AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for January 2020
Welcome to the January 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
Audio Rush (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Discover the thrilling gameplay. Audio Rush introduces a completely new view on how games accessible for blind and visually impaired users should look like.
The task is simple - get as many points as you can and do not crash into any obstacle.
To move left? Or right? It can be easily determined by two divergent tones.
- Three difficulties
- Obstacle visibility switch
- Game Center support
- VoiceOver support
- Gradual speed increasing
- Two-finger tap gesture anywhere on the screen to pause the game
- Big pulsing visual score indicator
- Gradual background colour changing for visual representing approaching obstacles
Current Version: 1.1 (January 29, 2020)
Convert Audio (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Convert Audio allows you to convert almost all known audio formats to the below mentioned formats! Convert existing audio files or video files with audio! And after the conversion you can use multiple ways of sharing them!
How can we convert almost every file on your phone? Well, the converting can be accomplished by uploading your file to the cloud where it will be converted and downloaded back to your phone (and deleted from our servers). This all occurs really fast and while the converting is being done you can just continue using your phone.
However, the latest release also support offline conversions so no internet connection is required.
Convert to AAC, AIFF, FLAC, M4A, MMF, MP3, OGG, OPUS, WAV or WMA.
For example, convert wav to mp3! Or ogg to mp3, etc!
- Over 500 source formats are supported
- Use the 'Open with' option to load files
- Use the image gallery to load an image or take one using the camera (or video)
- Send the created file by email
You can change:
- Channels (mono, stereo)
- Trim to a specific part of the audio
- Change the speed
- And more!
Current Version: 8.1.12 (December 17, 2019)
Dynamo (macOS, US$0.99)
Dynamo lets you designate four unique hotkeys on your keyboard, one of which skips video ads on any website you visit, and the other three allow you to change the flow of any online video, whether you watch news, vlogs or interviews, tutorials, lectures.
IN A NUTSHELL:
- Video flow controller for Safari
- Allows you to skip video ads
- Lets you customise the hotkeys
- Works on all your favourite websites
- Never collects any personal data
Current Version: 1.8.0 (January 23, 2020)
Evelyn's farm (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)
To save money for college, you and your friends Ivan and Lucy have agreed to help an old lady, Evelyn, with the harvest. What could possibly go wrong?
Evelyn's Farm is a new adventure from the creator of Nano Empire, Friends of the Prince, and A Few Minutes of Glory.
*A nonlinear story with many possible endings *Incremental resource management as in Nano Empire *Gradually explore a vast world *Idle gameplay: make progress even while you are away *Fully accessible with VoiceOver *Pay once to own the entire game, forever
Current Version: 1.1 (January 18, 2020)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Autour (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Autour is an eyes-free mobile system designed to give blind users a better sense of their surroundings. Although other systems emphasize navigation from one specific location to another, typically accomplished by explicit turn-by-turn instructions, Autour uses spatialized audio to reveal the kind of information that visual cues such as neon signs provide to sighted users. Once users notice a point of interest, additional details are available on demand.
Current Version: 1.8.0 (December 7, 2019)
Changes in Version 1.8.0
Removed support for Google Places. Replaced Google Geocoding by LocationIQ geocoding for saying "you are standing at" in status. Maximum distance increased from 70 to 300 metres. OSM (alias OpenStreetMap) was the source of intersections, park shapes and large building shapes, but now it can also be used as a regular Place Data Source instead of FourSquare. Name of current mode is restated when you exit the main menu. The place menu now tells you the category of the place and, if you chose OSM Places, it can also tell you the website, the phone number and the opening hours if OSM has them, and Autour can dial the number or open the website. Screen sizes of the iPhone X models are now supported.
Bugfixes : Plugging stereo headphones after Autour was launched in mono mode now switches to stereo mode without restarting the app. Maximum radius of location error increased from 35 to 70 metres because iPhone 7 and later report much higher values than earlier phones. Intersection rendering is now always enabled, independently of whether the 'Services' category is selected. Fixed problem in which some devices continued rendering locations from the tutorial location after the tutorial was complete. Also fixed problem from iOS 13+ that prevented users from re-entering a given menu until restarting the app, and another iOS 13+ problem that froze the app if the menu was exited by swiping the page down.
Fantastical - Calendar & Tasks (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Fantastical is the multiple award-winning calendar and tasks app with features like natural language parsing, beautiful Day, Week, Month, and Year views, and much more!
TRY FANTASTICAL FOR FREE
- Beautiful, clean, and easy to use calendar app allowing you to manage basic events
- The DayTicker and calendar makes your schedule look the nicest it ever has
- 3 day weather forecast (powered by AccuWeather)
- 14 day free trial for Fantastical Premium
UPGRADE TO FANTASTICAL PREMIUM (requires subscription)
- Includes Fantastical on all platforms: Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad
- Extended 10 day weather forecast with RealFeel and MinuteCast up-to-the-minute weather data (powered by AccuWeather)
- Browse and instantly subscribe to interesting calendars, including sports, TV shows, holidays, and much more (powered by SchedJoules)
- Full task support including Todoist and Google Tasks
- Calendar sets - quickly toggle multiple calendars on or off with a simple click or automatically when you leave or arrive, based on location
- Event and task templates
- Sync calendar sets and templates across devices
- Full screen day, week, month, and year views
- Apple Watch app with Up Next and Weather (and works over LTE)
- Parser autocomplete recommendations for invitees, locations, and calendars/task lists
- Propose multiple times to easily ask people when they can meet
- Combine duplicate events across multiple calendars
- Invitees and availability lookups
- Respond to event invitations
- Default alerts
- Time zone override
- Favorite time zones
- Push updates for Google and Exchange
- Manage Google Hangouts, Google Meet, and Zoom events
- Set event travel time and receive time to leave notifications
- Custom event colors
- Custom home screen icons
- Custom alert sounds
- Hide events without deleting them
- Add attachments to events on iCloud, Google, and Exchange
- Priority email support
Current Version: 3.0 (January 29, 2020)
Changes in Version 3.0
The new Fantastical is here! The award-winning calendar app gets even better with all-new apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.
And say hello to Fantastical Premium, an optional premium subscription which includes many powerful and convenient features to make your life more productive.
FlickType Keyboard (iOS/iPadOS, US$2.99)
Now with a brand new Apple Watch keyboard!
FlickType's universal design makes typing easy, fast, and comfortable — even on your Apple Watch!
When typing, don't slow down and try to be accurate. Simply tap where it feels right and FlickType's unique algorithm will find the correct word from the pattern of your taps. Say goodbye to painfully slow editing operations — delete and change entire words with a single flick of your finger. On the Apple Watch keyboard, use the Digital Crown to change words or even move the cursor.
The FlickType keyboard is designed to be as accessible as possible on both iPhone and Apple Watch, featuring large keys, highly readable visual announcements, high-contrast color themes, and much more.
FlickType can speak back to you when you type or edit, enabling a completely eyes-free writing experience. People who are blind write millions of words every month using it, typing just as fast as everyone else. Voice feedback on the Apple Watch keyboard is currently limited to VoiceOver users only.
FlickType users type a whole three to four times faster compared to the standard keyboard, VoiceOver typing, or even dictation after edits. And utilizing the standard QWERTY layout means you don’t have to learn a new way to type. Emoji, text shortcuts, and deep customization options make typing fluid and fun, just as it should be — even on your Apple Watch!
Current Version: 2000.2 (January 28, 2020)
Changes in January
There have been several updates released during January, full details of which are available from the App Store. However, the main change is that the developer has switched from a subscription model for the app to a one time purchase.
LetSeeApp (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
LetSee is an app for vision. It integrates different visual recognition and detection functions for visually impaired people. The basic operating principle for most functions is super easy: just point the camera towards the target and wait until you hear the result. To cycle through functions swipe sideways, to enter the menu swipe up.
- Money reader
- Plastic card recognizer
- Light measurement tool
Use this app at your own risk. Keep in mind that even at 99.9% accuracy machines can still make mistakes. It might make sense to wait for a few announcements for each object.
Current Version: 3.7.0 (January 3, 2020)
Changes in Version 3.7.0
- New languages: German, French, Spanish and Russian
- New currency as in-app purchase: Canadian dollar (more to come)
- Cleaner main menu, as most settings were moved into a sub-menu
- Option to include country name in banknote recognition (e.g. : 1 Canadian dollar vs. 1 Dollar)
- Speed improvements
- Bug fixes
Lost Cities (iOS/iPadOS, US$3.99)
Lost Cities by the world-renowned board-game author Reiner Knizia takes you on a journey to undiscovered countries and mythical places. Compete against a friend, a stranger or one of 4 different computer players, in what has been called a "two player Solitaire with an extra portion of suspense". Designed and polished for the iPhone by TheCodingMonkeys, makers of Carcassonne for iOS.
- online matches against game center friends
- voice acted interactive tutorial
- comprehensive rules section
- 4 different AI players with emotions
- full-length atmospheric soundtrack
- a plethora of single- and multiplayer achievements
- fully playable via VoiceOver
Current Version: 1.92 (January 27, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.91
Added support for iOS 12 again. Issues addressed in 1.90:
- when using voice over the interface could get stuck after choosing a card
- layout on iPhone Max sized devices was broken in many places
Overcast (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
A powerful yet simple podcast player, with Smart Speed, Voice Boost, and Smart 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 personalized recommendations.
- Create custom Playlists with smart filters and per-podcast priorities, and rearrange the list whenever you want.
- Receive optional 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 shrink silences and pick up extra speed without distorting the conversation.
- Apple Watch app with standalone podcast playback
- CarPlay support
Current Version: 2020.1 (January 31, 2020)
Changes in Version 2020.1
- Voice Boost 2: Mastering-quality audio processing for consistent volume levels between podcasts.
- AirPlay 2: Optimized playback to HomePods and other AirPlay 2 devices.
- New per-podcast setting to skip intros and/or outros by a set duration.
- Starring and clip-sharing are now enabled for private feeds.
- Restored compatibility with iOS 12.
Weather Gods (iOS/iPadOS, US$3.99)
Meet the Gods: Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon delivering you the Weather as you have never experienced it before. Weather Gods redefines the weather app with painstakingly crafted data visualizations, procedural graphics and audio that enable you to literally see, hear and feel the weather. With no more weather icons to decode, the Weather Gods is simply the quickest, most engaging, most enjoyable way to get the accurate weather information you need.
The Weather Gods skillfully integrates premium weather data into an elegant, iOS Exclusive, easy-to-use interface that will delight casual users and weather enthusiasts alike.
With a wealth of rich weather data from the world’s most respected providers, the Weather Gods provide detailed site-based forecasts for over a million locations worldwide. Our advanced, next-generation notifications are easy to setup and bring you exactly the information you want right when you need it.
With 24 hour charts, observed weather, built in moon phase, widget, world clock and much, much more, the Weather Gods is a powerful personal time machine that lets you travel the world and visit the future. Please come join us on this exciting journey as we begin our mission to bring you the finest, most practical, most enjoyable weather app experience ever. We can’t wait to hear what you think!
Current Version: 2.3 (January 29, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.3
Support for 7th Generation iPad
New iOS13 Siri Shortcuts
- Get the Daily Weather
- Get the Weekly Weather
- Get the Weekend Weather
- Get the Current Weather
- Get the Moon Information
All of these can be used with your current location or a location you specify.
What has changed?
- We moved the Weather Sounds browser into the main settings menu
What did we fix?
- Widget not always showing the expanded information
- Bug fixes for our Apple Watch App
Recent News and Views
- Apple Releases iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Some Improvements to Smart Invert
- Apple Releases macOS 10.15.3, watchOS 6.1.2, and tvOS 13.3.1
GarageBand Part 1: The Basics
By Paul Martz | January 20, 2020
I've always used Audacity for digital recording projects, including ripping my vinyl collection for use in iTunes. A 64-bit Audacity build for Mac exists, but it doesn't work with VoiceOver. As a result, Audacity is no longer a viable option for blind Mac users.
I took this as a sign. It was finally time to learn GarageBand.
How would I learn it? Apple's GarageBand documentation was difficult to navigate, video how-to guides on the internet weren't helpful, and GarageBand information on AppleVis was scant. This GarageBand forum discussion has lots of information,, but felt a bit like diving into the deep end of the GarageBand swimming pool.
I decided to learn GarageBand by starting with a simple project. My goal was to record and save a short passage of spoken dialog. I learned a blog's worth of beginner GarageBand material and took my first steps to eventually record a podcast. I'll blog about more complex GarageBand features as my knowledge grows.
This blog covers
- Creating a GarageBand project
- Recording a short vocal track
- Using the playback controls
- Exporting to MP3 or the Music app
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed January 2020: It's Midnight Greener
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville, Randy Rusnak, and Mike Malarsie discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this podcast include:
- iPad at 10: Why apps made the iPad a success
- Apple Q1 2020: The company cracks $90B in a single quarter for the first time as the iPhone returns to glory
- Things Apple Didn't Want to Talk About in its Q1 Earnings Report
- Apple rings in new era of Services following landmark year
- Apple's App Store generates over a billion dollars per week
- Apple Releases iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 with Some Improvements to Smart Invert
- Apple Planning to Make Original Podcasts Promoting Its TV Shows
- Apple Requiring Notarization for Non Mac App Store Apps Starting February 2020
- Apple's Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Could Launch as Early as March
- Kuo: Apple to Launch AirTags, Small Charging Mat, New iPads and Macs, High-End Headphones, and More in First Half of 2020
- Rumor: iOS 14 to support all of the devices as iOS 13
- How to Enable Low Data Mode on iPhone Cellular to Reduce Mobile Data Use
- How to clear all your notifications at once on Apple Watch
Tune In Live with LiveATC Air Radio for iOS
In this podcast, Gabriel Oria gives us a walkthrough of the LiveATC Air Radio iOS app.
LiveATC Air Radio provides a quick and easy way to listen in on live conversations between pilots and air traffic controllers near many airports around the world. LiveATC Air Radio lets you easily browse by U.S. state, Canadian province, or by country to find an airport of interest. Once you find an interesting channel you just add it to your Favorites list for quick and easy access! You can also use the Nearby function to find airports near you.
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
- How to Track and Save Cell Data on your iPhone in iOS
- How to use Apple Podcast with your Alexa Devices
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:
- Seeing AI vs Envision AI vs KNFB reader
- Do you think game developers should mention the game is only for the blind and visually impaired?
- Safari users having problems with google?
- What iPhone does everyone currently have?
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To learn more about Club AppleVis; the perks of membership; and how you can join, please visit www.applevis.com/club-applevis
This update is great news! Ever since I tried the free version, I have wanted it as my system keyboard. Unfortunately, I don't do software subscriptions.
I would have been just as happy if FlickType had simply added a lifetime license option like Envision AI did, along with their subscription plans, but if FlickType thinks that abandoning the subscription plans in favor of lifetime licenses is the way to go, who am I to argue? (big toothy grin)