AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for November 2016
Welcome to the November 2016 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 podcasts and blogs. 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
A Blind Legend (Mac, US$4.99)
A Blind Legend is the first-ever action-adventure game without video – where ears replace eyes! Discover the original, innovative sensory experience of binaural 3D sound. HEADPHONES ARE COMPULSORY! AUDIO GAME FULLY ACCESSIBLE TO BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE Your eyes will be of no help. So close them, sharpen your hearing and your blade... And embark on an epic, perilous rite of passage. Live the adventures of Edward Blake, the famous blind knight! Guided by your daughter Louise, you must find your way and avoid the many traps that lie in the High Castle Kingdom, while confronting dangerous enemies! This serious game is fully accessible to visually impaired people, and is aimed at anyone who’s eager for an original, immersive sensory experience through a ground-breaking video game. And because the player is the character, it will help raise public awareness of this kind of disability. This hack-and-slash game, with a heroic-fantasy flavour, harnesses the innovative technology of binaural sound, which delivers a gripping 3D soundscape and brings characters and actions vividly to life around the player – as if they were actually in the game! A Blind Legend was co-created thanks to support from a community of fans who helped with the crowdfunding campaign (www.ulule.com/a-blind-legend) and in a co-production with France Culture, a Radio France station.
Blind Gladiator (iOS, US$14.99)
Become a gladiator, fight numerous opponents, get the public's favor with your deeds proving your value and conquer your freedom!
Welcome to Blind Gladiator, warrior! Are you ready to prove your strength and become the best gladiator of all time? Take on the best warriors that the Roman Empire has to offer, from every corner of the world! Choose your weapon and fight to the death! Can you win your freedom back?
- Choose your favorite class and prepare to fight numerous enemies. Defeat champions from all cities to win your freedom in the arena of Rome before the Emperor! Visit specialized locksmiths to buy new, sensational equipment and become stronger and stronger! Meanwhile, recover from your wounds at the inn in between fights.
- 5 tournaments
- more than 40 sets of equipment
- individual duels and much more await you on Blind Gladiator.
Current Version: 1.0 (November 25, 2016)
Braigo Companion (iOS, Free)
Ever wanted someone to read the text within an image for you? Start using “Braigo - Accessibility Companion” which is an easy-to-use app that reads the text from an image and narrates in the form of an audio. Yes, you heard it right! It is a translator to translate images or documents to textual audio using the accessibility features on your iOS devices.
“Braigo - Accessibility Companion” app is committed to making your life easy and hence, we are making technology accessible through design for all. As a community, we are working towards making our society inclusive. The image file or document in the Braigo App can be uploaded in multiple ways. In case of an image file, you will get the description of the visual elements as well. You can either upload an image using the camera of your iPhone or iPad or the gallery option.
Still thinking of situations when the Braigo app can be useful for you? Yes, it can be useful for visually impaired. Here are some other situations -
- You are at a restaurant and the food menu is a readable printed copy. With the upload via camera option on the Braigo app, you can take the picture of the menu, extract the text and read out the same to you to help you decide the menu.
- Your friend shares a picture on their social media timeline. You can use the Braigo app to extract the textual description of the image and find out what the image is about.
- Braigo app can be useful for visually impaired to understand road signs and messages. They can also use it to read newspaper or other documents.
The Braigo app is also building a community where users can upload their documents and make it public so that other community members can access the same. In the same way, you can browse through documents shared by other community members.
Current Version: 1.3 (November 10, 2016)
Earplay (iOS, Free)
With Earplay, you can enjoy interactive audio stories you play with your voice, featuring voice acting and sound effects like in a radio drama. Experience this exciting new storytelling medium where you become part of the story, interacting with characters to affect how the events unfold.
More is on the way, and for right now we have four short experiences for you to try out for free: our Earplay Demo, Half, The Orpheus Device, and the Prologue chapter of Codename Cygnus. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us what you think and let us know what you'd like to hear next.
- EARPLAY DEMO
- THE ORPHEUS DEVICE
- HALF: A TWO-SIDED SURREALIST ADVENTURE
- CODENAME CYGNUS REACTIVATED
Current Version: 1.0 (November 16, 2016)
iDentifi- Object Recognition for Visually Impaired (iOS, Free)
iDentifi is an app that empowers visually impaired individuals to gain more independence in daily tasks like grocery shopping, self-navigating in indoor environments, and reading. It uses artificial intelligence to enable a visually impaired user to click a photo of virtually any object or piece of text, and then speaks aloud a description of the object in an image or dictate any text in the image to the user. Furthermore, all of the app's functionality works in more than 25 languages. Finally, the app features an interface designed with visually impaired users in mind, while also giving users the option to choose from three different modes of object/text recognition as well as how fast they want the app to speak.
Current Version: 1.2.1 (October 17, 2016)
Lifeline: Flatline (iOS, US$2.99)
The Lifeline series takes a terrifying turn in this interactive horror experience. Every decision you make could help Wynn to safety, or lead her to an untimely end.
Something has gone horribly wrong... Venture deep into a mysterious scientific facility, where a woman named Wynn has just woken up strapped to a hospital bed. She doesn't remember what happened to her - all she knows right now is that she has to get out of this place. And her only link to the outside world... is YOU!
Help Wynn navigate creepy darkened hallways as the shrieks of something inhuman get closer... In this thrilling interactive horror experience, your choices shape the story and ultimately decide Wynn's fate!
Current Version: 1.0.2 (November 4, 2016)
Timeglass Timer - Countdown & interval timers (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Timeglass has everything you need to time exercise, cooking, and your daily routines. Timeglass gives you:
- Many timers, side by side - Create reusable timers and run them side by side. Maybe you want to do a workout while timing a roast in the oven. No problem! Timeglass has you covered.
- Multi-stepped timers - Timers can have multiple steps, where each step has its own duration. This is great for workout routines and cooking.
- Spoken timers - Want to know what's up next without looking at your phone? Timeglass will talk you through your stepped timers so you can stay focused on whatever you're doing.
- Timer widget - Start and view your timers from any widget screen, or from 3D Touching the app icon on iOS 10. You can even use this to see your timers while your phone is locked.
- Pre-built timers - A library of forty timers to choose from, covering fitness, home & lifestyle, productivity, relaxation, and cooking.
- Lots more awesome stuff - Like stopwatches, repeating alerts, beautiful tones & icons for your timers, plus five themes to choose from.
Current Version: 1.1.3 (October 23, 2016)
Weather Gods (iOS, 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 visualisations, 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 skilfully 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: 1.0.2 (November 22, 2016)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
CARROT Weather - Talking Forecast Robot (iOS, US$3.99)
The Dark Sky-powered weather app with hilarious yet accurate forecasts. Plus the best widget & Apple Watch complication money can buy.
Overflowing with Personality: From spooky fog to torrential downpours, CARROT’s dialogue, characters, and scenery change in… “unexpected” ways. You’ll actually be looking forward to a blizzard just to see what CARROT has in store for you!
Accurate and Detailed: Dark Sky’s super accurate weather data gives you quick access to 24-hour and 7-day forecasts. Or you can swipe up for a detailed view with even more meteorological goodness. (Available worldwide.)
Rain/Snow Prediction: If the rain gods are mad at you, CARROT will show you a short-term forecast that tells you right down to the minute when it’s going to start precipitating. (Available only in the US, UK, Ireland, and parts of Canada. Everything else works worldwide.)
Current Version: 3.1 (November 17, 2016)
Changes in Version 3.1
CARROT Fit + Apple Watch CARROT Fit version 4.0 released today, and with this huge update comes the ability to transform Fit’s Apple Watch complication into another weather complication! Just add the CARROT Fit complication to your watch face, then you can select the data point you want it to display in the CARROT Weather iPhone app.
- Improved VoiceOver support for Today widget and Apple Watch.
- The low temperature for each day is now calculated based on the lowest temperature from 6 AM onward. (Before, the low temperature displayed was usually the temperature experienced during pre-dawn hours - which wasn’t very useful for planning out your day.)
- Visibility units now correspond to the units you’ve selected for wind speed.
- Modular small complications now render their text in white instead of light gray - a major improvement to legibility.
- Fixed visual glitches in Today widget.
Instapaper (iOS, Free)
Instapaper is the simplest way to save and store articles for reading: offline, on-the-go, anytime, anywhere, perfectly formatted.
Instapaper for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch provides a mobile-optimized text view that makes reading Internet content a clean and uncluttered experience. Instapaper also enhances the standard reading experience with features like text-to-speech, which can be controlled via the Apple Watch.
- Strip away all clutter and save the content of web pages into iOS-optimized formatting.
- Read anywhere! No internet, no problem: access your articles on airplanes, subways, elevators, or Wi-Fi-only devices away from Internet connections.
- Save to Instapaper from other iOS applications with one tap.
- Control every aspect of your reading experience with a variety of font, color themes, and spacing options.
- Find that great quote you want to remember and share? Instapaper makes it easy to highlight text in any article.
- Have your Instapaper articles narrated to you with text-to-speech. Just turn up the volume on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and relax!
- Control text-to-speech right from your Apple Watch.
- Sort your list of articles by popularity, date, and article length.
- Folders for easy organization.
- Full-text search for articles in your account
Current Version: 7.3.1 (November 29, 2016)
Changes in Version 7.3
Instapaper Premium is now available to all Instapaper users, free of charge. Instapaper Premium is the best way to experience all that Instapaper has to offer, and we're excited to open it up to everyone.
Before, some of our greatest features were limited to Instapaper Premium subscribers. Now that we're better resourced, we're able to offer everyone the best version of Instapaper.
Wikipedia (iOS, Free)
Find a quick fact, or dive down a Wikipedia rabbit hole with the official Wikipedia app for iOS. With more than 39 million articles in nearly 300 languages, your favorite free online encyclopedia is at your fingertips.
Explore feed - Discover the depths of Wikipedia through your explore feed, which surfaces handcrafted articles and captivating photos. The feed is constantly updated and includes:
- recommended articles based on what you’ve already read
- featured articles hand-picked by the Wikipedia community
- daily top read articles
- picture of the day
- random articles
- nearby landmarks
Current Version: 5.3.0 (November 21, 2016)
Changes in Version 5.3.0
- Improved VoiceOver support throughout the app and VoiceOver support added to widgets
- Learn more about topics Trending In the News with a rich notification
- Support for auto transliteration between Simplified and Traditional Chinese for Chinese Wikipedia (based on iPhone/iPad Language)
- Major improvements in the loading and scrolling speed of the Explore feed, with less network use
- An easier to use Random article generator makes it easier than ever to fall down the Wiki rabbit hole
- Use 3d touch actions to save and share links from anywhere in the app
- Support for Top Read and Continue Reading widgets on iOS 9
- Improved presentation of references and citations
Recent News and Views
Review: 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
By mehgcap | November 23, 2016
On November 21, 2016, I picked up my new MacBook Pro from Best Buy. It has 512GB of storage, 8GB of ram, the Touch Bar in place of function keys, and the low end of the available processors (a still-respectable 2.9GhZ Core i5). I have only owned one other Apple laptop in the past: an 11-inch Air with just 64GB of storage, from 2012. I also have a Mac Mini from 2011, which I've since upgraded with more ram and a solid state drive to make it faster. All that to say that this MBP is the newest Apple computer, by four years, I have ever owned, and its next oldest cousin is hardly able to hold a candle to it.
Needless to say, it's fast. The drive is quick, VO is as responsive as I've ever seen it, the speakers are better, and on and on it goes. Since we all know that the new Pros are fast and powerful, I won't be focusing on those aspects as much here. Instead, I'll be talking about the everyday usage from a VoiceOver user's perspective. How's the keyboard? Is the Touch Bar a help or a hinderance? Does the new, larger trackpad matter? In short, is the Touch Bar Pro a machine VO users should consider, or are they better off sticking to the 2015 models?
Why the Touch Bar May Keep this VoiceOver User Away from a New MacBook Pro
By David Goodwin | November 23, 2016
Since it's launch was announced last month, I had been keen to spend some hands-on time with Apple's latest MacBook Pro.
I was curious to find out just how much thinner, lighter and faster it would be compared to my current MacBook Pro; and to test the ‘improved’ keyboard and larger trackpad. But, what I most wanted to try was the Touch Bar; the multi-touch enabled display which has replaced the physical function keys on all but one model in the 2016 MacBook Pro range.
Today I finally had that opportunity, as today was the day that my local Apple Store received display models.
Having now had that hands-on time, I wanted to share some of my experience and immediate thoughts on using the Touch Bar with VoiceOver.
No News is Good News: Breaking my iPhone News Addiction
By Morgan | November 15, 2016
The sun was warm and bright that Friday morning in Southern California. From our fourth grade classroom, my friends and I were already anticipating lunch and recess. An adult walked in, whispered to our teacher, and we immediately lined up and were on our way out the door. As we walked, we saw children pouring out of every classroom, all heading in the same direction. Something was odd. Everyone squeezed into the school auditorium and quickly found seats. I took my place on the right side, in one of the first rows. Up front, on a heavy institutional wooden chair, sat an old Philco radio. The principal turned it on. The news was from Dallas. Our innocence was lost. It was November 22, 1963.
The death of President Kennedy changed everything. I wanted to know what happened, what had gone wrong. Two days later, I saw Lee Harvey Oswald shot on live television. On Monday, I stared transfixed at Black Jack, the skittish riderless horse in the Kennedy funeral procession. And, I sadly remember the deep and troubling heartache as Taps was played at Arlington National Cemetery. John F. Kennedy had been my childhood hero. After those terrible four days, I had grown up too fast. And, I had developed a hunger for knowledge outside my own backyard.
My awareness of the world expanded. I listened to Walter Cronkite. I scoured the Los Angeles Times. I absorbed Time magazine from cover to cover. I followed Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. I watched Vietnam polarize a nation. I became ever more aware of racial inequities in our own country. I craved the hard truths.
Yo, Human! The Mystical Screen Reader: Accessing Life with Adaptive Technology
By Nicholas | November 10, 2016
The room around me is dim and stifling as I set the large rectangular object gently on the wobbly table. The thick, musky scent of incense assaults my nostrils almost making me sneeze, but then I don't. An ancient, heavy-set woman leans forward over the table, gazing intently at the window screen. Her bushy eyebrows flex as she states, "I see many things in your future."
? Errrrt! (sounds of brakes slamming.) Wait a minute, thats definitely not it!
Several times I have heard the question, "If you're blind, how can you use a computer?" It is a legitimate question and something I personally learned myself just a few short years ago. Additionally, I recently had the pleasure of dealing with several large government agencies whose ill-trained front-end people had no idea how to interact with a blind caller, and had no concept of a screen reader. It was a frustrating experience on both sides I'm sure. Hence, this article is intended as a writing from both a visual and non-visual view. It attempts to describe the idea of a screen reader in general. First, let's back up one step and briefly look at the Mac screen itself. Some of this might seem obvious, but it should give us some common ground.
This Month in Podcasts
NOAA Weather International for iOS; Free Real-Time Hyperlocal Weather Forecasts
In this podcast, Thomas Domville introduces us to NOAA Weather International a free iOS app that offers real-time 7-day hyperlocal point weather forecasts and current weather conditions for worldwide locations from NOAA NWS and forecast.io (creators of DarkSky) based on your current location or any location in the world.
Meet the Weather Gods of Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon
Join with Thomas Domville (AnonyMouse) as he explores and meets the Gods: Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon delivering you the Weather as you have never experienced it before.
Weather Gods for iOS redefines the weather app with painstakingly crafted data visualisations, procedural graphics and audio that enables 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.
Demonstration of A Recent Uber Update for iOS
For many, Uber is essential for reliably traveling from one place to another. In this podcast, Chris Judd highlights some of the changes in the most recent update to the app.
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts