AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for May 2018

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Welcome to the May 2018 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series 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

Beatstar (macOS, Free)

In this game, you will test your rhythm skills against hundreds of unlockable soundpacks! Try it now!

The new beatstar is now available, with the following new features:

  • Now available for windows and mac!
  • Achievements, minigames, and beatcoins: Unlock many user created soundpacks and much more.
  • Pack editor is now inside the game!
  • And much more!

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

Blindfold Runner (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Runner is a fully accessible endless runner game inspired by the games like Temple Run. The objective is to keep running, jumping over or sliding under obstacles, turning left and right when needed, and collect prizes. You can play this game forever - there's no official finish - just try to get the highest score you can before losing.

There are four types of obstacles: Things you need to jump over, such as rivers. You'll hear an ascending tone. Swipe up to jump. Things you need to slide under, such as a truck. You'll hear a descending tone. Swipe down to slide. Path goes to the right. You'll hear a sound move from your left ear to your right ear indicating something is blocking the path straight ahead, and turning right is the only direction to go. Swipe right to turn right. Path goes to the left. You'll hear a different sound move from your right ear to your left ear. Swipe left to turn left.

There are also coins that you can get on the left and right sides of the road, and in the Expedition Game, supplies that you can purchase to use on your expedition.

This game can be played with or without headphones or earbuds, but when starting out, using earbuds will make it easier. This game was suggested by people who enjoy Blindfold Racer and Blindfold Hopper

Current Version: 1.6.8 (May 22, 2018)

Read Blindfold Runner's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Blindfold Runner's App Store page 

Blindfold Video (iOS, Free)

Blindfold Video automatically records a video as soon as it starts.

We've had lots of people ask for a video recorder that starts recording automatically.

Using the iPhone Video Camera in voice-over mode can be burdensome, especially when it's critical to record something, or you are highly stressed.

For example, recording a video helps you when:

  • Another dog attacks your guide dog.
  • Someone is denying you service because of your vision impairment.
  • You feel you are in danger.

Once your video is recorded, you can view it, or send it to someone else, via email, text, facebook or any other communication app you have on your phone.

Read Blindfold Video's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Blindfold Video's App Store page 

BreakR (iOS, Free)

BreakR is a FREE voice-messaging platform for people on the move.

Turn your phone into walkie-talkie and use voice activation to be able to listen to the incoming messages and reply without having to hold any buttons.

Stay in touch with your friends when you are driving, running or skiing without compromising your safety.

  • If you can’t talk, type your message and it will be played as audio to the recipient with our TEXT TO SPEECH feature.
  • Change your voice with funny VOICE CHANGER filters to surprise your friends.
  • MUTE the conversation at any time to listen to your messages later.
  • Chat one-on-one or in a GROUP.

Current Version: 1.2 (May 18, 2018)

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

Drafts 5: Capture ‣‣ Act (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Drafts, where text starts. Quickly capture text and send it almost anywhere!

Drafts lets you turn text into action – it’s a quick notebook, handy editor, and writing automation tool, all in one. Instead of tapping around other apps, capture in Drafts first. Open it and write right away, then do something useful with your words.

HOW DRAFTS WORKS

CAPTURE EVERYWHERE: Drafts opens to a new page with the keyboard ready so you can type immediately. Go hands-free with Dictation, or ask Siri to "Create a note using Drafts".

Drafts lets you get things down before you forget – no choosing document templates or waiting for your file to download.

USE YOUR WORDS: Drafts is a launching-off point for text – use the actions to copy it, share it, or deep link into other apps and services. Compose a tweet or message, create a file in Dropbox, send a task off to Reminders – there are hooks into tons of your favorite apps.

Current Version: 5.1.1 (May 21, 2018)

Read Drafts 5: Capture ‣‣ Act's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information  Visit Drafts 5: Capture ‣‣ Act's App Store page 

Gladys (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Gladys is a drag-and-drop shelf that holds things you want to set aside, such as links, text snippets, map locations, contacts, images, photos, emails, messages and much more (even if the application that the information came from is removed)

It works with any app that supports drag-and-drop, and helps keep you focused by letting you quickly set something aside, without having to consider where it needs to be dropped, or having to constantly switch between apps.

  • Works with any app that supports drag-and-drop, but also provides an extension for apps that don't yet support it, as well as the ability to paste items to & from the clipboard.
  • Quickly search for items inside the app or via Spotlight. Access your top items from the home screen / Today widget, your Apple Watch, and even iMessage.
  • Annotate items with notes, custom titles, and tag items with labels that allow you to easily categorise, browse, and sort your collection.
  • Take your collection with you on your iPhone, and keep it updated by turning on automatic iCloud syncing.
  • Import/export/merge collection archives simply by dragging.
  • Ideal for bookmarking between apps: For example you can quickly return to dropped email items by selecting 'Open' in their info view, or quickly share links between different browsers.
  • Experienced users can get details on dropped items and extract or modify specific data components (e.g. extract the URL of an image link, instead of the whole item, add a new image, or edit the title).
  • Power users can use Gladys' Files extension to view/edit items in-place from other apps, as well as exporting all items in a ZIP file for sharing.
  • Technical users can inspect binary data using the in-built hex viewer, download items pointed to by web links, and even archive web pages.
  • Contains no analytics, ratings prompts, or noise.

Gladys is free for casual use (up to 10 simultaneous items). Power users with larger libraries can expand Gladys to hold unlimited items with a 99 cent in-app-purchase.

Current Version: 1.1.15 (May 18, 2018)

Read Gladys' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Gladys' App Store page 

Google News (iOS, Free)

Google News organizes what’s happening in the world to help you learn more about the stories that matter to you.

With Google News, you’ll see:

  • Your briefing – It can be nearly impossible to keep up with every story you care about. With your briefing, easily stay in the know about what’s important and relevant to you. Your briefing updates throughout the day bringing you the top five stories you need to know, including local, national, and world content.
  • Full coverage – Understand the full context on any story with just a tap. Google News gives you everything online about a story and organizes it for you – highlighting different perspectives, a timeline of key events, FAQs, important people, and more.
  • Credible sources – Find quality content from a diverse set of credible publishers and discover sources you haven’t heard of before.
  • Stories, for you – Keep up with what’s happening on the topics you care about, whether that’s travel, politics, sports, tech, or fashion.

Current Version: 5.0.1 (May 17, 2018)

Read Google News' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Google News' App Store page 

Hosted Games (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

The choice is yours! Joust for love and glory, solve an eldritch murder, find romance, or battle aliens with Magitek?

"Hosted Games" is a magnificent library of interactive novels, written by authors like you. Hosted Games are entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Try a few of these fan favorites:

  • The Great Tournament — Train as a squire and become a knight in order to win the great tournament
  • Highlands, Deep Waters — A murderer, a cultist, and an investigator walk into a pub. Which one are you?
  • Magikiras — Don powered armor and fight against terrorists and eldritch beings
  • Doomsday on Demand — Face enemies and survive in the demolished district after nuclear bombings
  • Imprisoned — Grab your gear and prepare yourself for a hard fantasy quest
  • The Daily Blackmail — Something is rotten in City Hall—can you uncover it and...win a Pulitzer?
  • Popcorn, Soda ... Murder? — A thrilling multiple-choice murder mystery
  • Mobile Armored Marine: Mission to Far Hope — Blast into action as an Armored Marine, and uncover the dark secret of Far Hope
  • Zebulon — Journey through space and uncover the secrets of the asteroid Zebulon
  • Marine Raider — Lead a platoon of Marine Raiders to turn the tide of World War 2

Authors just like you have developed these games using ChoiceScript, a simple programming language for writing multiple-choice interactive novels. Writing games with ChoiceScript is easy and fun, even for authors with no programming experience. Learn more at http://hostedgames.org

Current Version: 1.2.5 (May 29, 2018)

Read Hosted Games' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Hosted Games' App Store page 

My Day off Work (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Your alarm goes off and you have a momentous decision to make – get up, or stay in bed? It’s your first big choice but far from your last.

"My Day off Work" is a 240,000 word interactive fantasy novel by Andrew J. Schaefer, where your choices control the story. It's entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

You’ll have 24 hours to explore your world and the myriad treasures within it. Every decision opens new doors and closes others; every choice you make takes you to a new fork in the path. You might meet new friends, explore hidden rooms, or discover secret treasures. You could find yourself fighting a relentless killing machine, joyriding in a luxury sports car, or relaxing in a sleek lounge with the city’s movers and shakers while soothing the baby you’ve just agreed to watch.

No two games are any more similar than you want them to be. Compelling plotlines and funny asides keep things relentlessly entertaining. You might even learn a few things, but only if you want to.

It’s all your choice. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel? And is it the sun? Or an oncoming train?

  • Enjoy your surprise day off work.
  • Tackle tough choices like whether to get dressed, what to eat, and when to leave the house.
  • Explore the myriad paths a bustling city has to offer.
  • Look for hidden options, secret choices, and unexpected twists.
  • Experience a different story every time, from tragic to provocative to hilarious.

Read My Day off Work's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit My Day off Work's App Store page 

Reminder, Reminders with Voice (iOS, Free With In-App Purchase)

Reminder with Calendar and Voice Reminders is a powerful reminder app, you can easily set up all kind of reminders. Use your own voice recordings or pick a song from your music library and set it as the reminder sound. They will play when the reminder is due (Available on iOS 9 and later).

Reminders are fully configurable: Pre-Alarms, Auto-Snooze, Snooze, Reschedule, Custom Messages, Custom Sounds, Custom Images, Notes and More. Practically any type of reminder can be set:

Main Features

  • Easy to use for everyone
  • Use your own voice as the reminder sound. It will play when the reminder is due (Available on iOS 9 and later)
  • Pick a song from your music library and set it as the reminder sound (Available on iOS 9 and later)
  • The Auto-Snooze feature allows to repeat the alarm up to 5 times at regular intervals (e.g. 1 min, 10 mins, 30 mins) until you take action
  • Snooze a reminder or mark it as "Done" directly from the lock screen or notification banner
  • Pre-Alarms: Get an alarm prior to the actual due date
  • Add images or photos to each reminder for easy identification
  • Reschedule reminders to a new time and date in the future
  • It has a calendar to show all reminders by month
  • Easy one tap to turn individual reminders on or off
  • Option to pause all reminders when you don't want to be disturbed
  • Backup and restore reminders on the same device or multiple devices
  • More than 80 built-in images
  • 30 built-in alarm sounds

General

  • Full VoiceOver accessibility support
  • No internet connection required
  • App doesn't need to be open to receive notifications
  • Universal App, full native support for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Current Version: 2.1 (December 19, 2017)

Read Reminder, Reminders with Voice's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Reminder, Reminders with Voice's App Store page 

TheGame Nothing is as it seems (iOS, Free)

The World’s First Interactive Audiobook App

Based on 2016 YA Book Praised by Deepak Chopra and Jack Canfield – “THE GAME: Nothing is as it Seems,” conceives existence as a virtual reality game, where you are born into the program, your feelings run the binary code and Earth is a playing field for your infinite consciousness!

  • Geared towards teens, 12 years and up, THE GAME has also garnered a wide adult following for its unique insight. Deepak Chopra said “Heather Noël represents a welcomed new addition to the great storytellers of the human spirit” and Jack Canfield called the story “a thrilling fantasy-adventure that opens the heart and mind, and takes the reader on a journey of infinite possibilities.”
  • THE GAME: Interactive Audiobook App is a 10+ hour audio-adventure. Similar to "Choose Your Own Adventure" novels, but in addition to an exciting narrative, this innovative game is designed to entertain while opening your Inner World through a sophisticated combination of transformative technologies, guided imagery and psychoacoustic sound frequencies.
  • THE GAME app is completely free of charge. There is no advertising or in-game sales, and it can be played on a computer so schools can offer students the opportunity to develop their emotional intelligence while playing a fun and exciting game."
  • As you listen to the story you unlock opportunities to ‘reprogram your source code’ and experience the story on a deeper, more personal level.
  • CREATE YOUR OWN VERSION OF THE AUDIOBOOK: New versions of the story can be created and saved each time the game is played, with the option to play back the entire audio adventure seamlessly.
  • What if you could develop your emotional intelligence (with no effort at all) and understand how to navigate your own life by simply playing a game? What if you had that opportunity when you were a teenager? What if you still have that opportunity as an adult?
  • A game of pure imagination where progress along the fictional narrative arc is mirrored in your own life!
  • Your Inner World experiences during THE GAME arise and are bio-enhanced by psychoacoustic sound frequencies which interact with the mind on a subliminal level.
  • The ONLY story-driven electronic game on the market not rated M 17+.
  • Parents and teens, students and teachers can play individually and find common ground, shared experiences and communicational tools.
  • High Quality Audio (10+ hours)
  • Hands Free! Simply TAP to play, pause or make a choice!

Current Version: 1.1.3 (May 17, 2017)

Read TheGame Nothing is as it seems' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit TheGame Nothing is as it seems' App Store page 

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

iOS
Mac
Apple Watch
Apple TV

Notable App Updates

Be My Eyes – Helping the blind (iOS, Free)

Access visual assistance on demand, if you are blind or visually impaired, or lend your eyes to the blind or visually impaired if you are sighted.

Be My Eyes is all about connecting blind or visually impaired with sighted volunteers, to help the blind or visually impaired lead more independent lives. Benefiting and contributing to the community is easy.

Blind or visually impaired users can request help from a sighted volunteer, who will receive a notification. As soon as the first sighted user accepts the request, a live audio-video connection will be established between the two parts. The sighted helper can now assist the blind or visually impaired, through the video connection from the blind or visually impaired user’s rear-facing camera.

As a sighted user, you are part of the big Be My Eyes volunteer-network, so don’t worry about leaving a blind person hanging, if you are not able to answer a request. We will simply forward the request and find the next available volunteer.

The blind or visually impaired user can need help with anything from knowing the expiry date on the milk, to making sure that their clothes match.

Current Version: 3.0.4 (May 11, 2018)

Changes in Version 3.0.3-3.0.4
  • Our blind or visually impaired users can now make calls using Siri! Use sentences like "Call a volunteer with Be My Eyes" or "Make a call with Be My Eyes".
  • Translated into even more languages
  • Minor bug fixes and improvements

Read Be My Eyes' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Be My Eyes' App Store page 

KNFB Reader (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

KNFB Reader gives you instant access to print anytime and anywhere.

KNFB Reader 3.0 is a rapid and efficient text recognition app. Its text-to-speech, text-to-Braille, and text highlighting tools make it valuable for blind, low-vision, dyslexic, and others with reading differences.

Use it to import or take a photo of anything containing text. Take a photo and the app reads text out loud or displays it on a connected refreshable Braille display. Read with more ease thanks to the simultaneous highlighting of the sentence and word that is being read on the picture or in the plain text document. The app helps you get a good photo with special alignment tools, including spoken and vibration guidance. Snap multiple pages, such as a book, for later reading.

Winner of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 AppleVis Golden Apple Award for Best Assistive Technology App.

  • Reads image-based PDF and JPEG files, and now tagged PDF and ePub files too!
  • Exports KNFB reader files as HTML or TXT files.
  • Navigates by line, sentence, word, or character.
  • Crop, rotate and edit the pictures you take before performing text recognition.
  • View documents in PDF presentation mode with double highlighting while reading.
  • View reading order and language-tagged PDF documents.
  • Add and remove bookmarks in PDF documents.
  • Switch between PDF view and reflowable text view.
  • Read documents in the increasingly popular ePub format.

The app also has synchronized text highlighting to help you read along with the spoken text, a benefit for people with dyslexia and other reading difficulties.

Need nutritional information from your breakfast cereal? KNFB reader can read labels. Out shopping and need a price? KNFB Reader can read price tags. Want to know what came in the mail? KNFB Reader captures it all.

Current Version: 3.0 (May 3, 2018)

Changes in Version 3.0

KNFB Reader 3.0 sports a whole new look and feel to help you work faster.

  • Crop, rotate and edit the pictures you take before performing text recognition.
  • View documents in PDF presentation mode with double highlighting while reading.
  • View reading order and language-tagged PDF documents.
  • Add and remove bookmarks in PDF documents.
  • Switch between PDF view and reflowable text view.
  • Read documents in the increasingly popular ePub format.

Little details abound. We got rid of the fifty-page limit for batch recognition. Everything gets turned on its side with landscape support. Add subfolders to the local folder structure. Use Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive to store and retrieve your documents. You can now make calls, send emails, and open hyperlinks directly from documents; call or email your new contact directly from the text of her business card!

Read KNFB Reader's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit KNFB Reader's App Store page 

Microsoft Pix (iOS, Free)

Take better photos without extra effort! Microsoft Pix has serious intelligence behind the lens, so it is a bit like having a pro photographer inside your camera – tweaking settings, selecting the best shots, and enhancing them on the fly – to help people and scenes look their best. It’s designed to help take the guesswork out of getting great photos, so now you can just enjoy the moment, instead of struggling to capture it! Microsoft Pix: Point. Shoot. Perfect.

Top 10 Features

  • NEW PIX STYLES! Completely transform your photos with artistic styles and watch as your artwork gets created
  • Smart settings – Automatically checks scene and lighting between each shutter tap, and updates settings between each shot.
  • Face recognition – People are the most important photo subjects, so when it detects a face in the shot, it automatically optimizes settings to help people look their best.
  • Moment capture - Captures a burst of frames every time you tap the shutter button, including frames before and after your tap, so you won’t miss the right moment.
  • Best Image(s) - Automatically selects up to 3 of the best and most unique shots from the burst, and immediately deletes the rest, so you don’t waste your phone’s storage or your time comparing and storing similar frames.
  • Image quality – Uses discarded burst frames to enhance each Best Image, improving exposure and color, and reducing noise and blur.
  • Live Image – Automatically creates a short, looping video, by stitching together the frames from the burst into a Live Image, but ONLY when it senses motion in your shot, so it won’t waste a ton of your phone’s memory.
  • Hyperlapse – Videos shot with Microsoft Pix are automatically stabilized for smoother playback, and can be time lapsed and saved at many different speeds.
  • Auto-sync - Seamlessly syncs to your camera roll, so you don't have to individually import or save your photos and videos to your camera roll.
  • Widgets and 3D Touch – Where available, 3D touch and Today and Lock screen widgets are enabled, so you can jump directly into photo capture, selfie capture, video capture or gallery.

Current Version: 1.7 (May 7, 2018)

Changes in Version 1.7
  • We’ve improved the AI to make reading business cards even easier and faster
  • Adding contacts from business cards now supports landscape view
  • We’ve added voice-over-text to improve accessibility

Visit Microsoft Pix' App Store page 

PodCruncher Podcast Player (iOS, Free)

Finally, a full-featured podcast app that just works - no hiccups or crashes. Download and stream episodes, manage subscriptions, create playlists, discover new podcasts. Crafted with love - extremely fast, smooth, and easy to use.

PODCASTS DELIVERED YOUR WAY

  • Complete iTunes catalog: 500,000+ podcasts
  • Download and stream over WiFi and Cellular
  • Play pre-downloaded episodes when off-line
  • New episodes auto-downloaded in background
  • Lightning-fast feed updates and downloads
  • Never have to sync with computer again
  • Quick start by importing your subscriptions
  • Best of talk radio - news, sports, tech, comedy
  • NPR, CNN, BBC, NBC, ESPN, MLB, NYT, WSJ

UNMATCHED PLAYBACK CONTROL

  • Playback speed: 1x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, 2x, 0.5x
  • Continuous playback, edit Up Next on the fly
  • Gestures for play/stop, fwd/back, next/previous
  • Adjustable skip intervals for fwd/back buttons
  • Precise multi-speed slider for fine scrubbing
  • Landscape and full-screen modes for video
  • Listen in background, even to video episodes
  • Control remotely while driving or exercising
  • Lock screen controls and episode information
  • AirPlay support, Bluetooth audio and controls
  • Sleep timer

Current Version: 3.7 (May 5, 2018)

Changes in Version 3.7

Added VoiceOver to player buttons

Visit PodCruncher Podcast Player's App Store page 

Seeing AI (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.
  • Currency - Recognizes currency notes. (Requires iOS 11)
  • Color - Identifies color.
  • Handwriting - Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
  • Light - Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
  • 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.

Current Version: 2.2 (May 29, 2018)

Changes in Version 2.1-2.2
  • Seeing AI now recognizes Indian Rupees.
  • Improved support for landscape orientation.
  • Improved layout on iPhone X.
  • Seeing AI is now available in an additional 21 countries, bringing the total to 56. The new countries are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bhutan, Egypt, Iraq, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates.
  • Plus, a number of tweaks under the hood.

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

Voice Dream Reader (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

“Voice Dream Reader is hailed by many as the best mobile text-to-speech (TTS) app.” - Examiner

Supported Document Formats

  • PDF, Plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, and Google Docs.
  • Web articles.
  • EPUB eBooks. (DRM-free books only. Kindle and iBooks are not supported.)
  • Bookshare Books.
  • DAISY text-based books and audiobook.
  • Audiobooks in MP3, MP4 or zipped MP3 format.
  • Rich text and image support for all documents.

Text-to-Speech

  • One premium Acapela voice of your choice free with the purchase of the app.
  • 36 built-in iOS voices in 27 languages are also available for free.
  • 200+ additional premium voices in 30 languages from Acapela, NeoSpeech and Ivona available through in-app purchases.
  • Correct pronunciation with your own pronunciation dictionary.
  • All voices work offline and play in the background even with the screen locked.

Reading Styles

  • Tee-up a list of articles and play while you drive, walk or run.
  • Spoken word is highlighted to improve comprehension and retention.
  • Auto-scrolling and full screen, distraction-free mode to help reader focus.
  • Finger reading. For beginners to read by at running a finger under each word.
  • Pac-Man. Harvard and MIT developed speed-reading method for everyone to read at 2x speed with no loss of comprehension.
  • High contrast and large font size for low vision readers.
  • Optimized for VoiceOver, Braille and switch control.

Tools

  • Bookmarking, text highlighting and annotation. Highlights and notes can be exported.
  • Full-text search.
  • Built-in dictionary.
  • Skip text in PDF header and footer.

Content Sources

  • Native support for Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud Drive, Pocket, Instapaper and Evernote.
  • Native access to Bookshare.
  • Safari extension to save Web pages and Web addresses.
  • Support for Box and OneDrive via iOS Document Picker.

Library Synchronization

  • Your entire library, including folders, reading locations, bookmarks and annotations are synchronized across all your devices using iCloud Drive.

Current Version: 4.5.1 (May 31, 2018)

Changes in Version 4.5

Version 4.5.0 is a major update, focusing on how Voice Dream Reader presents documents visually. It includes huge improvements in handling PDF documents.

The following new features require iOS 11.3:

  • Export PDF documents with highlights and notes.
  • Free vertical scrolling for PDF documents and maintaining the same zoom scale.
  • Automatic scrolling, zooming and panning while reading PDF documents in original layout.
  • Support for password-locked PDF Documents.

The following new features are available to all:

  • Automatic detection and skipping of margin text for PDF documents. This feature is enabled by default for new documents, but you can disable it for an individual document. For documents already loaded in the library, you can enable it from the Documents menu.
  • Support for table of content in PDF Documents.
  • Improved Rich Text presentation of eBooks and HTML files.
  • Improved VoiceOver support for Plain Text.
  • Automatic detection and skipping of citations in academic papers.
  • Automatic detection and simplication of URLs. For example, a long URL in New York Times would simplified as "nytimes.com"
  • Many other minor bug fixes and refinements.

Read Voice Dream Reader's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 
Visit Voice Dream Reader's App Store page 

Recent News and Views

New USB Standard Aims to Make it Easier to Use Braille Displays Across Different Operating Systems and Hardware

By AppleVis | May 31, 2018

USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the support organization for the advancement and adoption of USB technology, has today announced a new USB HID (Human Interface Device) industry standard that aims to simplify the development of braille displays and allow for an improved user experience.

In it's press release, USB-IF describes this new standard as:

a collaborative step toward greater technological accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision. The standard will make it easier to use a braille display across operating systems and different types of hardware. It will also simplify development, removing the need for braille devices to have custom software and drivers created for a particular operating system or screen reader.

“This is another great example of how USB-IF device class specifications can improve people’s lives,” said USB-IF President and COO Jeff Ravencraft. “With more than 1000 members worldwide, USB-IF brings companies together to improve access to technology and provide a seamless user experience.”

Both Apple and Microsoft have been involved in the drafting of this standard, with Sarah Herrlinger, director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple, quoted as saying that “we’re proud to advance this new USB-IF standard because we believe in improving the experience for all people who rely on braille displays to use their Apple products or any other device.”

Jeff Petty, Windows accessibility program manager lead at Microsoft, is quoted as saying that “developing a HID standard for braille displays is one example of how we can work together, across the industry, to advance technology in a way that benefits society and ultimately improve the unemployment rate for people with disabilities.”

The press release gives no information regarding the timeframe for roll-out of this new standard or its reception and adoption by braille display makers, but it clearly has the potential to significantly improve the setup and use of Braille displays, going beyond what is already offered by Made for iPhone and iOS compatible devices.

Red More: “New USB Standard Aims to Make it Easier to Use Braille Displays Across Different Operating Systems and Hardware”

Apple Releases iOS 11.4; With Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing for the HomePod

By AppleVis | May 29, 2018

Apple has today released iOS 11.4 and updated HomePod software to the public.

Today's releases finally mark the roll-out of two features which have been promised in iOS 11 since it was announced in June of last year - Messages in iCloud and AirPlay 2.

Messages in iCloud brings much improved message syncing, meaning that deleting a message on one device will also remove it from any other devices that use the same Apple ID. When setting up a new device, all of your existing messages will be available. Additionally, older messages and attachments are stored in iCloud rather than locally on your device, so should free up storage space.

With AirPlay 2, the same audio content can be played in multiple rooms on devices that support AirPlay 2. 9to5mac offers a little more on what this and support for stereo will bring:

With multiroom, users can play the same music on their Apple TV, HomePod and (soon) Sonos speakers all in sync. You can also use Siri on the iPhone to start playing content on another device, like asking Siri to ‘play [album name] in the kitchen’ and then say ‘also play this upstairs’. This relies on tight integration with HomeKit rooms and zones.

Stereo pairing allows customers with two HomePods to join them together, and act as a group. This enables stereo audio separation for tracks and making the sound better fill a space. Apple uses special algorithms to balance the music, so it’s more than just a naive split of left and right sound tracks.

Read more: “Apple Releases iOS 11.4; With Messages in iCloud, AirPlay 2 and Stereo Pairing for the HomePod”

See also: Apple Releases watchOS 4.3.1 for the Apple Watch and tvOS 11.4 With AirPlay 2 Support for the Apple TV

The AppleVis Community Inducts Seeing AI and Weather Gods into its iOS App Hall of Fame

By AppleVis | May 19, 2018

We are pleased to announce that the 2018 inductees into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame, as chosen by the AppleVis community, are Seeing AI and Weather Gods.

First opened in 2011, the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame is one of the ways in which the AppleVis community seeks to recognize developers of accessible iOS applications. Apps in the Hall of Fame 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!

In short, the iOS App Hall of Fame represents the best of the best in accessible iOS applications, as decided by the AppleVis community.

Voting for the 2018 iOS App Hall of Fame induction was held from Friday, May 11 to Friday, May 18, 2018 with seven apps shortlisted.

All of the shortlisted apps gained significant backing; showing how each was a worthy nominee and is highly regarded and valued by the AppleVis community. The two apps which ultimately received the most number of votes - and which will be inducted into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame - are Seeing AI and Weather Gods.

Read More: “The AppleVis Community Inducts Seeing AI and Weather Gods into its iOS App Hall of Fame”

Need a Website? Do-It-Yourself WordPress and Accessibility

By Paul Martz | May 17, 2018

In case there was any doubt that I'm a nerd, I recently set up WordPress v4.9.5 on my web server. WordPress is a free and open source Content Management System (CMS) commonly used for blogging.

I know---The average AppleVis reader doesn't run their own web server or configure their own local WordPress site. Most use WordPress.com. There are pros and cons to both approaches, as described in this article comparing WordPress.com to DIY WordPress.

I performed all setup from MacOS v10.13.4 High Sierra using Safari, VoiceOver, and Terminal with TDSR. This article focuses on the accessibility issues I encountered with WordPress, the WordPress plugins I installed, and the web-based services I used.

My web server is a Debian 7 Linux system, but because Linux and MacOS are both UNIX-like operating systems, there's very little difference between the two. This article applies to both MacOS and Linux, and describes differences when necessary.

While the concepts in this blog are technical in nature, there isn't a lot of technical detail. My deep dark secret? I don't actually know a lot of the technical details. But the internet is my manual. When I don't know something, I look it up with a web search. I've included links to many helpful online resources and step-by-step guides in this blog.

Read More: “Need a Website? Do-It-Yourself WordPress and Accessibility”

Why is Accessibility Important? Written for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, May 17

By Nicholas | May 17, 2018

It always amazes me, how many things I can still do with adaptive technology, even after losing my eyesight. Sometimes just as amazing, is how many things I still cannot do.

The darkened laptop sits off to the left, silent for a moment as I retrieve my coffee from the living room. Returning to a chair, situated in front of the old MacBook Pro, I was going to look up a service provider on line.

My fingers find and press Right-Option-s, my shortcut for Safari. After just a moment, I hear "Open Safari, tick, tick, tick." As I wait for the Home page to load, I jump to the Dock with VO-d and hear "Dock." Then I press "t" to jump across to TextEdit and hear, "TextEdit." VO-Spacebar starts it loading, then the laptop says, "Open TextEdit. Then it starts describing a new window. Instead of opening a file in the dialog that appears, I press Command-n to make a new document. The voice coming from the dark screen of the Mac says, "New document, Untitled.txt."

In the empty document, I type, "internet service provider," the laptop echoing each key as I press, reading each word when I hit Space. I don't like to type my search phrases in the web browser's address bar, the computer keeps reading all the suggestions instead of what I am typing. Moving back to the front of the phrase with the Arrow Keys, I hold down Shift-Option and use Right-Arrow to select each word, then press Command-c to copy the entire phrase. Flipping over to Safari using Command-Tab, I move the VO cursor into the Address Bar and press Command-v to paste, then hit Return to search.

I leave the Address Bar and navigate to the web area of the window. Pressing Left and Up Arrows at once switches the Rotor to "Headings." I begin arrowing my way down the web results, jumping from Heading to Heading. There's one that sounds good, lets have a look. I press Up and Down Arrows together to click on the link.

Read More: “Why is Accessibility Important? Written for Global Accessibility Awareness Day, May 17”

A Blind Person's Guide to Home Security Cameras

By Voracious P. Brain | May 16, 2018

A post on security cameras for the blind? Next up, a goldfish's review of mountain bikes. Right? I do not plan to argue that a camera system is as useful for a blind or low vision person as for someone sighted. In fact, I argue that it may be even more important, thanks to two factors. First, most units include microphones that deliver fair-quality audio for live feeds and recorded clips. Second is the ability to share access to the cameras with a trusted sighted person who can access the system from any Web browser or an installed app. I recently installed five cameras around my house, four of which are mounted outdoors. Here are some questions I can now answer for myself or ask my partner, even if she's at work:

  • What is all that activity on the lot next door?
  • When did my contractors show up and when did they leave?
  • Who is on the front porch?
  • Is what I'm hearing coming from our yard or next door?
  • Is the non-service dog on the kitchen table...again?
  • What was that?

I'll describe the Arlo system that I purchased, but this run-through can serve to give readers an idea of what using any such product is like for a blind person. The take-away may be the idea that it can have uses, even without being able to see the video.

Read More: “A Blind Person's Guide to Home Security Cameras”

This Month in Podcasts

AppleVis Unleashed May 2018: The Butterfly Effect

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:

The AppleVis Community Inducts Seeing AI and Weather Gods into its iOS App Hall of Fame
Apple's Q2 2018: 52.2M iPhones, 9.1M iPads, $61.1B revenue
Apple making Everyone Can Code curriculum accessible to blind and deaf
What to expect at WWDC 2018: Dates, tickets & product announcements
Looking for BETA testers
Tip: How To Tell if Your iPhone Was Originally Purchased New, Refurbished, Replacement, or (Fancy!) Personalized
Tip: How To Remove Old Inactive Devices From Find My iPhone

You can contact the Unleashed Team with feedback or questions at unleashed@applevis.com.

Listen to “AppleVis Unleashed May 2018: The Butterfly Effect”

An Updated Look At The SiriusXm App For iOS

In this podcast, Joseph Hodge revisits the SiriusXM app for iOS, and takes us through some of the changes and updated features that may be of interest. Get SiriusXM Radio on the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/siriusxm-radio/id317951436?mt=8.

Listen to “An Updated Look At The SiriusXm App For iOS”

Quick Tip: Find and Correct Spelling Mistakes using the Misspelled Words Feature Available from the VoiceOver Rotor

In this podcast, Lysette Chaproniere gives us A quick demonstration of how to find and correct spelling mistakes using the misspelled words feature available from the VoiceOver Rotor.

Listen to “Quick Tip: Find and Correct Spelling Mistakes using the Misspelled Words Feature Available from the VoiceOver Rotor”

A Demonstration Of Setting Up And Using Apple's HomePod

In February 2018 Apple launched the HomePod, its foray into the smart home speaker market. In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher walks us through the process of setting up the device, managing its settings from the Home app on his iPhone, and some basics on how to use the device, by voice, touch and from the iPhone.

For more on HomePod, check out Serina Gilbert's review at https://www.applevis.com/blog/accessories-apple-opinion-reviews/homepod-review-it-really-worth-price-tag and our in depth discussion with Dave Nason, Serina Gilbert and Alison Hartley on AppleVis Extra 54 at https://www.applevis.com/podcast/episodes/applevis-extra-54-verdict-homepod.

Listen to “A Demonstration Of Setting Up And Using Apple's HomePod”

A Powerful Terminology Dictionary At Your Fingertips

In this podcast, Lysette Chaproniere walks us through Terminology Dictionary, an iOS app for word lovers. It is a powerful English language dictionary, thesaurus and research tool, and is free with optional paid upgrades. Get Terminology Dictionary on the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/terminology-dictionary/id687798859?mt=8&at=11l4LS.

Listen to “A Powerful Terminology Dictionary At Your Fingertips”

A Walkthrough of Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock for iOS

In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher takes us through the popular Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app for iOS and Apple Watch, an intelligent alarm clock which tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up at the most optimal time while you are in light sleep, making waking up feel natural. Sleep Cycle is a free app with optional subscription based upgrades. Get Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock on the App Store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sleep-cycle-alarm-clock/id320606217?mt=8&at=11l4LS.

Listen to “A Walkthrough of Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock for iOS”

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

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