Welcome to the April 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
Accessible Letter Soup (US$0.99)
Play the Accessible letter soup and have fun learning. The Accessible Letter Soup hides words of several categories. Words can be found horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. You may select the size of the board and the number of words to be found.
Current version: 1.1 (April 29, 2015)
Blindfold Hopper (Free with In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Hopper is a fully accessible audio game that's a cross between the popular video game Frogger and the frustratingly popular iPhone game Flappy Bird.
In Hopper, you are a frog sitting on a lily pad and you need to jump to the next lily pad. Using head phones or ear buds, you hear the lily pads move from one side of your head to the other. Each lily pad is represented by a different musical loop. When the lily pad is directly in front of you, tap the phone to jump to the next lily pad.
You can move your lily pad left and right by swinging your arm or rotating your body, and you can jump to a lily pad in front of you, or behind you. Each time you jump, the next lily pad comes a little bit faster. And if you stay on your lily pad too long, an alligator will eat you.
Current version: 1.0.15 (April 17, 2015)
Braille Reference (US$0.99)
A VoiceOver compatible app that allows users who are blind to look up those many times hard to remember Braille symbols and contractions. Users have the option to search for more than 250 Braille symbols and contractions. You can either search by a letter (ex. a or about) or by dots/contraction (ex. 1 or ab).
This app is ideal for users who either are learning Braille or are an infrequent Braille user who often forget those obscure symbols while on the go!
Current version: 3.5 (August 14, 2013)
Indeed Job Search (Free)
Find jobs using Indeed, the most comprehensive search engine for jobs. In a single search, Indeed offers free access to millions of jobs from thousands of company websites and job boards. From search to apply, Indeed’s Job Search app helps you through the entire job search process.
Current version: 3.0 (February 27, 2015)
Office Lens (Free)
Office Lens trims, enhances and makes pictures of whiteboards and documents readable. Office Lens can convert images to editable Word and PowerPoint files too.
Office Lens is like having a scanner in your pocket. Like magic, it will digitalize notes on whiteboards or blackboards. Always find important documents or business cards. Sketch your ideas and snap a picture for later. Don't lose receipts or stray sticky notes again!
Current version: 1.0.1 (April 7, 2015)
Voice - Take A Picture And Have It Spoken (Free)
Take a picture of anything that has words on it, and Voice will read it to you! Designed for iOS 8, this simple and easy to use interface will let you listen to all your books/words/documents/magazines in a matter of seconds.
People with visual impairment or dyslexia can easily snap a photo of anything and have it read in a matter of seconds. Whether it is a menu at a restaurant, or an information board at a museum.
Current version: 3.2 (February 26, 2015)
Notable App Updates
Blindfold Crazy Eights (Free with In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Crazy Eights is a fully accessible Crazy Eights card game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play.
Blindfold Crazy Eights includes several variants of Crazy Eights, such as discard or draw, and discard or draw until you can discard. Since there are many rules choices for Crazy Eights, you can customize the game for many of those rules. You play against the computer, or against another player in Game Center. And its easy to invite other players to download the game!
Current Version: 2.1.0 (April 7, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 2.1.0
With version 2.1.0, users can now play Blindfold Crazy Eights with another person thanks to Game Center integration.
Carbon Copy Cloner [Mac OS X] (Free Trial, US$39.99 To Register)
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous, repetitive clicking noise coming from its hard drive. With ordinary backups, you'd spend your day rushing out to a store to buy a new hard drive and then sit in front of your computer reinstalling the operating system and restoring data.
With Carbon Copy Cloner, your data and the operating system's data are all preserved on a bootable volume, ready for production at a moment's notice. When disaster strikes, simply boot from your backup and get back to using your Mac. At your convenience, replace the failed hard drive and then let CCC restore the OS, your data and your settings directly from the backup in one easy step.
Current Version: 4.1 (April 29, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 4.1
This update includes a number of significant new features, changes and bug fixes. Full details of these can be found on the MacUpdate website.
The developer has maintained their longstanding commitment to accessibility by including fixes in this release which should ensure that all user interface elements are now accessible via keyboard navigation and with VoiceOver.
Kickstarter is a vibrant community of people working together to bring creative projects to life. People from all over the world have pledged $1 billion to projects on Kickstarter, funding everything from art, to new games, innovative technologies, Oscar-winning documentaries, and much, much more. Use the app to...
- Discover new projects
- Watch project videos
- Get updates from projects and your friends
Current Version: 2.4.1 (April 22, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 2.4.1
This release specifically improves VoiceOver support.
MBraille (Free with In-App Purchases)
MBraille brings you a mobile Braille keyboard. With the free features you can type, edit and send tweets and text messages using contracted or uncontracted English Braille. An in-app purchases is available to unlock many additional features.
Current Version: 3.0 (April 23, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 3.0
With version 3.0, it is now possible to use MBraille as a third party keyboard on your iOS device. This has been extremely anticipated and now offers Braille users an alternative to the native Braille Screen Input mode offered by iOS.
The release also improves compatibility with iOS 8.3, adds support for the Estonian Braille table and fixes a few bugs.
Tweetings 2 for Twitter (Free with In-App Purchases)
From the AppleVis Editors: Tweetings 2 is a Twitter client which has an extensive feature set including list support, push notifications, geolocation and synchronization of your timeline with your Mac or other iOS devices. Its developer has also demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that the app has good support for VoiceOver.
Current Version: 2.12.6 (April 28, 2015)
Summary of Changes in April 2015 Updates
There have been 4 updates during April. Most of these have focused on adding and improving support for the Apple Watch.
There have also been more general improvements and fixes in these releases. For VoiceOver users, these have included:
- Improved timeline accessibility with retweets and embedded tweets
- Fix accessibility label on timeline gaps
- Improved accessibility on add account screen
Unread: RSS News Reader (Free with In-App Purchases)
Rediscover the joy of reading your favorite writers with Unread, an RSS reader for iPhone.
Unread is a free download. You can read up to 50 articles to begin with, and 3 per day once those are used up. For unlimited reading, and to unlock 7 additional themes, there is a one-time in-app purchase.
Current Version: 1.5 (April 27, 2015)
Summary of Changes in Version 1.5
In what is the first major update to this app since it was taken on by new developers, it’s great to see that the commitment to accessibility and VoiceOver support has been maintained.
In addition to lots of new features, changes and fixes that will benefit all users, the number of options available via the VoiceOver Actions rotor has been significantly extended. Other improvements for VoiceOver users are:
- When notifications appear, VoiceOver now reads them out.
- VoiceOver no longer reads elements from views behind the current view.
- Corrections to accessibility text on Unlock and Tutorial screens.
Recent News and Views
An In-Depth Look at Apple Watch Accessibility Features
By AppleVis | April 9, 2015
Apple has today made available a wealth of specific information regarding the implementation of accessibility features on Apple Watch. While it was recently announced that the watch would contain support for VoiceOver, Zoom, and Dynamic Type, there have - up until this point - still been many questions about how these features would be implemented. It is our hope that this information will be of some assistance to blind and low vision users thinking of purchasing the wearable. As more information becomes available in the coming days and weeks, we will do our best to update this post accordingly.
Apple Releases iOS 8.3 with New Features and Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users
By AppleVis | April 9, 2015
Apple has today released iOS 8.3, bringing with it a host of new features and improvements across the operating system.
For blind and low vision users, Apple has made significant progress towards addressing many of the accessibility bugs still present in iOS 8.2. In addition, Apple has introduced a few new features specific to the needs of VoiceOver users.
Apple Releases OS X 10.10.3
By AppleVis | April 9, 2015
Today, Apple released OS X 10.10.3 to the public, marking the third major update to the OS X Yosemite operating system.
Hands-On with the Apple Watch
By David Woodbridge | April 9, 2015
When I spent a few hours with the Apple watch on April 8th 2015, I jotted down notes about the Apple watch’s physical description, general overall points, low vision and speech features, hearing, and Siri.
It is important to note that the Apple watch is a companion to the iPhone and is designed to work in conjunction with the phone.
This is the first truly accessible main stream smart watch for people who require various types of accessibility options such as large print, speech output, mono audio, etc.
13 Reasons Why I Want an Apple Watch
By David Woodbridge | April 9, 2015
13 reasons why I want an Apple Watch:
- Conveniently being able to check notifications from Mail, Calendar, Messages, and Twitter.
- As I already use FaceTime calling on my Mac from my iPhone, it seems a simple extension to have this same functionality on the Apple watch.
A Guide to Night Owl
By mehgcap | April 11, 2015
Night Owl is the only accessible Twitter client for the Mac, or at least the most popular among VoiceOver users. With it, you can retweets, manage lists, send direct messages, save searches, and much more. While most of the app is relatively simple, some parts can be a bit confusing, and there are some undocumented shortcuts and features. This guide will walk you through the basics of the app, and explained most of the features. If audio is your thing, AppleVis has has a Night Owl podcast.
This tutorial assumes that you have a basic level of familiarity with VoiceOver. You don't need to know any advanced commands, but the basics--navigating the screen, activating buttons and pop-up menu's, interacting, and so on--are required. Of course, you will also need to already have a Twitter Account activated - you need to know that accounts username and password in order to login. If you don't yet have an account, creating one is simple and free. To learn more about twitter, and to create your own account, visit the Twitter website.
Apple Watch Try-On Appointments Now Offer The Opportunity To Explore And Experience Accessibility Features
By AppleVis | April 27, 2015
If you have visited an Apple Store during the past 2 weeks to check out the new Apple Watch, you may have come away disappointed that it had not been possible to fully explore the many accessibility features that it includes for blind and low vision users.
However, according to a report on AppleWorld.Today, Apple has now rolled out a new facility that should allow people to test the accessibility features for themselves during a try-on appointment.
VoiceOver Turns 10
By Tony Morales | April 29, 2015
On April 29, 2005, Apple Inc. introduced Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Included in Mac OS X Tiger's list of features was the VoiceOver screen reader. VoiceOver was not Apple's first foray into assistive technology: Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar introduced Universal Access which provided customizations to the operating system for those with visual, hearing, and physical disabilities. In fact, Mac OS X Universal Access was influenced by similar technologies which were bundled with the classic Mac OS (Mac OS 9 and earlier). The Windows operating system also included customizable behavior similar to Universal Access.
This Month in Podcasts
Apple Watch Basics
David Woodbridge has recorded a comprehensive series of podcasts devoted to the Apple Watch. Topics covered include an unboxing, the initial setup, and looking at many of its features and apps.
All of our podcasts about the Apple Watch can be found at www.applevis.com/applevis-podcast/apple-watch
How To Access The Audio Description Now Available On Select Netflix Titles
Netflix has recently made audio description available on select titles. The first series to feature audio description is Marvel’s Daredevil. Other shows set to gain audio description over the coming weeks include House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Marco Polo.
David Woodbridge has recorded two podcasts demonstrating how to access audio description. The first is on an Apple TV, the second through the Netflix iOS app.
Quick Tip: How to Change the Default Program for Opening Various File Types on the Mac
In this podcast, Alex Hall shows us how to change the default program for opening various file types on the Mac.
Stay On Top of the News with Newsify for iOS
In this podcast, AnonyMouse gives us a demonstration of Newsify: Your News, Blog & RSS Feed Reader, an app that lets you organize all your favorite news, blogs, and RSS feeds in one place.
Listen to podcast: "Stay On Top of the News with Newsify for iOS"
Read the AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for Newsify: Your News, Blog & RSS Feed Reader
Visit the App Store page for Newsify: Your News, Blog & RSS Feed Reader
A Walk-Through And Demonstration Of Voice Dream Writer For iOS
In this podcast, Alex Hall gives us a walk-through and demonstration of Voice Dream Writer, an iOS app that is fully accessible and was designed with print disabilities in mind.
There are special tools for VoiceOver users to manage the cursor, select text, and find and correct misspelled words by stepping through them. Voice-based Proofreading and Phonetic Search are invaluable for people with dyslexia. Also included is the research-proven Dyslexie font.
Besides these unique features, Voice Dream Writer also comes with everything you would expect from any great writing tool.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website in the past month can be browsed at www.applevis.com/podcasts