Welcome to the June 2020 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which highlights 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
BBC iPlayer (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
BBC iPlayer brings you the latest and greatest TV series and box sets from the BBC. Watch live, on-demand or download to take away with you - all in one app!
Enjoy watching live TV in the palm of your hand, from live news coverage, music and big sport events to great comedies, gripping documentaries and nail-biting dramas. Looking for a little entertainment for the children? Create an account for a more child-friendly experience and your little ones can watch all of their favourite shows from CBBC and CBeebies!
Current Version: 4.87.1 (June 25, 2020)
Braille Translator (macOS, US$1.99)
Braille Translator translates text into braille, as you type.
It features support for contracted and uncontracted translation for many languages.
The result can be exported as ASCII Braille, Unicode Braille, PNG and SVG.
- English Unified (Grade 1)
- English Unified (Grade 2)
- English U.S. (Grade 1)
- English U.S. (Grade 2)
- English U.K. (Grade 1)
- English U.K. (Grade 2)
- French (Grade 1)
- French Unified (Grade 2)
- German (Grade 1)
- German (Grade 2)
- Spanish (Grade 1)
- Czech (Grade 1)
Folx (macOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Folx is a free download manager for macOS with a true Mac-style interface. It offers convenient downloads managing, flexible settings, etc. Folx has a unique system of sorting and keeping the downloaded content.
Folx can split the downloads in 2 threads for faster downloading; can automatically resume interrupted downloads; offers multiple ways of adding download tasks.
PRO version of Folx is an excellent torrent finder - you don't need to open multiple torrent trackers in a web browser to find what you need.
It is easily the best torrent search app because without you leaving its interface, Folx will search through the extensive list of torrent trackers at once.
Home Quest - Idle Adventure (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Build your Town: You find yourself in an unknown place. Unsure of what these lands might hold, you decide it’s best to grow your settlement. Provide housing and farms for your people. Create workplaces, military facilities, and more.
Recruit an Army: Once settled in, eliminate threats, fight your enemies, conquer the lands, and expand your reach. Choose between different units and army compositions.
Current Version: 1.0.1 (June 28, 2020)
loud typer (macOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
The Loud Typer application loads into the system menu bar and makes sounds when you press any key. This works system-wide and in all applications.
Although the Loud Typer app has a wide range of built-in sound themes to choose from, you can also use your own sounds. (Note: in the free version, the choice of sound themes is limited to the default theme.)
Loud Typer allows you to customize keyboard sounds individually for each application.
Loud Typer loads the icon into the system menu bar to access application settings. The main program window is opened using: System menu bar > "Loud Typer" icon > "Settings ..." menu item.
Current Version: 6.4 (June 26, 2020)
pulsepoint respond (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
PulsePoint Respond is a 911-connected app that can immediately inform you of emergencies occurring in your community and can request your help when CPR is needed nearby.
PulsePoint helps create an informed and engaged community that drives a “Culture of Action,” a key strategy in strengthening the Chain of Survival for cardiac arrest victims. In addition to nearby “CPR-needed” notifications, you can choose to be notified of significant events that may impact you and your family. These informational notifications provide an early heads-up to local threats such as wildland fires, flooding and utility emergencies. You can even monitor live dispatch radio traffic for most PulsePoint-connected communities with a simple tap on the speaker icon.
Current Version: 4.28 (May 28, 2020)
SirenGPS (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Walking somewhere and don’t feel safe? Whether you’re walking to your car in a dark parking lot or going for a jog in an unfamiliar place SirenGPS helps keep you safe with a panic button on your phone. With just the touch of a button connect immediately to 911 - or its equivalent - almost anywhere in the world.
More than 75% of 911 calls are made from cell phones. Most people think that when you call 911 from your cell phone, the 911 dispatcher automatically knows where you are. Surprisingly, for virtually every 911 call the dispatcher needs your help to effectively send an ambulance, fire service or law enforcement. You need to be able to explain your location.
If your community subscribes to Siren 911, when you make an emergency call from the SirenGPS app local first responders will receive your location and profile in real-time enabling a faster, more efficient emergency response.
Current Version: 2.26.0 (December 31, 2019)
SkySafari 6 Pro (iOS/iPadOS, US$19.99)
SkySafari 6 Pro will revolutionize your astronomical viewing experience. It has the largest database of any astronomy app, includes every solar system object ever discovered, offers unparalleled accuracy, flawless telescope control, Augmented Reality (AR) mode, and provides the very best experience under the stars when you depend on it. Discover why SkySafari 6 Pro is the #1 recommended astronomy app for serious amateur astronomers since 2009.
Current Version: 6.7.2 (June 11, 2020)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Be My Eyes (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Need a pair of sharp eyes? Or have some sight to lend? Be My Eyes is a simple, free tool to see the world better, together.
Be My Eyes connects you with a global community of volunteers and company representatives who are ready at a moment’s notice to help you see – to lend their eyesight and support with everyday tasks.
Current Version: 3.3 (June 3, 2020)
Changes in Version 3.3
- Siri Shortcuts - use Siri to make Specialized Help calls
- Minor bug fixes and improvements
- Translated into even more languages
Castro Podcast Player (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Castro is a beautiful, full-featured podcast player that makes it easy to track and manage lots of podcasts at the same time. Only listen to the episodes you want and easily skip the rest, queue up hours of podcasts at a time and enjoy a seamless listening experience with carplay compatibility, chapter support, trim silence and much, much more!
Current Version: 2020.9 (June 18, 2020)
Changes in Version 2020.9
SIRI + SHORTCUTS INTEGRATION
- Ask Siri to play any show in Castro, whether or not you're subscribed to it- and Castro will find the episode of that show that makes the most sense to play.
- Ask Siri to play the news in Castro, and Castro will check your Queue, Top Picks, and then Inbox for recent news shows to play.
- Ask Siri to play you something from any category.
- Add episodes to the queue through Siri
- Control all aspects of playback via Siri (playback speed, skipping ahead, jumping back, continuous play, etc)
- Control Castro Plus features like Chapter skipping, Trim Silence, and enhanced Voices via Siri
- There's too many to add to this list, so we made a Siri Guide in Settings so you can see what's possible without having to remember it all. SOME COMMANDS REQUIRE A SHORTCUT TO WORK, you can conveniently add them through the guide with the push of a button.
Many of the Siri interactions are supported to the advanced use of Shortcuts, but we've also added a ton of support for Shortcuts so you can connect Castro to any app, and create your own automations. We can't wait to see what you come up with, but if you'd like some inspiration check out the new Shortcuts gallery in settings.
We've updated the Sideloading extension with a nifty redesign as well as support for dark mode. Go sideload something to check it out.
- Updated Apple Podcasts library import instructions to use a new shortcut which is much easier to work with.
- Episode summary is now accessible on the Apple Watch (thanks Bryan Clark)
Envision AI (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Envision is the fastest, most reliable and award-winning OCR app that speaks out the visual world, helping blind and visually impaired users to lead more independent lives.
Envision is developed for and together with the visually impaired community. The app is simple, gets things done and brings the best assistive experience to blind and low vision users.
Simply use your phone camera to scan any piece of text, your surroundings, objects, people or products and everything will be read out to you thanks to Envision’s smart artificial intelligence (AI) and Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
Current Version: 2.2.3 (June 16, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.2.2-2.2.3
This update has a lot of internal improvements and bug fixes. These improvements will make the app a lot more stable for new and existing users of Envision. We do have some big feature upgrades planned in coming weeks and this update sets the stage for that.
Barcode Scanning - is now even more responsive which means you can now detect almost all types of barcodes.
Color Detection - Reads much slower and accurately.
Galactic Colonies (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Galactic Colonies is a game about exploring space and building colonies. Explore a procedurally generated universe with thousands of planets.
Every colony starts small. Start by providing housing and food for your colonists before you exploit a planet’s natural resources. Set up factories and create advanced high-tech products to make your colony grow even bigger.
Discover tropical, desert and ice planets and help your colonists survive on harsh, alien worlds.
Current Version: 1.28 (June 14, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.28
- The Robotics Center menu is now also fully accessible
- Asteroids fields are now accessible
- Improved behavior of timers in accessibility mode
Jay – Tweet from your Watch (watchOS, US$3.99)
Jay brings Twitter to your Apple Watch.
Scroll your timeline, like, retweet, search tweets, follow Twitter user profiles,
and, of course, Tweet!
Current Version: 2.7.6 (June 13, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.7.6
Some slight improvements to VoiceOver that make using Jay a bit more efficient.
Microsoft Soundscape (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Microsoft Soundscape uses 3D audio technology to enhance your awareness of what is around you, and thereby help you get around and explore your surroundings.
Soundscape will place audio cues and labels in 3D space such that they sound like they are coming from the direction of the points of interest, parks, roads and other features in your surroundings.
- As you walk, Soundscape will automatically call out the key points of interest, roads and intersections that you pass. These can be adjusted and turned on and off.
- An audio beacon can be placed on a point of interest, and you will hear it as you move around. You can place an audio beacon on a point of interest that you would like to track such as your destination, a point to return to or a landmark you are familiar with.
- “My Location” describes your current location and the direction you are facing.
- "Nearby Markers" describes nearby places you have marked.
- “Around Me” describes nearby points of interest in each of the four cardinal directions, helping with orientation. Try this out when getting off a bus or leaving a train station.
- “Ahead of Me” describes points of interest in front of you, for example when walking down the street.
- The expandable Callout History section lets you review callouts you have heard, repeat callouts, hear more information about them, and more.
Current Version: 2.3.2 (June 20, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.3.2
This release includes helpful COVID-19 resources and features for Soundscape users, mobility instructors, and the broader community during these challenging times.
- Searching for Essential Services: You can now more easily locate near-by grocery stores, pharmacies and medical services under a new search filter for "Essential Services" when you set a beacon or create a new marker.
- Marker Annotations: Annotate markers on your route to help you remember what to do at each stage of your journey. These annotations can be created by you or by someone else, for example by a mobility instructor or a friend.
- Sharing Markers: This allows you to send a marker to another user; This can also be used by a mobility instructor or a friend to send you annotated markers for your route.
Spectrum Access: Enabled Media (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Welcome to Spectrum Access, formerly known as Actiview. Enjoy free audio descriptions and closed captioning for the movies and TV shows you love. Download your preferred assistive track, choosing from over 300 titles. Sync your tracks to the TV with your device's microphone. Sit back and enjoy an inclusive entertainment experience.
Current Version: 1.1.5 (June 26, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.1.4-1.1.5
- When searching for titles, you can now find them by date added to the app.
- After downloading a track, it'll now appear in My Downloads right away.
- We fixed a few other bugs to streamline the app and bring you a better experience. > * When new tracks are available, we'll now notify you.
- We improved the look and feel of My Downloads.
- When viewing all, we made it easier to find the track you want.
- We fixed a bug that occasionally caused the app to crash.
Supersense AI (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Supersense is the smartest and simplest scanner app made for the blind and visually impaired users to read any text format, currency or product details from a barcode independently.
With the power of AI, Supersense automatically figures out what you are trying to scan, guides you on how to point the camera, and reads the content in the right format. Its unique design minimizes the time and frustrations of scanning and reading text for a blind and visually impaired user.
Current Version: 1.3.1 (June 16, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.3.0-1.3.1
- Enhanced barcode scanner for more results about different products and improved accuracy
- After scanning a barcode, the product information will be announced and displayed on your screen for a while so you can access details with VoiceOver commands
- New languages are added. You can now use Supersense in Spanish, Hindi and Turkish
- Added new currencies. Now you can recognize Australian and Canadian dollars by changing the currency under the Settings
- Enhanced Smart Scanner and Document modes for faster and more accurate results
- Fixed bugs and updated announcements for Spanish, Hindi and Turkish
More exciting features and new currencies such as Euro and British Pound are on the way! As always, we appreciate any feedback to provide the best solutions for our users. Please let us know what you think about Supersense by sending your thoughts to email@example.com
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.
Current Version: 4.11.0 (June 25, 2020)
Changes in Version 4.11.0
We rewrote all the code for accessing remote sources such as Bookshare and Dropbox. While much of user interface looks the same, you'll see a lot small, subtle improvements. For example:
- Bookshare organization accounts can designate a student on a device.
- Added GoodReads integration with Bookshare.
- Downloading Bookshare books directly from Book Detail view.
- Downloading from CELA, Éole and other Web destinations directly to Library.
- Instapaper now has the options to delete articles in Voice Dream when they are archived on the server.
There're also improvements in other areas:
- Rename document directly in the Library.
- Hide built-in iOS voices. The control is in the setting for the voice.
- Directly perform full-text search from selected text.
- Sentence pause now in 0.1 second increments.
Recent News and Views
WWDC 2020: New Software and Fresh Chips
By mehgcap | June 22, 2020
As usual in June, Apple has recently concluded the opening presentation of WWDC. This year brought us version 14 of iOS, iPadOS, and tvOS, as well as watchOS 7 and macOS 11. Yes, macOS 11, not 10.16. The final announcement wasn't just about software, though, but hardware: Apple is moving its entire Mac lineup to custom chips it will be designing itself, and it's starting the process this year. Maybe that's why macOS got a whole new number?
iOS and iPad OS14
Many of the below features are the same for iOS and iPadOS. I'll note where one doesn't support something, but enough are shared between the two that it seems easier to talk about them both together. If you're interested, Apple has pages outlining the new features: here's the feature page for iOS14, and here's the page for iPadOS 14.
There are a few big changes coming to apps and the home screen that holds them.
First, widgets are coming to the home screen on iPhone. This seems to be similar to the iPadOS 13 feature that lets you pin the Today View to your home screen, but it's more than that. Widgets can be small, medium, or large, and you can stack them. Make a stack of widgets you find useful, choose a smart stack and let your device offer widgets it thinks you will use a lot, or let Siri generate a stack that changes based on your location or the time of day. It sounds like all this is a sort of combination of the Siri face on Apple Watch, and the Today view on iPad. We'll have to see how the details shake out, but the bottom line is that you can get news, new podcasts, weather, and other information on your home screen without having to open any apps at all or swipe right to open the Today view.
Other Apple News
- Apple Releases iOS 13.5.1, iPadOS 13.5.1, tvOS 13.4.6, watchOS 6.2.6, and macOS Catalina 10.15.5 Supplemental Update with Security Fixes
The AppleVis Community Inducts Aira and Envision AI into its iOS App Hall of Fame
By AppleVis | June 15, 2020
First opened in 2011, the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame is one of the ways in which the AppleVis community seeks to recognize great and accessible iOS applications that are or have been life-changing for blind and low vision users. Past inductees into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame include A Blind Legend, BARD Mobile, BlindSquare, Seeing AI, TapTapSee, Timecrest: The Door, Twitterrific: Tweet Your Way, Voice Dream Reader, and Weather Gods.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Extra 75: Sarah Herrlinger and Dean Hudson from Apple Accessibility
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason and Thomas Domville speak with Sarah Herrlinger, Director of Global Accessibility Policy and Initiatives at Apple, and her colleague Dean Hudson, who is also a VoiceOver and braille user himself.
On 22 June, Apple’s WWDC keynote highlighted the key changes and updates coming in iOS 14, iPad OS 14, Watch OS 7 and Mac OS Big Sur, from a largely mainstream perspective.
This conversation with Sarah and Dean gives us the opportunity to learn much more about what’s new in the area of accessibility.
AppleVis Unleashed June 2020: Clownfish podcast
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:
- The AppleVis Community Inducts Aira and Envision AI into its iOS App Hall of Fame
- WWDC 2020: New Software and Fresh Chips
- All of Apple's big announcements from WWDC 2020!
- macOS Big Sur compatible Macs full list
- Apple packs iOS 14 with new accessibility features, like AirPods Pro audio tweaks
- New Apple accessibility features coming this fall make technology usable and more accessible to all
AppleVis Extra 74: Recapping Apple's WWDC 2020 Keynote
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason, Thomas Domville, and Tyler Stephen get together to discuss Apple's WWDC 2020 Keynote.
Quick Tip Podcasts
- Quick Tip: How to Disable Battery Health Management on macOS
- Quick tip: Keep your Safari tabs tidy by having them close automatically
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:
- Spearheading The Accessibility Agenda: iOS 14
- Apple Reportedly Not Including Chargers with Next iPhone Release
- Logic 10.5.1 is now out! Some enhancements you should know about...
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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
We hope that everybody in our community, your families, and loved ones continues to remain safe and healthy in these difficult times.