AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for August 2017
Welcome to the August 2017 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
Blindfold Deal Or Not (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Deal or Not is a fully accessible trivia game inspired by the TV Game Show "Deal or No Deal".
You start off by picking an envelope that contains cash, but you are not told how much cash is in your envelope. The game board starts with 26 envelopes, and once you've picked your envelopes, there are 25 envelopes remaining.
In the first round, you pick 7 envelopes to remove from the game board, and as each is removed, you are told how much was in that envelope. At the end of the first round, the banker will make you an offer to pay you for your envelope. If you accept the offer, you receive the cash offered by the banker. If you reject the offer, you continue to the next round.
The game continues in this manner for several more rounds, until you are at the last envelope. You can either pick that envelope, or keep your envelope. Once you pick one of the envelopes, you are told what you now have, and what you gave up. You get to keep the cash in the envelope you pick.
There are about 10 rooms where the game is played with different amounts of cash, and you can enter any of the rooms if you've won enough cash.
Blindfold Deal or Not comes with coins to play for free, and then you can purchase unlimited play.
Current Version: 1.1.9 (August 29, 2017)
Blindfold Flappy (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Flappy is a fully accessible audio game, inspired by the mobile game Flappy Bird. The objective is to move your bird so it's flies through the holes in the pipes.
Your bird is at the left side of the screen, and falls from the top of the screen to the bottom; your bird pops up a little each time you tap the screen.
Constantly moving towards your bird are pipes that run from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen; each pipe has a gap, or a hole, in it. Your task is to move your bird so that when the pipe is about to hit your bird, your bird is lined up with the hole, and passes through it.
This game can be played with or without headphones or earbuds, but when you are starting out, earbuds will make it easier. Once you get the hang of it, you can just listen to the sounds.
In your left ear, you hear a tone that indicates where your bird is. As the bird drops, the tone drops in pitch. Each time you tap the screen, the tone increases in pitch. In your right ear, you hear a tone that indicates where the mid-point of the hole in the pipe is. As the pipe gets closer and closer to you, the sound gets louder.
To ensure your bird will make it through the hole, you want the tones in both your ears to be as close in pitch as possible.
The game comes with coins; you need one coin to play. More coins are available as an in-app upgrade.
Current Version: 1.0.8 (August 19, 2017)
Eclipse Soundscapes (iOS, Free)
The Eclipse Soundscapes Project app is specially designed so that people who are blind and visually impaired can share in the awe and wonder of astronomical events in real time with their sighted peers.
The app is a joint effort between The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), NASA’s Heliophysics Education Consortium (HEC), the National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), and the National Park Service (NPS). Features include an interactive “Rumble map”; audio descriptions of key features of the eclipse; a play-by-play description of the total solar eclipse as it is happening in the user’s area; and a countdown clock to the next upcoming eclipse.
The “Rumble Map” gives the user the sensation of “feeling” the Sun during an eclipse. Our technology translates images of key eclipse features into a series of unique frequency modulated tones that map out variations in light and dark as the user explores the image with their fingertips. These tones are specially designed to make the user’s mobile device shake, or rumble, in response to the changes.
After the eclipse, the Eclipse Soundscapes app will provide access to a database of soundscape recordings from U.S. National Parks and other urban and rural locations so that users can experience how eclipses change the behavior of different species, including humans. During the next five years, the app will expand to include other eclipses and astronomical objects of interest giving people who are blind and visually impaired – and everyone else – a new way to engage with the universe around them.
Current Version: 1.2.3 (August 16, 2017)
iAccessibility (iOS, Free)
iAccessibility believes that everyone can use technology, and our goal is to make technology accessible to everyone. With the iAccessibility app, you can read about new technologies, listen to our podcasts, and learn more from an amazing community of technology enthusiasts.
Current Version: 1.0.1 (August 9, 2017)
IFTTT (iOS, Free)
Applets bring your favorite services together to create new experiences.
Over 500 apps work with IFTTT including Twitter, Telegram, Google Drive, Twitch, Weather Underground, Instagram, Gmail, and devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest, Philips Hue, and your iPhone. The IFTTT app also integrates with the Health app, so you can easily track and maintain your habits.
Turn on Applets and:
- Control everything around you with your voice and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- Stay informed about what’s happening from publications like The New York Times and ProPublica
- Always stay prepared for the weather with custom daily forecast notifications
- Message roommates when you’re near the local grocery
- Get an alert as soon as there’s a new Craigslist listing that matches you search
- Stay safe with automated and intelligent home security alerts
- Streamline your social media
- Back up and share your iOS photos automatically
- Back up important files, photos, and contacts to cloud-storage solutions, such as Dropbox or Google Drive
- Set your home thermostat to an optimal temperature when you arrive home
- Post all your Instagrams as Twitter photos or Pinterest pins
- Trigger events based on your current location
There are thousands of other use cases! New services are added every week. Some popular ones include: Twitch, Telegram, Spotify, YouTube, Google Calendar, Tumblr, Medium, Pocket, Square, eBay, Giphy, Automatic, LIFX, Fitbit, Withings, littleBits, Google WiFi, Evernote, Reddit, Digg, Skype, Slack, LINE, MailChimp, Salesforce, Todoist, and hundreds more.
Current Version: 3.3.10 (August 18, 2017)
Paladins: Choices Game (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
A text adventure RPG where YOU play the characters in a medieval fantasy novel! The story is set in the rich world of Dezrel created by author David Dalglish. You play several different characters including a Paladin of Ashhur, a wolf-man pack leader, a scrappy farmer, and more!
Put yourself into the shoes of the characters and watch the story unfold, but be careful what choices you make. Death is always near.
64 chapters of adventure, over 100 achievements, and TONS of interesting choices. And it's all free. Sweet, sweet, freedom.
This interactive novel is based on David Dalglish's Paladins Series of fantasy novels. Mr. Dalglish has partnered with Delight Games to "gamify" his novel. As far as we know, this is the first time a traditional novel has been gamified like this. Download it and be among the first to experience a novel in this novel way. ;)
Current Version: 1.13 (August 4, 2017)
Word Search War: Puzzle Guru (iOS, Free with In-App Purchases)
Word War! is a word search with a spin. Play a a single player word search or challenge an opponent to a timed or a live word battle and search for word simultaneously. Launch attacks against your opponents to slow them down and win the battle.
Word War! was created for the visually impaired, but fun for all to play. Available in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese to allow you to test your skill against opponents all over the world!
- Facebook friends
- Twitter followers
- Random opponents
Key Features include:
- Over 150+ word categories!
- Single player or multiplayer games!
- Multiplayer timed and live games!
- Smoke bombs to slow down opponents!
- Letter bombs to remove letters!
- Chat with your friends
- Multiple lingual support for chat text!
- Level progressions with promotion criteria!
- Advanced stats and leaderboards!
- Lightning fast game play!
- 100% Voiceover accessible!
If you like word searches, you need to try Word War! Download for free and start a Word War today!
Current Version: 1.0.2 (August 25, 2017)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Seeing Assistant Home Lite (iOS, Free)
Seeing Assistant Home LITE is an application developed by Transition Technologies S.A. in order to support blind and visually impaired people in everyday life. Seeing Assistant Home LITE allows the users to color recognition, detection of the light source and partially visually impaired people to use electronic loupe. Allows the users to scan and generate barcodes and QR codes. SeeingAssistant–Home has been developed in close co-operation visually impaired people in order to address their needs as well as possible.
- scan a barcode format EAN-13/UPC-A, Code 128, Code 39 and QR code
- store scanned barcodes with dedicated description (label) in private database
- generate both QR codes and ordinary barcodes (EAN-13)
- recognition of colors
- detection the light source
- electronic loupe
LITE version provides limited functionality in number of stored barcodes, the length of the text generated QR code, daily time of use a magnifying glass and a light source detection, lack of Dropbox integration.
Current Version: 2.1.0 (August 25, 2017)
Changes in Version 2.0-2.1.0
- Added new sheet format to generated barcode pdf file ( 5 x 13)
- Magnifying glass – added new functionality
- Codes scanner – decreased scanning time required to read codes
- Improved scanner image quality
- Added ability to scan multiple codes at once
- Added new accessibility settings and gesture
- minor bug fixes and UI changes
- Minor text updates
- Added alert for public barcodes when connection error occurs
- Update for tutorials
- Fixed occasional crash in "More"
- Fix for iPad and torch button
- Light detection sound settings will not be saved anymore as requested
Seeing Eye GPS (iOS, Free to Download But Requires Subscription)
The Seeing Eye, the pioneer in guide dogs, and Sendero Group, the pioneers of accessible GPS, have teamed up to create The Seeing Eye GPS™. Almost 20 years of user feedback and feature requests are behind the design of all Sendero GPS products. The accessible features in The Seeing Eye GPS™ are only the beginning of what is yet to come as users help in evolving this first fully accessible GPS product for the iPhone. The Seeing Eye GPS™ is a fully accessible turn-by-turn GPS iPhone app with all the normal navigation features plus features unique to blind users.
Unique to The Seeing Eye GPS™
- Instead of multiple layers of menus, the three important navigation elements are on the lower portion of every screen: Route, POIs and Location.
- At intersections, the cross street and its orientation are announced
- Intersections are described (e.g. four-way) with the clock face orientation of the streets.
- There are two choices for POI data (Google Places and Foursquare).
- Directions are configured appropriately for Pedestrian and Vehicle routes, including heads-up announcements for approaching turns, turn now, continue straight and upcoming turns.
- If one wanders off the route, it's automatically recalculated and updated turn information is announced.
- Point your phone in a given direction to hear what is nearby with the LookAround Wand.
- Nearby Points of interest and intersections are automatically announced.
- Ability to run in the background or with the screen locked for iOS 7. If you are running an older version of iOS 6 only the sound effects will play and the phone will vibrate at turns and at your destination but no speech output. Note: Continued use of GPS running in the background can dramatically decrease battery life.
Supported Maps: U.S., Canada, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Lithuania. Not all countries have full intersection descriptions.
Current Version: 3.1 (August 18, 2017)
Changes in Version 3.1
- Implemented a new code to assist data matching between the server maps and the intersection database. If you experienced inconsistent intersection announcements because of the database inconsistencies, you will find this feature greatly improved.
- Improved the GPS sensitivity announcements, instead of updating every time you change locations, the app will wait 10 seconds while it has a poor GPS fix before reporting updated on GPS.
- Upgraded account with Foursquare to increase the Foursquare POI search limitation.
- Many under the hood improvements to increase app stability.
Speech Central: Web Text to Speech (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Fully featured text to speech app. The first app ever to feature the interactive web on the go. Users can interact with web sites and RSS feeds and pick articles to be read aloud by using headphone or Bluetooth hands-free buttons.
Functions of those audio buttons can be customized which results in high productivity and accessibility. The app is tested to be accessible with VoiceOver by legally blind users. It can be used as an assistive technology and helper for people with visual impairments and disabilities like dyslexia (dyslexia friendly font is included in the app). Bookshare, an accessible online library is integrated into the app.
The app is not just a voice reader of the internet content, you can import various text file formats to be read aloud - supported document types are: Microsoft Word (.docx), Microsoft PowerPoint (.pptx), OpenOffice/LibreOffice (.odt, .odp), .html, .txt, supported ebook formats are .epub, DAISY and .fb2 and emails in .eml format. All those formats will work only if a document has no DRM.
Current Version: 2.17.0 (August 29, 2017)
Changes in August 2017 Updates
- Bookshare service integration
- Popular and Latest lists of books on Bookshare
- Paste button appears in the footer of Articles tab when there is a fresh copied link
- Setting to pick which speeds to shuffle
- Setting to assign speed shuffle command to the remote button
- speed 3.0x
- tweaks for opening file on iOS 11
- option to activate one day without restrictions
Threema (iOS, US$2.99)
Threema is the world’s favorite secure messenger and keeps your data out of the hands of hackers, corporations and governments. Threema can be used completely anonymously, and offers a rich set of features.
- write text and send voice messages
- share videos, pictures and locations
- send any type of file (pdf, animated gif, mp3, doc, zip, etc.)
- create groups
- conduct polls with the unique poll feature
- choose between a dark and a light theme
- quickly and silently reply with the unique agree/disagree feature
- verify the identity of a contact by scanning their personal QR code
- use Threema as anonymous instant messaging tool
- synchronize your contacts (optional)
Current Version: 2.10.2 (August 21, 2017)
Changes in Version 2.10.2
- Various VoiceOver improvements
- Quick-selection dialog for images/videos
- Send up to 10 images at once
- New gallery
- Mark chats as unread by swiping right in the chat overview
- Mark unread messages as read in the chat overview by swiping right
- Clone groups
- No status icon is displayed in the chat overview for drafts
- Fixed a bug that prevented the first group message from being received after joining a group
- General improvements and miscellaneous bug fixes
Recent News and Views
Apple Officially Announces September 12 Event; Expect to see New iPhones, Apple Watch and Apple TV
By AppleVis | August 31, 2017
Apple has today sent out invitations to the press for an event to be held on 12 September at the Steve Jobs Theater on its new Apple Park Campus in Cupertino.
In addition to unveiling 3 new models of the iPhone, there are strong rumors that Apple will also be introducing the next generations of the Apple Watch and Apple TV.
However, the main attention is certain to be on the new iPhones, with particular focus and interest on a rumoured and much anticipated OLED model which in the absence of anything official from Apple is being touted as the "iPhone 8".
Seeking Experienced Writers with a Passion for Apple Products to Join our Blog Team
By AppleVis | August 30, 2017
Do you have a passion for Apple products and strong writing skills? If so, we may be able to offer you an exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunity to write original, high-quality content for AppleVis as a member of our small team of regular bloggers.
This is a wonderful opportunity to inform and engage with thousands of readers on the leading website for blind and low vision users of Apple products. Your articles will be read by other end users, app developers, accessibility advocates, Assistive Technology experts, and people working for blind and low vision agencies across the world.
Broadly speaking, the main focus for blog posts is likely to be from one of the following areas:
- News about new or updated products or services that will be of specific interest to the AppleVis community.
- Commentary on the experience of being a blind or low vision user of Apple products, third-party applications or related accessories.
- Raising awareness and promoting good practice in accessible development on the macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS platforms.
Yo, Human! Tweaking My Mac: Accessing Life with Adaptive Technology
By Nicholas | August 21, 2017
I love customizing and tweaking my Mac operating System. From finding those little speed boosts to reducing keypresses for navigation, there is something exciting about finding settings that actually help and make things easier and more comfy. If it were a car it would be a low-rider and have pin-stripes. A stereo would be blasting Led Zeppelin or Santana with a thumpin' subwoofer in the trunk. Some fuzzy dice would be hanging from the mirror. Oops, showing my age again.
Since my Mac has nothing from which to hang my dice, I tend to focus my tweaks on functionality and ease of use. Economy of movement is usually my main theme. I hear comments about how difficult VO is on the Mac, alluding to the use of Control and Option as the VO keys. Yet I find many ways around this by looking for those little details and settings that help me augment or bypass their use entirely.