Welcome to the February 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
Microsoft Office (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
The Office app combines the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint apps you know and rely on with new capabilities that harness the unique strengths of a phone to create a simpler, yet more powerful Office experience on the go.
Whether using it for personal or professional reasons, the Office app is designed to be your go-to app for getting work done on a mobile device.
Current Version: 2.34.1 (February 22, 2020)
MusicToRingtone (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Super easy and slick ringtone maker!
Make ringtones from your iTunes library, audio or videos files.
Current Version: 1.5.6 (February 21, 2020)
1Timer - Voice Interval Timer (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
This app provides timers with voice reminders at a frequency of your choice.
You will be pleasantly surprised by how useful the app is in many scenarios. Here is an incomplete list of possible use cases.
- Workout -- we have you covered whether it simple workout or complex workout routines.
- Habits -- shape up some time-bounded habits.
- Kids -- give your kids a disciplinary countdown.
- Be on time -- get reminders before it's too late.
- Routines -- perform daily time-bound routines.
- Exams/tests -- be informed before the time's up.
- And many more...
- You can have a per-second voice countdown for the last 15 seconds.
- You can have a timer that reminds you every 5 seconds for the last minute, and every minute otherwise.
- The combinations of configurations are countless.
- You can choose the reminder language from 30+ languages.
- You can choose the reminder speed.
- You can even choose from different voices.
- You can also customize what the timer reminders are.
- You can set up advanced timers, each with different configurations.
- You can even chain timers together to build a powerful reminder system that you can find nowhere else.
- The app provides single-tap access to timers, without any setup.
- The app has no ads or in-app purchases.
- The app is very small, so it doesn't waste your precious storage space.
- The app is super fast, so it's available the second you need it.
- The app provides a widget for even easier access.
- The app fully works even if the screen is locked.
- The app fully support VoiceOver.
Just read the reviews to see how much our users love the app!
Current Version: 8.0.2 (February 22, 2020)
Unread 2 (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Rediscover the joy of reading your favorite writers with Unread, an RSS reader. Unread provides a clean and beautiful reading environment. Unread is designed for comfort. You can move anywhere in the app with a sweep of your thumb without having to reposition your hand. Unread’s stacked navigation was built from scratch to be the most comfortable interface you’ve ever used. Flick left-to-right to go back from anywhere on the screen. Tug any screen right-to-left to show options for that screen.
- COLOR THEMES: Unread provides twelve different color themes. Choose one theme for light mode and another for dark mode.
- AUTOMATIC WEBPAGE TEXT: For feeds that contain only article summaries, Unread can display the full article text from the webpage. You can switch between feed text and webpage text for any article. You can make webpage text the default for individual feeds. Unread will even analyze your feeds and default to webpage text for those that contain only article summaries.
- SYNCING: Unread syncs with your Feed Wrangler, Feedbin, Feedly, Fever, Inoreader, or NewsBlur account.
- CACHING: Unread caches webpage text and images for instant loading and offline access. (Subscription required.)
- HARDWARE KEYBOARD SUPPORT: Unread's keyboard navigation capabilities and keyboard shortcuts make it a joy to use on an iPad with a hardware keyboard.
- READ-LATER SERVICES: Unread provides native support for saving articles to Instapaper, Pocket, and Safari Reading List.
- MULTIPLE WINDOWS: Look at two articles side-by-side, or browse an article list while keeping an article open.
- SUBSCRIPTION MANAGEMENT: Unsubscribe from feeds, subscribe to new feeds, and reorganize feed subscriptions.
- FOOTNOTE POPOVERS: Unread provides convenient popovers for reading footnotes.
- ACCESSIBILITY: Unread has 100% VoiceOver coverage. Every screen and every feature is available to users with vision impairments. Actions on articles can be quickly triggered using actions on the accessibility rotor.
Current Version: 2.0 (February 27, 2020)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
BARD Mobile (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
CARRY A LIBRARY IN YOUR POCKET Access tens of thousands of books—from current best sellers to much-loved classics, popular magazines, and music instruction and scores in audio and electronic braille formats, with new selections added daily.
Current Version: 1.3 (February 13, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.3
Version 1.3 includes a number of new features, including:
- Simultaneous downloads: You can now download up to three items simultaneously.
- Braille autoscroll: When reading braille books, you can have your braille display scroll automatically. You have full control over the speed.
- More actions button: The details screen for each book now includes an “ellipsis” button (labeled “More actions”) that offers a number of other things you can do with that book, including seeing a list of other books in the same series, by the same author(s), or in the same subject area(s).
- Enhanced actions list on VoiceOver rotor: You can also get to those very same additional actions using the “Actions” item on the rotor while in a book list.
- Quick switch between titles: No need to go back to the bookshelf to change books! Just swipe left with one finger (or three, if VoiceOver is on) while on the Now Reading screen to see a list of other books on your device that you’ve already opened. They’re in the order of most recently read. There’s also a “Recently read” button in the upper left if you don’t want to use the gesture.
- Format hiding: Don’t ever read braille? Tell BARD Mobile not to show you any braille items (unless they’re on your wish list or previous downloads). Don’t ever read audio? It works that way, too. Find this by going to the Settings tab, selecting User Account Settings, and then selecting Show Me.
- Book and magazine subscription support: You can now subscribe to magazines via the app just like you can on the BARD website. Book series, too! New magazine issues or books in subscribed series are automatically added to your Wish list.
- AirPlay support: There’s now an AirPlay button right on the Now Reading screen. From there you can send your audio to any available AirPlay or connected Bluetooth device.
- Braille/audio indicator: For lists with mixed formats (Wish List, Previous Downloads) there's a format indicator icon distinguishing format type so you know if it's audio and/or braille
- Save “jump by” setting with each book: The app will now remember how you had your “jump by” button set when you close a book and will restore that setting the next time you open it.
The release also includes internal updates and significant download reliability improvements.
Cash Reader: Bill Identifier (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Cash Reader identifies banknote denomination for the largest number of currencies.
Point your camera to the money in hand and hear, see or feel its value.
All banknotes supported by Cash Reader are listed below alphabetically by region.
Euro, British pound, Bulgarian lev, Croatian Kuna, Czech Crown, Danish krone, Hungarian Forint, Polish zloty, Romanian leu, Swedish krona
Bosnian mark, Icelandic crown, Macedonian Denar, Norwegian krone, Russian Ruble, Serbian dinar, Swiss franc, Turkish Lira, Ukrainian hryvnia, Scottish Pound
United States dollar, Canadian dollar, Mexican peso
Central America and the Caribbean:
Costa Rican colon, Guatemalan quetzal, Honduran lempira, Trinidad and Tobago dollar, Dominican Peso, Nicaraguan Cordoba
Argentine peso, Bolivian Boliviano, Brazilian real, Chilean peso, Colombian peso, Uruguayan peso, Paraguayan guarani, Peruvian sol, Venezuelan bolívar
Bahraini Dinar, Israeli shekel, Iranian rial, Iraqi dinar, Jordanian Dinar, Kuwaiti Dinar, Lebanese pound, Omani rial, Qatari riyal, Saudi riyal, Syrian pound
Chinese yuan, Hong Kong dollar, Indonesian rupiah, Japanese yen, Malaysian ringgit, Pakistani rupee, Philippine peso, Singapore dollar, South Korean won, Indian rupee, Vietnamese dong, Thai Baht, Afghan Afghani, Nepalese Rupee, New Taiwan Dollar, Kazakh Tenge
Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar
Egyptian pound, Ghanaian Cedi, Kenyan shilling, Tunisian Dinar, Mauritian rupee, Moroccan dirham, Rwandan Franc, South African Rand, West African CFA Franc, Nigerian Naira, Ethiopian Birr, Zambian kwacha, Comorian Franc, Liberian Dollar
Current Version: 1.38.1 (February 16, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.34.1
Cash Reader is now able to identify the banknotes of these new currencies: Comorian Franc, Liberian Dollar, Nepalese Rupee, New Taiwan Dollar, Scottish Pound, Nicaraguan Cordoba, Kazakh tenge
Banknotes update is available: Ghanaian Cedi (100, 200), Australian Dollar (20)
Dolphin EasyReader (iOS/iPadOS, 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: 2.7 (February 25, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.7
- New book library: RNIB Reading Services (UK)
- New newspaper library: UICI (Italy)
- Improvements made for CELA Library's text-only content
- Improved support for Media Overlays in EPUB3
- New font Luciole available in Text Settings
- Sideloading fix from the Files app and Safari downloads (iOS 13)
- Various VoiceOver improvements including new navigation methods through the VoiceOver rotor
- Various additional fixes and improvements
Nearby Explorer Online (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Nearby Explorer Online is a free outdoor and indoor location app designed for use by people who are blind. It supports onboard maps from OpenStreetMap, and can optionally augment these maps with online data from Google Places or Foursquare.
Nearby Explorer Online works with any device running iOS version 9 or later, but if the device does not contain its own GPS receiver, like most iPads and iPods, you must use an external GPS receiver outdoors. All iPhones contain GPS receivers.
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.
Current Version: 1.36.0 (February 25, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.36.0
- Adds new options for Pedestrian mode when using Valhalla as the routing engine. You may now choose to include pedestrian pathways, and to avoid alleys.
- Displays measurement units in Metric by default for new installations if the iOS language is not set to English U.S.
- Improves error handling when a transit map fails to download.
Strongbox - KeePass & PwSafe (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Strongbox is an application for keeping all your passwords safely stored and protected by one master password. Supporting the open source Password Safe and KeePass formats. Strongbox is a Freemium application offering enhanced Premium options as well as a super functional basic feature set.
Face ID & Touch ID capability or PIN Codes, for the ultimate in convenience and speed.
Cloud Support, so you can access your cloud safes using iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, WebDAV or SFTP even when offline. Use the built in Files app for many other storage options, or store them securely only on your local device. You choose your storage.
Secure, protected by time tested industrial strength cryptography.
Search your entire set of passwords and secrets instantly and powerfully, with deep search. Autocomplete new entries, and auto generate secure passwords.
Timed Auto Clear Clipboard, Entry History, Field References, Place Holders, KeePass Custom & FavIcon Icon support & Two Factor Authentication codes (TOTP)
Standards compliant, using the time tested Password Safe and KeePass formats so you can import any existing password safe you have.
Current Version: 1.46.1 (February 27, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.45.14 includes
Accessibility: Voiceover on Item Details screen improvements
Recent News and Views
A Review of the Energrid VS150X Accessible Portable Power Bank
By Scott Davert | February 19, 2020
As I have become more integrated with technology, one of the challenges for me has been keeping that equipment powered up. While I have an iPhone and braille display, I also have other things that need to stay charged such as the microphone that delivers a direct audio signal from the person wearing the device to my hearing aids. It often serves as a life line to keep me able to communicate with those around me who only use speech.
Depending on the context, there are many other types of equipment I use throughout my life that make me a more independent person. I know this is also true of many others, who have Bluetooth headsets, keyboards, and other hardware.
Over the years, I've tried many power banks with some degrees of success, though these devices weren't without their challenges. One of the issues of most power banks on the market is that they have flashlights which can be turned on by mistake. As someone with no vision, this can be problematic. Especially when the ability to determine the amount of power left in the battery pack is not accessible. I could use an app to get sighted assistance, fire up a light detector app, or even ask someone in my environment to tell me how many lights are showing up, but that often times is less than convenient.
When I only charged one or two different devices on these external battery packs, I could keep track of how much juice I had left to some degree by doing some math. For example, a 15,000 mAh battery pack will charge my iPhone approximately 5.5 times from 0%, or six times if not fully flat when charged each time. However, as the demand for USB power increases, and as the complexity of my technology needs continue to evolve, keeping track of this math is becoming a more complex task. The Energrid VS150X power bank seeks to address some of these issues and a few more I have noted below.
GarageBand Part 2: Mixing and Mastering
By Paul Martz | February 5, 2020
With no accessible 64-bit Audacity build available, GarageBand has become my new digital recording solution on MacOS. In this series, I hope to fully explore nearly all of GarageBand's many features. In GarageBand Part 1: The Basics, I covered creating a project, recording simple audio, GarageBand's playback controls, and exporting your recording. That blog also contains a keyboard shortcut reference and growing list of accessibility issues.
In this blog, I'll try something a little more elaborate. Mixing and mastering. Many years ago, I recorded some songs on an analog four-track cassette recorder, and later made an Audacity project file from the master tapes. I intended to eventually remaster those old recordings. Why not remaster them with GarageBand instead?
This blog covers the following.
- Setting an approximate tempo.
- Importing prerecorded tracks
- Setting volume and pan on each track.
- Adding simple effects to audio tracks
- Duplicating tracks.
- Splitting regions to trim dead air.
- Apple Releases watchOS 6.1.3 with Bug Fixes for Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications for Users in Iceland
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed February 2020: The Goongle
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:
- Apple Will Enable Universal App Store Purchases in March 2020
- Support for PC keyboards coming to iPad
- Apple previews iCloud Folder Sharing, Mac accessibility enhancements, and more in new betas
- iOS 13.4 brings granular settings for controlling downloads and streaming in the TV app
- iOS 13.4 lets your iPhone listen for Hey Siri even when faced down or covered
- Siri on iOS 13.4 can take you back to the Home screen
- What we could see in iOS 14
- Report claims Apple is pondering allowing users to set default browsers, music players, and more
- Apple Media Event Rumored for End of March, 'iPhone SE 2' Launch on April 3
- New Apple TV with A12 Bionic Chip Might Be in the Making
- The coronavirus outbreak reportedly delays planned AirPods Pro Lite production
- Analyst: 'Apple Tags' coming in quarter two or three
- AirTags Said to Be 'Completely Waterproof' and Use Magnetic Charging Like Apple Watch
- Apple Says March Quarter Revenue Will Fall Short Due to Coronavirus Impact
- Mac malware outpaced Windows PCs threats for first time in 2019, report says
- Introducing WebOutLoud - A Web-Centric TTS App
- Microsoft Office
- Bard mobile
- Tip: How to change Safari's default search engine
- Tip: How to stop Apple news notifications for products, offers, Music, and more
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
- Get Smart and Get the News That Matters to You with the SmartNews for iOS
- How to Add a Phone Number from Phone or Messages to a Contact in iOS
- How to Disable Airdrop on your iPhone in iOS
- How to stop Apple notifications for announcements, special offers, Music, TV and more in iOS
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:
- I am creating a camera app for the color blind and would welcome testers and feedback
- Revive the startup chime on your Mac
- Switching from Windows to Mac
- battery draining much faster on iPhone 8 after iOS 13.3.1 update… Could VoiceOver be the cause?
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The AppleVis Editorial Team