AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for July 2018
Welcome to the July 2018 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
Chirp for Twitter (watchOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Chirp for Twitter is the best way to use Twitter on your Apple Watch.
You can browse your, timeline, lists, like and retweet things, and even post your own tweets.
Sent and view direct messages, catch up on the latest trends in "Trending", or search for your favourite hashtag.
Chirp lets you see quotes, pictures, hashtags, mentions, and so much more.
Current Version: 1.1.5 (July 28, 2018)
Echoes from Levia: Soulbound (iOS, US$22.99)
THIS IS AN AUDIO GAME, mainly designed for a blind and visually impaired audience. Wear your headphones for the best possible experience.
Reign of Levia, in the west coast of the Soenir region. Pirates from the cold islands of Rakfjord ravage the small villages by the sea.
The young Seric, known in his village as "the poor undertaker's son", blind from birth, is forced to face his first true battle.
Impersonate this young, but brave boy and help him to deal not only with hordes of marauders from the sea, but also with much more ancient and dangerous beings, with his own soul at stake!
- Designed for the blind and visually impaired:
- While also providing graphic elements, the game is fully accessible to a blind and a visually impaired audience!
- Use your hearing to explore and travel in a land rich of history and misteries!
- The tile navigation system helps the player to orient in the reign of Levia and realistic environmental sounds, alongside with fully dubbed descriptions, will give an accurate representation of the surrounding world.
- Test your reflexes dodging, parrying, countermoving and fighting back your enemies!
- Study movements and combat styles of every foe you'll encounter and try to break through their defense in these fast-paced, last man standing fights! *More than two hours of high quality, fully dubbed dialogues and cutscenes have been recorded for this game, giving voice to more than 100 characters, to offer the best experience to the player even when narrating present and past events of the lands of Levia!
FlickType Classic (Legacy) (iOS, Free)
Does it feel familiar? It’s because it is! Using the standard QWERTY layout and 3 simple flick gestures, FlickType is the fastest available typing method for blind and low-vision users, ever. You don’t need to learn a new way to type. Just tap where it feels natural and FlickType’s powerful algorithms will get it right, almost every time!
No more spacebar or other control keys to hunt for. Simply flick right for space. To delete, flick left. Not the right word? Flick down for alternative suggestions.
An extremely fluid typing experience, and with enough additional functions to satisfy the book writer in you, FlickType will turn the chore of typing into something you may actually enjoy!
Type better! Smile
Himama (iOS, Free)
The device supports the data sharing with Apple's Health App. Authorized user can obtain data from your BBT, ovulation test, sexual behavior, menstruation, petechial hemorrhage, the quality of cervical mucus, sleep analysis, height and weight, so as to have a more comprehensive understanding of your health status.
What could smart Himama pregnancy preparation assistant do for you?
- [Finding the ovulatory date to determine the best timing for pregnancy] Input your body temperature, then you will immediately know the status of your ovulation of that day.
- [Earlier detection of pregnancy, superior to any LH kit] Automatically detecting whether you are pregnant 18 days after conception.
- [Earlier diagnosis of gynaecopathia, earlier detection for earlier treatment] Reminding of corpus luteum problems or ovulation disorders.
- [Sleep monitoring for eugenics] Monitoring on total length of sleep and length of deep sleep all night.
Core functions of smart Himama pregnancy preparation doctor:
- Reporting ovulation everyday: telling you whether you are ovulating, the likelihood of pregnancy and your high/low temperature zone based on your BBT of the day;
- Drawing up BBT curve automatically, to intelligently observe the status of pregnancy;
- Cause analysis on the difficulties in getting pregnant: reminding of and analyzing on corpus luteum problems or ovulation disorders;
- Sleep monitoring: monitoring the accumulated length of sleep, length of deep/light sleep; determining the quality of sleep, and monitoring the time of going to sleep and waking up;
Current Version: 1.9.2 (June 21, 2018)
News Explorer (macOS, US$9.99)
One-stop news center.
News Explorer is a full-featured yet easy-to-use RSS, JSON, Atom and Twitter newsreader with iCloud based synchronisation between Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Full iCloud Sync
- News Explorer syncs your RSS, JSON, Atom and Twitter subscriptions, folder setup, news items, read statuses and favorites across all your Apple devices.
- Synchronisation is based on iCloud, so there is no need to login or to sign up into any other service, it just works out of the box.
- Built-in high speed RSS and Atom engine.
- Supports Twitter user and hashtags timelines.
- Clean, stylish and distraction-free user interface.
- Built-in browser for viewing inline links and other references.
- Themes, adaptable to your taste and mood.
- Adjustable news article font.
- Smart filters
- Read your news offline.
- Use Reader view to download and read the full version of articles in a clean and easy-to-read format.
- Mark items as favorite for later reading.
- Navigate with one click to the original content.
- Reply, retweet and like tweets in Twitter feeds without leaving the app.
- Timeline view shows your news items in an attractive newspaper-like way.
- Full text search.
- Full keyboard navigation.
- Built-in image viewer to browse through all images of news items.
- Full window YouTube videos
- Built-in support to share news items with Instapaper and Pocket.
- Share news items via email, Messages, Twitter, Facebook and other sharing services.
- Add new RSS, Atom, JSON and YouTube feeds directly from Safari, using the 'Add to News Explorer' share extension.
- Add RSS and Twitter feeds via the built-in search form.
- Support to add manually RSS, Atom, JSON and Twitter feeds.
- Feed extension support let you open RSS news feed URL’s.
- Group your subscriptions by using folders.
- Rename and reorder folders and subscriptions, using drag-and-drop.
- OPML import and export.
- Assign keyboard shortcuts to sharing services, including Instapaper and Pocket.
- Simply hit the spacebar to open the next article or to scroll the article when needed.
- Global filters let you filter all subscriptions and related news on unread items and favorites.
- Support for enhanced arrow key navigation with auto expand and collapse of the sidebar and the built-in browser.
- With full Touch Bar support you have quick access to all essential functions.
- App icon badge with unread items count.
Current Version: 1.8.8 (April 23, 2018)
Sprout Baby + (baby tracker) (iOS, US$7.99)
Congratulations and welcome to Sprout Baby - it’s the only baby app you’ll ever need! Sprout Baby is a powerful all-in-one tool allowing you to track all of your baby’s daily activities and care including feedings, sleep, diapers, developmental milestones, growth, health, medications, illnesses and more.
Trusted and recommended by families all over the world, Sprout Baby has been featured by Apple and is made by the creators of Sprout Pregnancy, an Apple ‘Essential App for Parents’ and TIME magazine best app.
Sprout Baby is the ONLY baby app that features:
- No login required - just download and use!
- On-demand PDF summary with useful data for baby’s doctor visits (feeding, sleep, illnesses, medications, developmental milestones and more)
- Health tracker to log symptoms, temperature, medications, illnesses and health events in one convenient place
- Developmental milestones tracker to monitor age appropriate milestones using CDC guidelines
- Sprout SAFEsync: real-time data sync across devices and sharing with family with no personal information required to use
PLUS everything else you’d want from your favorite Baby app:
Current Version: 4.8 (May 31, 2018)
Tabata Stopwatch Pro (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Tabata Stopwatch Pro is the ultimate Tabata Interval Timer that works for 'all' your interval training needs. Use with Tabata, HIIT, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, interval running, sprints, etc.
Tabata Stopwatch Pro is a universal (both iPhone and iPad) feature packed interval timer for people who follow the Tabata training method. The main thing the Tabata app will aid you with is automating your exercise, rest, cooldown and other intervals. As simple as this sounds, it has a profound effect on your workout. You will be able to concentrate much better, won’t have to constantly count and honestly the whole workout just goes by faster. Try it with your Tabata, HIIT, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, interval running, sprints, and other workouts.
Designed with both beginners and advanced users in mind Tabata Stopwatch Pro comes ready to use with basic Tabata already set up for you. As you gain more experience you can customize all intervals to match your pace. You may even create and store your own interval presets to quickly change to different workouts.
Tabata Stopwatch Pro is loaded with beeps that help identify what part of a workout you are in, interval beeps for example tell you when a new interval has started. Tabata Stopwatch Pro also has voice support that announces intervals to further help you focus on your workout. Oh and what would an exercise app be without music, select your favorite tracks from your iPod and blast through that workout.
The Apple Health app is supported and the Tabata app will write your Tabata workout times, calorie burned estimates and heart rates (needs a chest strap heart rate monitor and Pro purchase) after each workout.
Current Version: 2.1.1 (June 2, 2018)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Dolphin EasyReader (iOS, 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: 2.1 (July 17, 2018)
Changes in Version 2.1
- 2 new libraries are available through EasyReader: RNIB OverDrive (UK) and Libro Parlato (Italy).
- Stability and performance improvements have been made for downloading and reading books from KDD (Czech) and Project Gutenberg libraries.
- Privacy and security improvements to ensure EasyReader is compliant with the latest General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) including options to update your communication preferences at any time.
- Various additional fixes and improvements are rolled in as usual.
Loadstone GPS (iOS, US$7.99)
Loadstone GPS enables blind pedestrians to "go blindly where everyone sighted has gone before." It is designed by the blind, for the blind with an emphasis on being powerful but still easy to use.
- designed specifically with accessibility, especially for voiceover users, in mind.
- no data plan required to use major functions.
- access to a world-wide database of points from OpenStreetMap, public mapping sources, transit systems, and points shared by other Loadstone users.
- available in multiple languages.
- create, store, and share your own navigation waypoints with others.
- see points in your neighbourhood or search for points.
- check points you're interested in and hear them announced as you approach or arrive.
- highly customizable and configurable.
- able to import text databases and checkpoints from previous Loadstone versions.
- display astronomic information, sunrise and set, moonrise and set, etc.
Current Version: 1.3 (July 21, 2018)
Changes in Version 1.3
- Route support has been added. Routes are like a list of checkpoints but have a defined order and direction.
- An explore mode has been added. This is similar to the exploration mode in the old Symbian version. This mode lets you explore points around your current location or a specific point by compass direction.
- The find point function has been improved to add support for online searching.
- A point's grid square has been added to the point details display.
- It's now possible to filter the results of show neighbourhood by category.
- More functions can be controlled with multi media controls.
- A refresh button has been added to the astronomic information screen.
- The find point function is now faster.
- The screen will stay awake while importing points.
- The speed of importing points has been doubled.
- There is now a copy option for files and databases.
- Point list displays now include point comments.
- The send via email option has been changed to share to allow more options to be included such as AirDrop, iCloud, Dropbox, etc.
- A share option has been added to point actions to allow a single point to be shared.
- A single point can now be shared with Pointshare.
- The where am I function will now do an online check first and if this fails will check local databases.
- All language translations have been updated.
- fixed various visual display glitches.
- Various bug fixes and performance enhancements.
- The Pointshare server has been upgraded and all data reloaded. This will provide more accurate point data as well as much faster downloads.
Nearby Explorer Online (iOS, Free)
Nearby Explorer Online is a free indoor and outdoor location app designed for use by people who are blind. It works much like the full featured Nearby Explorer app, but it does not include NAVTEQ onboard maps.
Nearby Explorer Online does not provide directions to places or information about nearby intersections or include onboard maps. For these features and more, see Nearby Explorer.
The app works by letting you select from several different location related options about what to announce as you move. These include typical items like street name, address, and nearby places as well as the distance and direction to them. (All announcements are optional.) All of this information is shown on the home screen and is available at any time, but typical use is to adjust the level of announcements, then lock the screen and put the device away. This keeps both hands free and lets your preferred voice speak the characteristics of the environment as you move.
You may also use the devices position and orientation to obtain additional targeted details such as pointing the end of the device to scan for points of interest or tilting it vertically to function as a compass. This all works with the device locked, so one need not fuss with the touch screen while moving. You may even mark a point, then use the position of the device to get haptic feedback about that point's location.
Nearby Explorer Online includes a transit feature that provides detailed mass transit schedules for over 60 metropolitan areas in the U. S. and Canada. It treats transit stops just like favorites and points of interest by announcing their name and relative position as you move, but in addition, transit stops add next vehicle stop time, direction of travel, and route name to the announcements. You can use the transit schedules to look up times or even follow a route.
You may virtually move to any area and search, or use the transit maps for that area.
Current Version: 1.23.0 (July 4, 2018)
Changes in Version 1.23.0
- Adds support for getting transit directions with Moovit. You may also long-press the Transit button on the Home screen to show nearby transit stops by Moovit. Moovit is also automatically used if you are in a city which the Transit feature does not support.
- Fixes a bug in the Map View where the app would sometimes open in the paused state when not running VoiceOver.
- Adds toolbar items to the Map View which are present in the toolbar for the Home screen.
- Stops calling online search services when the Nearby item is turned off. This cuts down on unnecessary usage of online resources, and saves a little data and battery power as well.
- Improves support for indoor venues which are mapped in OpenStreetMap but do not use beacons.
- Removes support for Foursquare.
Seeing AI (iOS, 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
Current Version: 2.3 (July 21, 2018)
Changes in Version 2.3
- Seeing AI now lets you browse photos on your phone, including hearing descriptions of the objects, people, text, and location. We appreciate your early feedback as we continue to develop this feature. Select "Browse Photos" from the menu.
- Optimized performance when recognizing photos shared from other apps.
- Now available in 18 new countries, bringing availability to 70 countries: Albania, Ghana, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Macedonia, Nigeria, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Switzerland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.
Recent News and Views
A Bit Of Braille For The Road: An Honest Review Of The Dot Watch
By a woman | July 31, 2018
Let me start this by saying that, for reasons of morale and ethics, I would never advertise any device—even if I was paid for it. The reason I decided to take the risk, and buy the Dot Watch, is simply that I am a 'braille person'. The more braille/haptic feedback, the less speech, the better for me. So I felt it was worth a try. And, since I have not seen any reviews that make it clear that the author is independent and not in any way benefiting from writing a positive review, I felt I had to write one myself. I am hoping that some may find it helpful in deciding whether or not to get this Watch.
Before going into any further detail, it is important to understand that the Watch uses a completely new braille technology. So, we really should try to forget everything we expect from a usual braille display. This technology feels totally different—and it is not all good.
Basically, the dots do not change all at once, but 'dot by dot', and touching the cells interferes with the output. “What?” you may be thinking, “How am I supposed to read if I am 'not allowed' to touch the cells? That does not even make sense.” And that is partly true. If we keep touching the cells while they change (which, considering there's only four of them, is basically all the time), some cells will fail to come up, while others that should go down, will stay up.
But it is possible to get used to this. You have to remember to lift your fingers for a brief moment when you have touched the watch face to read the out put. Basically: touch, lift, touch, lift … It only takes the briefest of touches to read the four cells, then lift and touch again—by which time the cells will have changed.
How a Fallen iPhone X Resulted in my Falling Back in Love a Little with the iPhone 7
By Dave82 | July 11, 2018
Back in June of this year, ill-advised as it is, I was walking out of my apartment complex while typing a text message at the same time. Into and over a large flower pot I went, picking up a few cuts and bruises to my shins, but much worse than that, to my horror, realizing my iPhone X had gone flying through the air, lending heavily on the concrete ground. For a few moments, as the phone lay on the ground, I owned what a friend later dubbed “Schrödinger's iPhone”, it's fate as yet unknown. With some trepidation I picked up the phone, and was horrified to find the screen badly scratched and cracked in several places.
Of course the repair cane at some considerable cost, the risk you take if you choose not to purchase AppleCare or insurance, though in nine years of owning an iPhone, this was my first such incident, so I'm probably still ahead of the game on that front.
The phone had to be sent off to Apple for that repair, meaning I was back using an iPhone 7 for about a week. This turned out to be an interesting opportunity to compare and contrast the two devices, the edge to edge display, new gestures and Face ID versus the bezels around the edge and the home button with Touch ID.
Apple Releases Minor Updates to iOs, macOS, watchOS, TVOS and HomePod
By AppleVis | July 9, 2018
Today has seen another round of software updates from Apple, with minor releases for iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV and HomePod.
With major updates due this fall for each of these platforms, it is extremely likely that the focus of today's releases is on bug fixes and under-the-hood performance improvements to address issues discovered since the previous releases; and that there are no significant user-facing changes.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed July 2018: Happy Birthday AppleVis
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville, Randy Rusnakk and Mike Malarsie get together to talk about recent Apple news and topics of interest.
Topics featured in this podcast include:
Happy 10th Anniversary, App Store!
Apple Releases iOS 11.4.1 with Improvements to Find my AirPods; HomePod Also Gets an Update
Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar updated with max 32 GB RAM, ‘improved’ third-generation keyboard, True Tone, and new Intel chips
Your iPhone now does Morse code, thanks to Google's Gboard keyboard
Twitterrific pulls the watch app, Today view & push for tweets from latest update
Apple schedules Q3 2018 earnings release for July 31st
Chirp for Twitter
Amazon’s iPhone app uses computer vision to identify and replace screws and other parts
Tip: How to use USB Restricted Mode on your iPhone or iPad
Tip: How to deregister an email or phone number associated with iMessage and FaceTime
You can contact the Unleashed Team with feedback or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AppleVis Extra 58: Interview with the Makers of Dice World and Huboodle
In this latest episode of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason and Thomas Domville are joined by Nick Barbato and Lee Hobbs of AppA11y, the people behind Dice World and Huboodle. Dice World and Huboodle are extremely popular game sets for iOS, and can be played by sighted and visually impaired users alike, thanks to the team's efforts in making the games fully accessible with VoiceOver.
Get Dice World on the App Store here : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dice-world-fun-family-games/id553269986?mt=8&at=11l4LS
Get Huboodle on the App Store here:
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts