AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for December 2019

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Welcome to the December 2019 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

BabySitMe (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)

This Realistic Baby Simulation App will transform the way you play with your Reborn Baby Doll (or other Baby Dolls) forever!

Turn the app on when you are ready to take care of your baby and turn the app off when you are finished caring for your baby.

BabySitMe is designed to replicate an infant simulator when combined with your Reborn Baby. This app is perfect for anyone wanting to have a little extra fun while role playing with their Reborn Baby dolls. While Babysitme is running a schedule, it tells the user to Feed, Burp, Rock and all other necessary actions when really taking care of an infant. These actions are designed to be acted out in role play with the user’s Reborn Baby Doll.

When using the app you will be able to choose between Easy, Medium, Hard or Play mode simulations. The Easy, Medium & Hard simulations run on a 24-hour schedule. The Play mode is designed for people that are just wanting a fast-paced version of the app. It is a shortened version of the simulation modes where the care events are very close together and don’t last very long.

Read BabySitMe's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit BabySitMe's App Store page 

Firefox Lockwise (iOS/iPadOS, Free)

PASSWORD ACCESS FOR YOU & ONLY YOU

Securely track your Firefox passwords and access them anywhere

Quickly open any website from the app to get into your accounts

TRUSTED SECURITY FOR YOUR PERSONAL CREDENTIALS

  • Use Face ID or Touch ID to lock the app and keep your passwords private
  • Secure your information with an automatic timer which locks the app
  • Tap to copy your username and password to get into apps and websites
  • Set the browser you want to open your website URLs

Created by Mozilla, voted the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy

Current Version: 1.7.1 (December 13, 2019)

Read Firefox Lockwise's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Firefox Lockwise's App Store page 

Heart's Choice (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

How will you find your Happily Ever After? The choice is yours! Become the main character of a romance novel and choose your path to love.

Since 2009, the team behind Choice of Games has created high-quality interactive novels in all genres. Now, our new Heart’s Choice label puts romance at the center of the story, and you at the center of the romance.

There are no graphics or sound effects, so we can focus on the story. Every game is filled with vivid, fully-developed characters and complex narratives that respond to your choices.

Every path is always open to you; we never charge extra for the best options or most interesting storylines. Whatever gender or orientation you want to play, there will be a Heart’s Choice game for you in our catalogue! And whether you like your romance sweet, spicy, or smoking hot, you’ll be able to find a story that you love. Here are some of our first exciting titles:

  • A Pirate’s Pleasure: When a pirate finds her heart caught between her rival captain and the noble governor, which man will she choose? What does she value most: her love, her treasure, or her ship? Play as a straight female.
  • Jazz Age: Sing your heart out in Roaring 20s New York! Will you find love with the owner of a Harlem nightclub, or with the dangerous G-man trying to enforce Prohibition? Play as male, female, or non-binary, gay or straight.
  • Dawnfall: Find true love and family with a pirate crew at the ends of the universe! Aliens, ghosts, and portals open the space between worlds...and your heart. Play as male, female, nonbinary, or agender; gay, straight, bisexual, asexual, or aromantic.

Current Version: 1.0.3 (December 7, 2019)

Read Heart's Choice's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Heart's Choice's App Store page 

Multi Path Audio : Books (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Multi Path Audio Books are multiple choice 'books on tape' with many different paths to pick, endings, titles to earn, and ways to win or lose! At it’s core it is an entertaining text based audiobook player for adults and kids. A hands free game for those long road trips, flights, or sleepless nights.

Created by David Levy of Hobjoblin, MPA allows you to choose your own interactive fiction audio adventure. The fun part is that you can play each audio book again and again. Only, which way will choose to go next time? The stories are written by several different authors and narrators, with genres including Vampires, Pirates, Fantasy, Children's, and Sci Fi. More books are constantly in production, so expect your library to grow!

All stories are free to download and play through a couple times, so this gives you lots of free entertainment for zero moneys!

Start by downloading our first text based adventure titled The Purple Island Glow-Grubs written by Dave Strand and Kelly Levy with narration by Peter Hicks. It contains over 2.5 hours of audio, with 9 ways to win and 21 ways to lose! Each story line takes roughly 15-25 minutes, perfect for the drive to work.

Current Version: 1.4 (December 12, 2019)

Read Multi Path Audio : Books' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Multi Path Audio : Books' App Store page 

Smash the gangs (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Gather your favorite cards and fight the outlaws in +75 missions!

Defeat the bandits and get Stars and Wollars to improve your team and buy projectiles, coffee and snake oil.

Fight against your friends in nearby devices and show them who’s the boss!

  • 75 missions, +100 hero cards
  • Strategy mode + Kick and Punch mode
  • No network connection needed.
  • Play on iPhone, iPad and iPod, both vertical and landscape.
  • Nice music, sound effects and sportscaster comments.
  • 100% VoiceOver accessible.

PLEASE NOTE! Despite been set in the far west and having a kick and punch mode, this game shows no blood spills nor gunshots.

Smash the Gangs is 100% free to play, however, some game items can also be purchased for real money to speed up the progress. If you don't want to use this feature, please disable in-app purchases in your device's settings.

Current Version: 1.02 (December 24, 2019)

Read Smash the gangs' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Smash the gangs' App Store page 

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

iOS
Mac
Apple Watch
Apple TV

Notable App Updates

Chirp for Twitter (watchOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Chirp for Twitter is the best way to use Twitter on your Apple Watch for free.

You can endlessly scroll through your timeline, catch up on trending, and keep up with your mentions. You can also read and reply to all of your direct messages!

Use lists? Chirp can do that do. Need to search for something (or someone) specific? Yep, Chirp does that as well.

Not only can you browse your timeline, but it's also incredibly feature packed! With videos, images, mentions, hashtags, and so much more, you'll be able to get through any boring meeting or school assembly with Chirp!

Current Version: 2.0.1 (December 7, 2019)

Changes in Version 2.0

Hey everyone! I don’t use the ‘2.0’ version number lightly, and I'm so glad I waited this long to use it! Here is a list of all of the new features you can find in Chirp 2.0! Please note, some features below required watchOS 6.

  • The timeline has been completely rewritten for watchOS 6. It’s now truly faster, more efficient, and more reliable than ever. It now has true endless scrolling too!
  • Username Colours! Head in to Settings on your iPhone or Apple Watch running watchOS 6 (or later) to change the color of your username! Better yet, everyone else using Chirp will be able to see it too! This feature is $2 (or $1 for Chirp Pro users) – The decision to make it paid was not taken lightly, but ultimately it required a lot of backend work, which I believe justifies the $2 (or $1) upgrade.
  • Mentions, Likes, Trending, Hashtags, Lists and Search now all use the more efficient and feature-packed timeline!
  • An improved video player! Tired of videos endlessly loading, or just freezing up? I’ve written a completely new video player to be far more robust, reliable, and best of all, fast!
  • With username colors, there’s now a ‘Rainbow’ option. But during Pride month (June), this color will be free for everyone.
  • Dark mode is now available in the iOS app
  • Sign up in seconds! Instead of opening Twitter.com and logging in, if the Twitter app is installed on your iPhone, you can now authenticate with that.
  • Faster load times
  • Images now show in DMs
  • Tweet now also show in DMs
  • FlickType has been updated to be way easier to use. No more dots as you type, no more painful corrections, just type as you would on your phone (Check the Apple Watch screenshots for a quick preview)!
  • Image grids! Up to four images per tweet can now be previewed on your timeline. Previously it was limited to just one, but now you can see all four in a snazzy grid.
  • Want to send a user a direct message directly from their profile? Now you can! Just force touch and hit the message button!
  • More messages! Chirp can now load up to three times as many messages as before (from 50 up to 150)!
  • You can now delete tweets you’ve authored by force-touching and choosing ‘Delete Tweet’.

The less interesting changes:

  • Added a troubleshooting guide to the Chirp setup page on both iOS and watchOS.
  • When a user buys Chirp Pro, they’ll now be prompted on their Apple Watch with instructions on how to tweet.
  • Added an ‘Acknowledgements’ page to the iOS settings page. Head to Settings > Chirp > Acknowledgements to see it!
  • When logging out of Chirp on your iPhone, the currently logged in username will be shown.
  • The search page now prompts you to enter a search term if you tap ‘Search People’ or ‘Search Tweets’ before entering one. This was a common point of confusion, so I’m glad I’ve cleared it up.
  • Chirp now uses a verified logo in place of a blue username

New languages! I'm so happy to say that Chirp is now available in:

  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Danish (Denmark)
  • Dutch
  • Finnish
  • German
  • Hungarian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Norwegian Bokmål
  • Portuguese (Brazil)
  • Portuguese (Portugal)
  • Russian
  • Spanish (Latin America)

It also wouldn’t be an update without some bug fixes!

Fixed:

  • If a tweet quoted a tweet which itself was a quote, a large blank space would appear.
  • Some images would appear squished or would just otherwise have the incorrect aspect ratio
  • Improved reliability of setup.
  • Some users may have shown as verified even if they weren’t
  • Some typos here and there
  • Sometimes ‘Tipping Jar’ price-labels could be truncated, this should be less of an issue now.

Read Chirp for Twitter's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Chirp for Twitter's App Store page 

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: 2.1.1 (December 19, 2019)

Changes in Version 2.1.0

Here comes another big update ringing in the festive season! Let's run down through some new things that you will find:

  1. Siri Shortcuts: You can now set up Siri Shortcuts for all the actions of the app through the Help Tab. You can then simply say "Hey Siri, read this" to open up instant text or "What colour is that?" to start detecting colours. Try it out and share your results!
  2. 3D Touch Shortcut: We have also made it easy for you to have quick access to your most used actions by setting them as 3D Touch Shortcuts. You can then access them by pressing hard on the Envision app icon and then jump directly into the action you're looking to do.
  3. The holiday season is back, so we have introduced introductory discounts. If you're contemplating becoming a subscriber, signing up for a subscription now will make sure you pay almost half for your first period.
  4. There's also new Christmasy processing sound and app icon.
  5. We made several improvements to the document recognition feature, where the experience is smoother than before.

As always, there are plenty more changes under the hood to improve performance. Keep a tab on our social media for a more special announcement coming up later this month.

Read Envision AI's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Envision AI's App Store page 

Knight Commander (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)

You are the leader of a brand new tribe.

Look after your people by giving them food and letting them sleep.

You can customize their gender and name to make it personal i.e. send Uncle Bob down the mines.

Tell them to gather resources and build buildings and craft items to make your empire stronger.

Sell your items for gold and further strengthen your empire by buying services from the shop.(No In-App Purchases required)

Equip them with weapons that you have made.

Complete quests for gold.

fight with computer opponents.

Survive disasters such as fire, flood and the clowns!

Current Version: 1.3.6 (December 21, 2019)

Changes in Version 1.3.0
  • More songs to choose from.
  • A lot of bugs fixed and code improvements.

Read Knight Commander's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Knight Commander's App Store page 

Seeing AI (iOS/iPadOS, 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.
  • Photo browsing experience - Describes photos on your phone

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: 3.3.2 (December 14, 2019)

Changes in Version 3.3
  • Added five new supported languages: Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
  • Added ability to recognize Japanese Yen in Currency channel.
  • Plus, various bug fixes 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/iPadOS, US$14.99)

“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, iBooks and most commercial eBook platforms 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.

Current Version: 4.10.0 (December 31, 2019)

Changes in Version 4.10.0

We improved text extraction for PDF documents in this update:

  • Better hyphen handling. Most line-break hyphens are automatically detected and removed, improving pronunciation.
  • Presence of third party fonts in iOS no longer causes crashes.
  • Some PDF files that produced gibberish text previously can now be processed successfully.
  • PDF documents in original layout are now accessible using VoiceOver.

If you’re using iCloud Sync across multiple devices, please update all your devices to this release. Otherwise PDF documents in original layout will not work correctly.

Finally, Apple fixed several problems with built-in iOS voices in iOS 13.3. It is good time to update if you haven’t done it already.

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

Visit Voice Dream Reader's App Store page 

Recent News and Views

AppleVis News

The Twelve Bugs of Christmas

By Paul Martz | December 8, 2019

Hello AppleVis community. It's been some time since I blogged. Other writing tasks have occupied my time. But the real reason I haven't blogged is because bugs are getting me down.

I could remain silent about the bugs as I've been doing for the past seven months. Or I could post a rant on the forum. But ultimately, I decided to approach the topic with some seasonal levity. So if you can read this blog as constructive criticism and humor, then join me on a merry sleigh ride through the Twelve Bugs of Christmas.

On the First Day of Christmas, Alphabetize my Music

In iOS 13, alphabetical navigation of artists or albums in the Music app fails to work reliably. When it does work, VoiceOver includes extra gibberish, such as "Cap C, heading, possibly, refresh," "Cap V, heading, possibly, down arrow," and "Cap X, heading, possibly, close".

Alphabetical music navigation broke previously in iOS10. The recurrence of the issue was a lump of coal in my stocking. It makes me wonder if Apple uses automated regression testing. Santa, please put a fix for this under my Christmas tree.

On the Second Day of Christmas, VoiceOver Shouldn't Talk to SIRI

VoiceOver shouldn't chatter like a mischievous elf when I'm using SIRI. Stuff a fix for this one in my stocking, please.

Read More: “The Twelve Bugs of Christmas”

Apple News

This Month in Podcasts

AppleVis Unleashed December 2019: Where are my Flying Cars?

In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville and Mike Malarsie are joined by special guest Robin Christopherson to discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this podcast include:

Listen to “AppleVis Unleashed December 2019: Where are my Flying Cars?”

This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville

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

Hot AppleVis Content

Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:

Club AppleVis

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

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