spoken.
This free iOS app allows you to take a picture of anything that has text on it, and then have that text read to you within a few seconds. The app includes a number of advanced features that you might not expect to find on a free app, such as a book mode, a field of view report, auto-capture, Smart Crop, column detection and reading, document background cleaning, and a lot more.
Shalin tells us about the history of the app, it’s current state, and some of what he hopes to add and improve in future updates.
The story of Shalin and his app is even more compelling considering that he is a 15 year old High School student. If, like us, you are impressed with what he has achieved with this app, please be sure to let him know.
Listen to podcast: "AppleVis Extra #29: Shalin Shah, Developer of Voice - Take A Picture And Have It Spoken"
Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for Voice - Take A Picture And Have It Spoken
Visit the App Store page for Voice - Take A Picture And Have It Spoken
An Introduction To The Calendar Application On Mac OS X
In this podcast, Alex Hall gives us an introduction to using the Mac OS X Calendar with VoiceOver.
While it does not happen in this podcast, VoiceOver will sometimes skip over events in Month View. This problem only affects some users, and can often be avoided by using Week View instead. It has been reported to us that Apple is working on a fix, so be sure to keep your Mac up to date. This is as of OS X 10.10.3.
Quick Tip: How to Rewind or FastForward Speech When Using the Say All Command on Mac OS X
In this podcast. Alex Hall shows us how it is possible to either rewind or fast forward speech when using the VoiceOver ‘Say All’ command on Mac OS X.
Access Talks From Some of the World’s Most Fascinating People With TED for iOS
In this podcast, AnonyMouse gives us a walk-through and demonstration of the free iOS app from TED.
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages.
The Blind Swordsman; a Self-Voicing Audio Game for Mac OS X
In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher gives us a walk-through and demonstration of The Blind Swordsman, a self-voicing audio game for OS X.
As the title suggests, you are a swordsman who lost his sight. The only person who can give it back to you is a warlock, who ives at the end of a particularly dangerous path. So, your goal is to get to the warlock and defend yourself on the way.
The game has a story and an endless survival mode and quite a few achievements to unlocked, so there’s quite a bit of replay value.
Challenge Your Driving Skills With Audio Rally Racing For Mac
In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher introduces us to Audio Rally Racing, the much-anticipated new game from TiconBlu.
This game lets you choose between 11 cars and 50 different circuits; and single race or tournament mode.
Hit The Jackpot With Premium Video Poker For iOS
In this podcast, AnonyMouse gives us a walk-through and demonstration of Premium Video Poker.
Coming from the makers of Dice World, it should be no surprise that this free iOS game is completely accessible with VoiceOver.
Features include progressive jackpot increases, free coins, multiple betting options and . optional auto hold.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website in the past month can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts