AppleVis Unlimited: What's New in Accessible Apps for October 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Welcome to the October 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

A Blind Legend (Free)

It’s the first-ever mobile action-adventure game without video – where ears replace eyes! Discover the original, innovative sensory experience of binaural 3D sound.

Your eyes will be of no help. So close them, sharpen your hearing and your blade… And embark on an epic, perilous rite of passage.

How do you play?

Put on your headphones and use your smartphone’s touchscreen like a joystick:

  • to move around freely;
  • to fight using your sword;
  • to defend yourself and protect yourself with your shield;
  • to repel your enemies and perform combos!

Live the adventures of Edward Blake, the famous blind knight! Guided by your daughter Louise, you must find your way and avoid the many traps that lie in store in the High Castle Kingdom, while confronting dangerous enemies!

The game is fully accessible to visually impaired people, and is aimed at anyone who’s eager for an original, immersive sensory experience through a ground-breaking video game. And because the player is the character, it will help raise public awareness of this kind of disability.

Current Version: 1.1.4 (October 16, 2015)

Read A Blind Legend's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit A Blind Legend's App Store page
Listen to Podcast: “Embark on an Epic, Perilous Rite of Passage with A Blind Legend for iOS”

ACB Link (Free)

ACB Link connects members and friends of the American Council of the Blind. With ACB Link, you can:

1) Access valuable resources offered by the American Council of the Blind
2) Get push notifications designed to keep you in the know about late-breaking news items of value to ACB members and friends
3) Easily and conveniently connect to the state and special-interest affiliates of the American Council of the Blind via the app's affiliate tab
4) Be informed and entertained by the programming available from ACB Radio's various channels via the radio tab
5) Play ACB podcasts on demand so you never again have to miss information that enhances your life and increases your independence
6) Gain valuable information that focuses on dealing with sight loss, whether you're facing vision loss yourself or have an elderly parent or relative who is.

Current Version: 1.0.1 (October 28, 2015)

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

Blindfold Bowling (Free with In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Bowling is a fully accessible audio game that's similar to the ten pin bowling.

In Blindfold Bowling, you can play by yourself, against a variety of computer opponents, or side-by-side with another person.

You throw the bowling ball by either flicking with one finger, or aiming with one finger and flicking, or setting the exact angle with your thumb and forefinger, and then flick. The faster you flick, the faster you throw the ball.

You hear the ball rolling down the alley, and hitting pins. Like real bowling, you can get a strike, or a spare, or even miss completely with a gutter ball. And you can post your high scores to Facebook or Twitter.

Current Version: 1.5.4 (October 30, 2015)

Read Blindfold Bowling's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Blindfold Bowling's page on the App Store

Blindfold Roulette (Free with In-App Purchases)

Blindfold Roulette is an fully accessible audio game that's lets you play Roulette just like in a casino.

You can place bets on a single number, or group of numbers, or EVEN, ODD, RED, BLACK and many other combinations, and then spin the wheel. You'll hear the ball spinning around the wheel, slowing down, and then landing in pocket. When your number comes up, you'll can win up to 35 times what you bet.

Play Roulette in your way by configuring the game to your liking! The money used in this game is fictitious, but the strategies you will learn are priceless.

The game comes with both the American and French wheels, with additional Double Wheels and Alphabet wheels available as an in-app purchase.

Current Version: 1.1.7 (October 6, 2015)

Read Blindfold Roulette's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Blindfold Roulette's page on the App Store

Daisy Talk (US $25.99)

DAISY Talk is an application that reads out text of a DAISY book using synthesized voice incorporated into iOS devices, such as iPhone or iPad.

DAISY(Digital Accessible Information System) is an international standard for digital books designed for people with “print disabilities”.

If you are qualified,you can get a digital book from Sapie (Japan), or Bookshare (USA) by registering on-line library.

Features

  • Accessible with VoiceOver: When VoiceOver is ON or OFF, DAISY Talk corresponds to both operation, easy for visually impaired person.
  • Support 34 different languages: You can choose the reading languages from 34 different synthesized languages according to the original text of DAISY book.
  • Customize voice settings: You can freely set the speed,pitch and volume of reading.
  • Check the word during reading loud: One sentence is displayed during reading loud, you can check the detail explanation of the character on the screen.
  • Move freely reading place: You can freely move to headline, page, paragraph, line or page slider according to each level.
  • Set bookmark: You can place bookmarks on any specific page and jump to reading location where you set the bookmarks.
  • Word Searching: Enter any character, and you can move to the exact reading position.
  • Downloading books: You can download books by logging in online library by the Safari, or others, finding the book then downloading through DAISY Talk. You also store books in online storage, such as Dropbox.
  • Daisy Talk does not support: playing back incorporated audio file or video of DAISY books, displaying any graphic data.

Current Version: 1.0.4 (October 3, 2015)

Read Daisy Talk's AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Daisy Talk’s App Store page

Free JumpInSauceRS (Free)

Are you our Hero?

Help save Earth from the Evil Queen DarkSock in this exhilarating Space shooter!

JumpinSauceRS is a space shooter game, which allows blind and visually impaired individuals to play with their sighted friends and family.

Created by parents to enable their blind child to play with her sighted siblings, JumpinSauceRS is a virtual playground where blind and sighted individuals can finally play on an equal footing.

Current Version: 1.2.3 (July 9, 2015)

Read Free JumpInSauceRS' AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Free JumpInSauceRS' App Store page

Weather Office (US $1.99)

From the AppleVis Editors: Weather Office is an accessible weather app for the United States and Canada. The data comes directly from the National Weather Service or Environment Canada, and VoiceOver reads the text information very well. For those wanting a free option, there is also an ad-supported version of Weather Office available in the App Store as "Weather Office Free."

Current Version: 5.0.10 (September 14, 2015)

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

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

iOS
Mac
Apple Watch

Notable App Updates

BARD Mobile (Free)

A service of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress

The BARD Mobile app provides access to braille and talking books directly from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD). BARD contains nearly 70,000 books, magazines, and music scores in audio and braille formats, with new selections added daily.

With BARD Mobile, you can play the audio materials on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. If your device is connected to a refreshable braille display through Bluetooth, you can also read the braille materials available on BARD.

Current Version: 1.1 (October 17, 2015)

What's New in Version 1.1
  • Built-in sleep timer
  • New setting keeps device from sleeping while download is in progress
  • Add to wish list directly from details screen
  • Enhanced braille search function
  • Improved VoiceOver hints and labels
  • New braille shortcut key
  • Improved Magic Tap response
  • Works with iOS 9

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

Goodreads – Book Recommendations and Reviews for great Books and eBooks (Free)

Discover and share books you love on Goodreads, the world's largest site for readers and book recommendations!

Find new and interesting books by browsing personalized recommendations based on books you've read and your favorite genres. See what your friends are reading, write book reviews, and keep track of what you want to read.

Current Version: 3.2.1 (October 31, 2015)

Summary of Changes in October 2015 Updates

In version 3.2 (October 20, 2015), the developers of Goodreads took significant steps towards making the app more accessible to VoiceOver users. Other changes in versions 3.2 and 3.2.1 include:

  • Gorgeous new book page design that makes the book cover the star of the page and shelving a book easier than ever.
  • See the next books in the series and more books by the same author on the book page to keep your book binge going.
  • Switch editions from the book page because the right edition with the right cover and page count matters.
  • Goodreads Choice Awards are back! Vote for your favorites during the month of November.
  • Miscellaneous bug fixes

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

Google Voice (Free)

Access your Google Voice account right from your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Send free SMS messages to US phones and make international calls at very low rates. Get transcribed voicemail—save time by reading instead of listening. Make calls with your Google Voice number.

A free Google Voice account is required to use this app. Google Voice is currently only available in the U.S. When using Google Voice for iPhone, both domestic and international calls are placed through a US-based Google Voice access number, and will use the standard minutes from your cell phone plan.

Current Version: 1.7.0 (October 21, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 1.7.0

Google Voice is now fully accessible to VoiceOver users. Other changes in version 1.7.0 include support for one’s preferred text size as defined in iOS settings; the ability to save a message draft when replying; support for the screen resolutions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus; and bug fixes and performance enhancements.

Read Google Voice’s AppleVis iOS App Directory entry for more information
Visit Google Voice’s App Store page

Overcast: Podcast Player (Free)

A powerful yet simple audio podcast player, with features such as Smart Speed, Voice Boost, and Smarter Playlists to help you listen to more podcasts in more places, try new shows, and completely control your experience.

Overcast is a modern, fully featured audio podcast player with many useful features in a simple, intuitive interface:

  • Download podcasts for playing anytime, even when offline.
  • Search and browse for new podcasts, plus get recommendations from Twitter.
  • Create custom Playlists with smart filters and per-podcast priorities, and rearrange the list whenever you want.
  • Receive optional push notifications when new episodes arrive.
  • Subscribe to a podcast, or just add an episode: try new shows without committing.
  • Download podcasts over cellular, set a sleep timer, or use Voice Boost to enhance and normalize speech volume.
  • Adjust playback speed, and use Smart Speed to pick up extra speed without distorting the conversation.
  • Navigate with CarPlay. (On supported car radios.)
  • Apple Watch app, Glance, and notifications

Current Version: 2.0.2 (October 27, 2015)

Changes in October 2015 Updates

Version 2.0:

  • Streaming
  • Chapters
  • Storage management
  • Icon badge option
  • Play-by-priority option
  • Smart Speed now dynamically adjusts to quiet voices
  • Lots of bugs fixed, including playlist reordering and storage growth
  • Tons of little improvements and optimizations

All features are now free! A new optional monthly patronage is available if you'd like.

Version 2.0.2:

  • Fixes for streaming and certain M4A files.

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

Purify Blocker: No Ads. No Tracking. Lightning-Fast Safari. (US $1.99)

Purify is a content blocker for Safari that blocks ads, tracking, and more. Purify's professionally hand-crafted filter optimizes your browsing experience. With free regular updates, all users receive the best and latest of Purify at frequent intervals.

Purify gives you complete control: whitelisting with Purify is effortless — just a tap from within Safari.

Purify also syncs your preferences and whitelists via iCloud across all your devices.

Unlock powerful blocking options with unprecedented ease — you can easily choose to block:

  • social buttons and comments
  • scripts
  • custom fonts
  • images

Current Version: 1.2 (October 23, 2015)

Summary of Changes in Version 1.2

Version 1.2 of the Purify app brings full accessibility to VoiceOver users. Other changes include:

  • Site Insight: Purify now updates the intelligence driving its blocking automatically in the background! It’s seamless, battery-efficient, and you’ll get the latest and most refined of Purify.
  • Add ability to optionally send a comment when reporting a page.
  • Fixes to many websites.
  • Other refinements and bug fixes.

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

Recent News and Views

Giving the Home Button the Heave-Ho: Why No Physical Home Button Might Actually Be Okay

By Mehgcap | October 29, 2015

Imagine There's No Button…

For years now, there have been rumblings that Apple may do away with a physical Home button in the next iPhone. So far, of course, this hasn't happened--that small circle has remained in place, and even been made to double as a fingerprint reader. For most users, this is just as well; the thought of an iPhone with no Home button causes discomfort and an immediate, negative reaction. As I sometimes like to do, such as with my article about how a single-port Macbook could be a good idea, I want to posit that a radical change in design might be a good, or at least survivable, idea. Specifically, I want to convince you that losing the Home button is not the end of the world. In fact, it could be a great thing.

Read More: "Giving the Home Button the Heave-Ho: Why No Physical Home Button Might Actually Be Okay"

10 More Tips for Braille Display Users of iDevices

By Scott Davert | October 25, 2015

Two years have passed since my original 10 Tips for Braille Users of iDevices article was published, and many changes have happened since that time. There were also a few more helpful tips I didn't pass along due to Space constraints. So, I've decided it was time for another list, given that we’re two iOS versions later and some useful things have been updated since the last article came out. Don't worry, though, most of the information provided in the first article is still just as valid, so if you want a refresher or have not read that one, I recommend doing so.

Read More: "10 More Tips for Braille Display Users of iDevices"

Apple Releases OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 with Stability, Compatibility, and Security Improvements

By AppleVis | October 21, 2015

Apple has today released OS X El Capitan 10.11.1, bringing with it a series of bug fixes and improvements—including a fix for Microsoft Office 2016 compatibility.

According to AppleInsider, this update improves the stability, compatibility, and security of a user's Mac.

According to Apple, this update also Improves VoiceOver reliability.

Read More: "Apple Releases OS X El Capitan 10.11.1 with Stability, Compatibility, and Security Improvements"

Apple Releases watchOS 2.0.1 with Performance Improvements and Bug Fixes

By AppleVis | October 21, 2015

Apple has today released watchOS 2.0.1.

For blind and low vision users, Apple has addressed a bug where the on/off status of alarms was not spoken by VoiceOver; changing the text input language when replying is also now accessible.

Read More: "Apple Releases watchOS 2.0.1 with Performance Improvements and Bug Fixes"

Apple Releases iOS 9.1 with New Features, Enhancements and Some Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users

By AppleVis | October 21, 2015

Apple has today released iOS 9.1, bringing with it some new features and improvements across the operating system.

For blind and low vision users, Apple has made some progress towards addressing the accessibility bugs still present in iOS 9.0.2.

Read More: "Apple Releases iOS 9.1 with New Features, Enhancements and Some Bug Fixes for Blind and Low Vision Users"

My Apple Watch Diary: 6 Months in and Starting to Become More than a Useful Luxury

By David Goodwin | October 21, 2015

If you have read any of my previous posts about the Apple Watch, you will know that it’s been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. From not seeing what it could offer me; to getting caught up in the hype; hitting the pre-order line; only to then return the Watch for a refund; to being convinced by Apple that I had not given the Watch a fair opportunity to prove itself to me, and that I should give it a second chance.

This mix of thoughts and emotions probably makes me a prime example of the hype-cycle and confusion so common when Apple moves into a new product category - it’s going to be the best thing ever; it’s going to be the worst thing ever; what is this thing, is it useful, and why would I want it?

As it’s been 6 months since I first boarded this rollercoaster, I thought that perhaps it was time to see if my previously mixed feelings about the Apple Watch had become any clearer. Is it actually any good? Good at what? What is it for?

The simple answer is that it provides me with lots of small conveniences throughout my day. I have still to find any ‘killer’ apps or use cases which offer significant benefits over my iPhone. But, glancing at notifications, checking the weather for the next hour, paying for some groceries, controlling music playback on my AirPlay speakers are all a little quicker and easier on the Apple Watch. Each saves pulling my iPhone from my pocket and arguably provide a more satisfying user experience.

Read More: "My Apple Watch Diary: 6 Months in and Starting to Become More than a Useful Luxury"

Apple Updates iWork Suite with Major Accessibility Improvements for VoiceOver Users

By AppleVis | October 15, 2015

Apple has today updated its Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps for iOS and Mac, bringing with them a number of significant accessibility improvements for VoiceOver users.

In Pages, Numbers and Keynote, VoiceOver users can now read relevant text formatting details including font name and font size while editing. It is now much easier for VoiceOver users to add, remove, rearrange rows, columns, add and review comments, edit chart data and chart elements, get table header information, and more. In Keynote, VoiceOver users can now also edit and read presenter notes.

Read More: "Apple Updates iWork Suite with Major Accessibility Improvements for VoiceOver Users"

Big Is The New Small: A Love Story

By Morgan | October 15, 2015

Twenty years ago, my seven year old son and I were sitting on the stairs in our house. Curious what he might say, I turned to my child and asked, "Richard, why do you love me so much?"

My son pondered for a few moments, and then thoughtfully replied, "I guess I'm getting used to you."

We love our children, significant others, friends, pets, and guide dogs. But, some of us are a bit nerdy. We also love our toys.

College in the 1970s was a great environment to discover new loves. I became enamored with access technology. Early on, my affections revolved around a large red Talking Book record player. Later, a more svelte yellow cassette machine took its place. For a while, I went camping with my smaller RoadRunner electronic text reader, and until recently, I would fall asleep with my compact Book Port. I love small.

Unsurprisingly, I did develop feelings for my first iPhone. It was elegant and comfortable to hold. Also, very accessible. VoiceOver was designed with us in mind, and it worked on a phone that anyone could buy. The iPhones had personality, intelligence, and volume control. Perfect. Each new model that I have enjoyed has been special, at least until the next model came along. For the last two years, my iPhone 5s was my beloved pocket computer. But, how fickle I am! Temptation led me to a phone call, which led to another debit against my bank account. Once the UPS package arrived on September 25, my new 128GB Space Gray iPhone 6s Plus, the largest of the Apple offerings, became my newest ally.

Read More: "Big Is The New Small: A Love Story"

Apple Updates 'Popular Apps Using VoiceOver' App Store Collection, Offers Accessibility Audit Workshops

By AppleVis | October 8, 2015

In recognition of World Sight Day and Blindness Awareness Month, Apple has today updated its Popular Apps Using VoiceOver App Store collection.

Among the new apps added to the collection are Facebook, Twitter, Chit Chat, Curious - learn something new every day, and Coursera.

Apple is also now holding specific accessibility workshops for developers. Developers at these workshops are able to have their apps reviewed/audited by Apple's Accessibility Team and receive feedback on how to make them more accessible.

Needless to say, it is wonderful to see that Apple is offering app accessibility audits/feedback; what's even more encouraging is that developers are actively seeking this feedback out. It is our sincere hope that, as more developers become aware of the very real need to make their apps accessible, they attend one of these workshops and make constructive changes based on the feedback Apple’s Accessibility Team provides.

Read More: "Apple Updates 'Popular Apps Using VoiceOver' App Store Collection, Offers Accessibility Audit Workshops"

This Month in Podcasts

Beginners' Guide to the iPhone

In this series of introductory podcasts, Thomas Domville discusses and demonstrates various features of the iPhone. New in the BGI series this month:

Get the Perfect Strike with Blindfold Bowling for iOS

In this podcast, Kelly Sapergia introduces us to Blindfold Bowling, a recently-released audio game that brings ten pin bowling to your iOS device.

In Blindfold Bowling, you can play by yourself, against a variety of computer opponents, or side-by-side with another person. You throw the bowling ball by either flicking with one finger, or aiming with one finger and flicking, or setting the exact angle with your thumb and forefinger, and then flick. The faster you flick, the faster you throw the ball.

You hear the ball rolling down the alley, and hitting pins. Like real bowling, you can get a strike, or a spare, or even miss completely with a gutter ball. And you can post your high scores to Facebook or Twitter.

Listen to "Get the Perfect Strike with Blindfold Bowling for iOS"
Visit Blindfold Bowling's page on the App Store

Embark on an Epic, Perilous Rite of Passage with A Blind Legend for iOS

In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher introduces us to A Blind Legend, a new audio game for iOS in which you live the adventures of Edward Blake, the famous blind knight. Guided by your daughter Louise, you must find your way and avoid the many traps that lie in store in the High Castle Kingdom, while confronting dangerous enemies.

Listen to "Embark on an Epic, Perilous Rite of Passage with A Blind Legend for iOS"
Visit A Blind Legend’s page in the iTunes App Store

OS X Quick Tip: How to Pin Safari Tabs in OS X El Capitan

In this podcast, Jonathan Simeone shows us El Capitan’s new tab pinning feature in Safari, which allows you to keep web pages open, up to date and easily accessible.

Listen to "OS X Quick Tip: How to Pin Safari Tabs in OS X El Capitan"

OS X Quick Tip: Window Spots and Content Chooser For VoiceOver Users in El Capitan

In this podcast, Jonathan Simeone shows us how to access and use Window Spots and Content Chooser, two new tools introduced in OS X El Capitan for VoiceOver users.

Listen to "OS X Quick Tip: Window Spots and Content Chooser For VoiceOver Users in El Capitan"

Hey Siri, What’s New with you in iOS 9?

In this podcast, David Woodbridge takes a look at just some of the great things that you can do with Siri in iOS 9, including the option on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus to have Siri always listening.

Listen to "Hey Siri, What’s New with you in iOS 9?"

OS X Quick Tip: Exploring the New Interaction Options for VoiceOver Users in El Capitan

In this podcast, David Woodbridge demonstrates how OS X El Capitan introduces new options for VoiceOver users for interacting with page elements such as toolbars and scrollbars.

Listen to "OS X Quick Tip: Exploring the New Interaction Options for VoiceOver Users in El Capitan"

OS X Quick Tip: Using Caps Lock as a VoiceOver Modifier Key in El Capitan

In this podcast, David Woodbridge demonstrates how in OS X El Capitan it is now possible to use the Caps Lock key as the VoiceOver modifier key … either on its own or in conjunction with the Control and Option keys.

Listen to "OS X Quick Tip: Using Caps Lock as a VoiceOver Modifier Key in El Capitan"

iOS Quick Tip: Changing the VoiceOver Modifier Keys to be used with a Bluetooth Keyboard

In this podcast, David Woodbridge demonstrates how in iOS 9 it is now possible to choose which keys on your bluetooth keyboard to use as the VoiceOver modifier keys.

Listen to "iOS Quick Tip: Changing the VoiceOver Modifier Keys to be used with a Bluetooth Keyboard"

Quick Tip: Using iTunes on a Windows PC to Update to a Newer Version of iOS

In this podcast, Scott Davert walks us through the process of updating to a newer version of iOS using iTunes on a Windows PC. In this demonstration, he is using Jaws on a computer running Windows 7.

Listen to "Quick Tip: Using iTunes on a Windows PC to Update to a Newer Version of iOS"

iOS Quick Tip: Hands on with iOS Over-the-air Updates

In this podcast, Scott Davert walks us through the process of updating to a newer version of iOS directly on your iOS device.

Listen to "iOS Quick Tip: Hands on with iOS Over-the-air Updates"

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

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