AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for April 2020
Welcome to the April 2020 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 by members of the community - 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
Apple COVID-19 (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
The COVID-19 app has up-to-date information from trusted sources about the coronavirus disease that is impacting people across the world. It has a screening tool so you can find out what you should do now for yourself or for a loved one. And it gives you access to resources you may need to feel supported and informed.
The COVID-19 app is developed in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the White House, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Current Version: 2.2 (April 16, 2020)
Broadcasts (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Listen to streaming internet radio in an ultra-simple, single-purpose app.
Sample the joys of free, public Irish radio on your device with the built-in presets, or upgrade to the full version and add your own stations from the Station Directory, or manually via URL — no subscription required. Feel free to edit the presets to try your own stations for free. Sync your library across iPhone, iPad and Mac, with iCloud and Universal Purchase.
Current Version: 1.3 (April 30, 2020)
Libro FM (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Libro.fm is the first and only audiobook company to make it possible for you to buy audiobooks directly through your favorite local bookstore. You can choose from more than 150,000 audiobooks, including New York Times best sellers and recommendations from booksellers. With Libro.fm you’ll get the same audiobooks at the same price as the largest audiobook company, but you’ll be supporting your local community.
Audiobooks purchased at Libro.fm are synced with the app immediately, so you can get listening right away. Download an audiobook once and then listen offline whenever and wherever you want via your iPhone, iPod, iPod touch, or iPad.
Current Version: 4.3.5 (March 23, 2020)
Livedesk Studio (macOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
With Livedesk Studio you can live broadcast on any video streaming service from your Mac.
Use it with any platform like Facebook Live, Youtube Live, Twitch, Mixer, Periscope, on premise services and many more.
You can live stream your webcam, your desktop activity, a connected mobile device (iPhone & iPad) or a prerecorded video file.
You can probably think of a number of potential opportunities already: you might live-stream an event, a Keynote presentation, your gameplay, an announcement, a web tutorial - you name it.
Current Version: 5.8.0 (April 27, 2020)
Metronome Touch (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)
Metronome Touch. Style of pendulum.
Metronome Touch is created with one objective: to design a classic metronome with a unique style, so we combined a precise pendulum, perfected accuracy, and realistic interaction. Made of aluminum and glass, Metronome Touch proves a huge statement: It is as exclusive as your device. Launching Metronome Touch, your device will become a metronome.
Anyone can try to make a metronome app, but success only comes when listening to customers. That's why Metronome Touch centers around functions that musicians are looking for: The ability to tap a beat, use customizable presets to save your favorite sets (bpm, time signature and accentuation), and multiple useful ways of adjusting the bpm. Metronome Touch even goes far beyond that: Neither analog nor digital metronomes can synchronize pendulums. But Metronome Touch can. This opens completely new ways when practicing, performing on stage or doing studio recordings.
Current Version: 3.1 (April 22, 2020)
Oltrel'eclisse (macOS, US$8.99)
This is an online fighting game. Travel with your spaceship and destroy enemy ones in a combat arena. And if you don't have an internet connection, earn points with the missions. To learn how to play you can use the training section.
Current Version: 2.7.1 (April 20, 2020)
1Timer (Voice Timer) (macOS, US$1.99)
This app provides timers with voice reminders at a frequency of your choice.
You will be pleasantly surprised by how useful the app is in many scenarios. Here is an incomplete list of possible use cases.
- Workout -- we have you covered whether it simple workout or complex workout routines.
- Habits -- shape up some time-bounded habits.
- Kids -- give your kids a disciplinary countdown.
- Be on time -- get reminders before it's too late.
- Routines -- perform daily time-bound routines.
- Exams/tests -- be informed before the time's up.
- And many more...
Current Version: 1.0.2 (April 22, 2020)
Supersense AI (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Supersense is the smartest and simplest scanner app made for the blind and visually impaired users to read any text format independently.
With the power of AI, Supersense automatically figures out what you are trying to scan, guides you on how to point the camera, and reads the content in the right format. Its unique design minimizes the time and frustrations of scanning and reading text for a blind and visually impaired user.
Full features of Supersense:
- Smart Scanner: The app looks at the text you are trying to read and the AI figures out whether it is a short text, a book, a currency, or something else
- Smart Guidance: The app guides you on how to point the camera and finds the best angle to have the most accurate results
- Read all sorts of texts: documents, mails, books, currencies or handwriting
- Import: Read and explore text from the photos in your camera roll
Most features work without an internet connection so that the blind or visually impaired user can use it in any situation. The app has full VoiceOver accessibility support and is available in multiple languages.
Current Version: 1.2.6 (April 29, 2020)
The Infinite Story (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
The Infinite Story is a text adventure game whose story is generated by an AI. Every situation you will encounter is unique and will be shaped by your actions. Start as one of 8 different classes (from Peasant to Noble) and discover a rich fantasy world. Build your own adventure in the first Human-AI cooperative storytelling game.
Current Version: 1.2.1 (April 24, 2020)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Apple Support (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Need help? Get the support you need for the Apple products you love—all in one place. Apple Support gives you personalized access to solutions for all of your Apple products and services. Learn how to manage your subscriptions, reset your Apple ID password, and more. Talk with a real person to troubleshoot an issue, or get guided, step-by-step solutions to resolve it yourself. And if you need to set up a repair, Apple Support will find the best support options available in your area.
Current Version: 4.0 (April 28, 2020)
Changes in Version 4.0
- All new customized user interface, including Dark Mode support
- Get smarter solutions for even more topics using guided, step-by-step troubleshooting
- It’s now easier to find support for all of your Apple services and subscriptions
- New and improved chat and call experiences
Cash Reader: Bill Identifier (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Cash Reader identifies banknote denomination for the largest number of currencies.
Current Version: 1.39 (April 20, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.39
Cash Reader identifies the banknotes of these new currencies: Mongolian togrog, South Sudanese pound, Sudanese pound, Algerian Dinar. Cash Reader Settings changed: Settings buttons are separate now for an easier selection between multiple choices.
This banknote, 5 Argentinian Peso, is withdrawn from circulation and removed from Cash Reader.
We are changing vibration patterns due to the withdrawn denomination.
Please refer to the Vibrations Settings to learn vibration patterns of selected currency.
Dolphin EasyReader (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
EasyReader is a FREE accessible reading app for readers with dyslexia, low vision or blindness. Browse & download from the World's largest collection of talking book and newspaper libraries. Open your own DAISY, Epub or text books. Or copy text from anywhere on your phone & hear EasyReader read it back to you. Experience perfectly synchronized text & audio. Or for text only titles, EasyReader can add a human sounding voice of your choice. Boost comfort or contrast - choose colours, text size and highlights to suit your visual needs.
Make your books' text as big as your eyes require. Unlike other mainstream reading apps, there's no restriction with EasyReader. Zoom in with a standard 2 finger pinch or make fine adjustments with the simple sliders. There's never any blurry text or fuzzy fonts - your books' words are always crystal clear and always easy on the eye.
Navigate your books or newspapers by skipping directly to specific pages or headings. Search your book for words or phrases. Add text bookmarks or record your own audio bookmarks and return to them with ease.
EasyReader is fully optimized for use with iOS VoiceOver and iOS supported Braille displays.
Current Version: 2.9 (April 30, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.8
- New library: Blind Low Vision, NZ
- Login improvements for RNIB Reading Services
- Fix: App start issues
- Fix: Memory leak in device TTS playback caused the app to crash
- VoiceOver fixes and improvements
- Other various fixes and improvement
Envision AI (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Envision is the fastest, most reliable and up-to-date app that verbally translates the visual world into spoken words, helping blind and visually impaired people to lead more independent lives.
Using the iPhone camera, smart artificial intelligence and OCR, Envision is designed and tested with input and support from the visually impaired community. The app is simple, it Gets Things Done and brings the best assistive experience to blind and low vision users.
With full VoiceOver support, Envision allows you to:
- Instantly read texts in over 60 different languages. Fully available offline for Latin-based languages like English.
- Easily scan your paper documents (single or multiple pages) with the help of audio-guided edge detection. All content is spoken back to you and is ready for export and edit.
- Quickly read handwritten postcards, letters, lists and other paperwork written in neat handwriting.
- Effortlessly describe visual scenes around you - simply take a picture of it.
- Detect colours on your clothes, walls, books, you name it.
- Swiftly scan barcodes to get more information about the products you use and consume.
- Find people around you; The names of your family and friends are spoken out whenever they are in the frame.
- Find objects around you; selecting common objects from the in-app list.
- Share images or documents from your phone or other apps like Twitter or WhatsApp by selecting Envision from the share sheet, to get a description of the image and recognition of all the text within it.
Current Version: 2.1.8 (April 9, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.1.8
- A faster, more reliable Document Reader - you can now import PDF files of any size and the app should be able to handle it with ease.
- Better export feature - You can now export a scanned document easily in .txt format and if during the export process stops midway for any reason it'll resume from the last page exported if you reload the document.
There are more improvements under the hood for the Document Reader and in other parts of the app. As always, we're eager to hear your feedback so please write to us from within the app or to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay – Tweet from your Watch (watchOS, US$3.99)
Jay brings Twitter to your Apple Watch.
Scroll your timeline, like, retweet, search tweets, follow Twitter user profiles,
and, of course, Tweet!
Current Version: 2.7.4 (April 27, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.7.2
This update is all about improving Twitter Direct Messages:
You can now view images, GIFs and videos in direct messages.
Messages written in Right-to-Left scripts (like Arabic and Hebrew) are displayed correctly.
I also made some improvements to VoiceOver support.
Microsoft Soundscape (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to enhance your awareness of what is around you, and thereby help you get around and explore your surroundings.
Soundscape will place audio cues and labels in 3D space such that they sound like they are coming from the direction of the points of interest, parks, roads and other features in your surroundings.
You will need a pair of stereo headsets that you feel comfortable wearing outdoors. For example, bone conduction headsets, Apple AirPods and in-ear open headphones have proven to work well.
Soundscape is designed to live in the background and provide you with effortless ambient awareness. Therefore, feel free to use it in conjunction with other apps such as podcasts, audio books, email and even GPS navigation.
Current Version: 2.2.1 (April 1, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.2.1
We have some useful changes in this release to make your use of the audio beacon as a guide to your destination even easier.
- We redesigned the sound of the beacon from the ground up to make it much easier to hear it's direction wearing your stereo headphones even in noisy environments such as a city center. Take a few minutes to listen to it and learn how it works.
- While setting the beacon to your destination, the search experience has been improved significantly. You can now type partial names and get richer results quickly.
- You can now find the distance to the beacon on the phone's lock screen so you can quickly access the information while walking without the need to unlock your phone.
- Use the "My location" button to locate the next intersection along the road you are on, so you can make good navigation decisions on your way towards your destination.
Timecrest: The Door (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
In Timecrest, where epic fantasy meets interactive fiction, author Lisa J. Skye introduces you to Ash Elden, where together you both must scramble to solve the puzzle of who unfroze the meteors to destroy Ash’s world of Alyncia. You discover that you have access to a forbidden magic–the ability to turn back time.
Every choice you make matters, and will change the outcome of this massive 225,000-word interactive story, leading to one of multiple endings. Immersive yourself within the emotional soundtrack and explore the non-linear maps.
With your new incredible powers, who will you choose to live and let die?
Current Version: 2.9.6 (April 7, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.9.6
- Added a Battery Saver feature. Enabling this in the Settings menu will make disable the Music Player's animations and have it fade to use less power.
- Fixed a bug where the VoiceOver voice would pause between words frequently
- Fixed a bug where Guild Rank was not visible on Morty's screen on several devices
- Fixed a bug with VoiceOver where "period" and "space" was spoken in Inbox
- Cleaned up accessibility labels in the Merchant screen
- Fixed a bug with VoiceOver where you couldn't tap on the buttons and earn Time Crystals for Like on Facebook, Visit Forum, and so on.
VOTimer (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)
Can't see the time remaining because the font is too small?
VOTimer is a countdown timer with big buttons and clear font.
Count down visible from far away. Use it as a game time on an iPad!
Alarm can be configured to only play in headphones if those are connected. Ideal to take a power-nap and wake up without disturbing others.
A recipe for success: Cup of coffee, then 18 minutes of sleep, waking up to cow bells from VOTimer, and you are as good as new. Caffeine takes about 20 minutes to kick in, so you wake up doubly refreshed.
Current Version: 1.6 (April 6, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.6
Update to maintain compatibility with new iPhones and iOS versions.
Recent News and Views
Join us for a Virtual Community Get-Together on May 3, 2020
By AppleVis | April 30, 2020
We would like to invite everyone in the AppleVis community to join us for a virtual get-together as a way to help people connect in new ways during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Our virtual get-together will be held via Zoom on Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. CDT/ 7:00 p.m. UTC. To join the meeting from iOS, Mac, PC, or Android, simply follow this link. You can also join the meeting by manually enterring Meeting ID 842 8555 7596 into the Zoom app.
To join via telephone, find your local number here and use Meeting ID 842 8555 7596.
Personal Power; The iOS Edition
By Michael Feir | April 27, 2020
Hello everyone. I wrote this preface because I believe that some of you may want a more in-depth explanation about what compelled me to create this frankly mammoth guide and then to ultimately give it away. I have a number of reasons for both decisions. Lets start with why I'm making this guide freely available. Mainly, I think we're in a situation where the people who need this guide the most literally don't know enough to perceive its value to them. This isn't at all a case of willful ignorance or laziness on their part. Rather, the basic premise puts up a huge barrier. The thought of using a touchscreen to do things competently, enjoyably, and independently as a blind person seems at best unintuitive and more likely downright absurd. For blind people who haven't tried an iOS device, it seems crazy paying to learn what might be possible using something with almost no tactile elements to orient oneself.
If you had never seen what things looked like from the top of what appears to be an incalculably high mountain, how much effort would you put into climbing it with the vague understanding that the view would be spectacular upon reaching the top? Would you pay extra for instructions which no sighted people who use these devices need to pay in order to become competent? I think many blind people who might benefit tremendously from using an iOS device and accessible apps have approached things with that very naturally skeptical outlook and decided not to acquire smartphones and tablets. Even worse, they went ahead and got these devices thinking that they would be just as intuitive for blind people to master as they were for people who could see. They then grow increasingly bitter because the information they lack prevents their experience from even approaching what was advertised.
By sharing this guide with no financial strings attached, I hope to fundamentally change the equation. I'm not in any way being paid by Apple to do this. Nor am I being financially compensated by blindness organizations who I sincerely hope will help spread this guide to their clients and benefit from it. There are a great many more enjoyable ways, and potentially a few more profitable ways I could have spent the considerable time and effort I've put into this guide. What has kept me going is my deep sense of how much joy and fulfillment my iPHONE has allowed me to experience. I strongly believe that if more blind people can share in this enjoyment, their gains will enrich their lives greatly. Further, this will in turn increase my own enjoyment as well as that of people who already do even more with their devices than I've ever imagined was possible.
Apple Launches New $399 iPhone SE With 4.7-Inch LCD Display, A13 Chip, and Touch ID
By AppleVis | April 15, 2020
Apple has today announced the launch of a second-generation iPhone SE featuring a 4.7-inch Retina HD LCD display, A13 Bionic chip, Touch ID and a single 12-megapixel camera.
Although visually similar to the iPhone 8 and sharing the same physical dimensions, the new iPhone SE features some upgraded internals to the iPhone 8 (which has been discontinued today). Probably the most notable of the upgrades is the A13 Bionic chip introduced with iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.
Other Apple News
- Apple Releases iOS 13.4.1 and iPadOS 13.4.1 With FaceTime and Bluetooth Bug Fixes
- Apple Releases watchOS 6.2.1 and macOS 10.15.4 Supplemental Update
Some Developers Are Offering Their Music Apps Free During Lockdown, but How Accessible Are They?
By Lysette Chaproniere | April 13, 2020
To encourage us to stay at home and get creating, several developers are giving away their music creation apps for free Since so many visually impaired people are musicians, it would make sense for these companies to incorporate accessibility into the design of their apps.
Far too often, however, for screen reader users, music software is difficult to use at best. On iOS and iPad OS, developers usually take advantage of the touchscreen to create a visually appealing interface, sometimes with controls that look like what you'd find on an analogue synth, mixer or other gear. If these controls are non-standard, VoiceOver won't be able to interact with them unless they have specifically been made accessible. If you're working with an on screen instrument, you want to touch the instrument and instantly hear it play, but VoiceOver users double-tap where other users tap once, so touching an instrument will announce what you've just touched, but won't play the note. Apple has provided a solution to this problem: developers can designate an area of the screen that VoiceOver users can interact with in the same way as sighted users. If you touch that part of the screen with VoiceOver turned on, it will behave in the same way as if you touched it with VoiceOver turned off. This is called 'direct 'touch. If developers don't use direct touch in their apps, it will be difficult or impossible to play an on screen instrument with voiceover turned on.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed April 2020: It's Dead Jim!
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, regular hosts Thomas Domville and Randy Rusnak are joined by Michael Hansen to discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this podcast include:
AppleVis Extra #71: In-Depth Interview with Maurice Parker of NetNewsWire
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Thomas Domville interviews Maurice Parker one of the developers of NetNewsWire.
AppleVis Extra 70: An Interview with the Developer of Envision AI
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason and Scott Davert interview KARTHIK KANNAN developer of Envision AI.
How to Use iCloud Folder Sharing on macOS
In this podcast, Tyler Stephen shows us how to share folders in iCloud Drive on a Mac running macOS Catalina 10.15.4 or later.
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:
- ask apple to push developers to be aware of the accessibility of their games?
- Issue keeping me from moving to mac permanently
- Introducing Envision Glasses
- I found a dev who will consider making us a Sims style game
- I've had it with AirPods and the Mac
Club AppleVis offers members and friends of our community a means of directly contributing towards the financial costs of operating AppleVis—thus ensuring that we can continue to deliver the information, help, and support that so many people have come to value and rely on since our launch in 2010.
To learn more about Club AppleVis; the perks of membership; and how you can join, please visit www.applevis.com/club-applevis
We hope that everybody in our community, your families, and loved ones continues to remain safe and healthy in these difficult times.