Welcome to the June 2023 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, your monthly digest of the latest and most notable content on the AppleVis website. This edition features a curated selection of community-submitted updates, including new app entries, updates, news, and podcasts. We're releasing this edition a couple of days earlier than usual due to personal reasons. Rest assured, we will return to our regular end-of-month publication schedule next month.
New and Noteworthy App Entries
Africa Empire 2027 (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Become the greatest leader of the African Empire!
Select your country you wish to lead (54 countries available!) and play against the smart AI enemies. With excellent leadership skills, strategy and tactics, you could lead your country to the win.
Do you have what it takes?
It is the year 2027 and a big uprising took the existing government.
As the new leader, your goal is to ultimately become the supreme leader.
Using everything from diplomacy to war, you must strive to build an empire, both economically and militarily superior to all others.
Are you ready to lead, Supreme Commander?
Current Version: 3.1.2 (June 20, 2023)
Dystopia for Reddit (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Dystopia is a fast, powerful, and accessible app for Reddit.
Packed full of creature comforts like a beautiful media viewer and power user features like full keyboard navigation and a built-in command interface, Dystopia is a great way to use Reddit whether you're new to the site or have been there since the dark ages (back when the Narwhal was Baconing at Midnight). Upvote with just a flick, enjoy real-time chat to quickly hash things out privately, get notified when someone replies to your comments, and submit your own images and posts all without leaving the app.
Dystopia is meant to be enjoyed by everyone; whether you like to use your device with a larger font size, VoiceOver, a braille reader, or Switch Control, Dystopia is convenient and natural to use.
Current Version: 1.0 (June 27, 2023)
empires order (iOS/iPadOS, US$3.99)
Empire's Order is a unique sci-fi game that takes players on a journey on a distant planet in the galaxy where a precious ore is waiting to be mined. As the chosen one, it is up to you to settle on the planet, extract the ore, and deliver it to the Empire in a timely manner.
Players will have the ability to build their own deck, research new technologies, upgrade their equipment, trade with other players, and run operations with their agents. With a variety of gameplay options and the use of all means necessary to deliver the ore, Empire's Order offers an engaging and challenging rogue-lite incremental deck-building experience.
The game features 42 different cards, 37 different buildings, 33 events, and 84 achievements, as well as a variety of events, perks, and specializations to keep players engaged and challenged.
Current Version: 1.4.12 (June 10, 2023)
From Your Eyes (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
From Your Eyes is an assistant technology that brings together human and artificial intelligence and offers both fast and qualified visual explanation service to visually impaired and visually impaired users. There are three hundred and thirty million visually impaired people worldwide. One million of them are in Turkey, and ten million are in the United States. FYE consists of three parts: visually impaired users, trainable artificial intelligence services and descriptors. Visually impaired users can take any photo or select an image from their existing library and upload it to the application. Artificial intelligence delivers a draft description to the user immediately after the visual is loaded into the application. If the visually impaired user thinks that this draft description should be improved, he can also enter the description section in which aspect he wants it to be detailed and send it to the descriptors with a single click.
This request reaches the descriptors as a notification. When a descriptor enters the application, it selects an image from the request pool and makes written improvements to the text by comparing the image and the draft description. The process ends when the advanced draft is sent back to the user. The underlying AI services learn about these improvements with machine learning.
Current Version: 1.0.17 (June 24, 2023)
KeePassium (KeePass passwords (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
KeePassium keeps your passwords safe. It delivers the security of KeePass with a clean, easy to use interface.
- Automatic sync — keep your database in your favorite cloud or offline.
- Password AutoFill — login to any service in a few taps.
- Touch ID / Face ID — save your time.
- YubiKey support — protect your data with a hardware key.
- Multiple databases — to share passwords with your team or family.
- Attached files — passport scans and server keys, always with you.
- Peace of mind — feel free to check our source code, it's open.
Current Version: 1.44 (May 30, 2023)
Pattern Play Story (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)
Welcome to a match 3 game for everyone.
Make lines clear the levels and keep
the time bonus high or the game stops.
- Easy to play
- Limitless gameplay
- Offline play
- NO in app purchases
- 100% voiceover compatible
Current Version: 1.02. (June 22, 2023)
Please don’t rain (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Please Don’t Rain is a fun, convenient way to track whether rain (or snow) will affect a day that’s important to you.
When you have an important day coming up it can be cumbersome having to look up the weather for it over and over again. Not anymore! Choose a place and a day and you’ll get details about the weather for that day that will continue to update automatically if you have the Pro version.
Current Version: 1.20 (June 27, 2023)
Politics & War (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Create your own country and build your nation in Politics and War, the massively multiplayer political simulation game created by an American high school student in 2014. With over a quarter of a million players since its launch, Politics and War has become an international sensation.
Create your own country and customize it for the ultimate roleplay and world-building experience. Choose your leader, draw your borders on a map, create your own nation flag, government type, nation currency, and much more.
Mine and refine resources which can be bought and sold in a completely player-driven supply and demand economy. Use resources to power your nation, build military units, city improvement, and large-scale projects to improve your nation.
Raise armies and wage war with other players. With 7 different military units, including nuclear weapons, you can raid neighboring nations to loot money and resources or wage all out attrition war to pummel your opponents into the ground.
Engage in diplomacy with other nations by creating and joining alliances with other players. You can sign treaties, enforce political and economic sanctions, cooperate in global wars, and more. Work together with other players to compete for economic, militaristic, and diplomatic dominance in the game.
Current Version: 9.0.0 (April 23, 2023)
RightHear - Blind Assistant (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
RightHear is a virtual accessibility assistant that helps users to easily orient themselves in new or casual environments. Our vision is to make blind, visually impaired and other people with orientation disabilities feel much more independent by assisting them going anywhere, anytime.
Below are explanations of the app main modes and features:
- Current Location - Get your outdoor physical location.
- Around Me - Get outdoor nearby points of interest by turning your phone in different directions (data source is Open Street Map).
- Nearby - Lists of RighHear enabled locations and other points of interest around you.
- Record - Create your personal point of interest wherever you like and navigate there or get notify once you walk by it.
- Lens - Use object recognition tools to help you with your daily needs.
- Direction - Know the direction you are walking towards.
- Navigation - A unique RightHear navigation experience with special sound effects to keep you on track.
Indoor Mode (supported in RightHear enabled locations only):
- Current Location - Get your indoor physical location.
- Around Me - Get indoor nearby points of interest by turning your phone in different directions.
- Nearby - Lists of RighHear spots inside of the building you are at.
- Call - Get local representative assistance by phone.
- Link - A web page with additional info.
- Lens - Use object recognition tools to help you with your daily needs.
- Direction - Know the direction you are walking towards.
- Simulate a RightHear location and its internal spots.
- Receive a nearby list of stations, lines, and expected departures.
Current Version: 4.0.7 (December 27, 2022)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Dolphin EasyReader (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
EasyReader offers convenient access to your favourite accessible book libraries and talking newspaper stands, in one place.
Designed for accessibility, EasyReader enables blind and partially sighted readers to read with magnified text, audio, or a combination of both - where each word is highlighted on screen as it’s read aloud. It also links to braille displays for braille readers.
EasyReader is compatible with VoiceOver and supported braille displays.
Current Version: 10.0.5 (June 14, 2023)
Changes in Version 10.0.5
- Premium: Open and read files from Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive
- Premium: Improvements for reading text-based PDFs
- DAISY text and audio: new option to switch between using the recorded audio and TTS audio
- My Books: New graphics to indicate whether the book is text, audio or text and audio
- EPUB: Improvements for Media Overlay support
- Translations: Updated prompts for Swedish and Turkish
- Plus: Various fixes and improvements
GoodMaps Outdoors (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
GoodMaps Outdoors is a fully accessible turn-by-turn GPS app for iPhone. It has all the outdoor navigation features you expect plus unique offerings you cannot get anywhere else, including extra verbosity for blind users.
- Four main tabs are easy to access at the bottom of the screen: Routes, Location (Default), POIs and Settings.
- A unique GoodMaps Outdoors feature: Record a route using breadcrumbs, called Waypoints. No other accessible app has this. You can add these waypoints with the add button or you can shake the phone to create a Waypoint. It also automatically records a point after you have gone a certain distance. These Waypoint routes can be saved for future use.
- The Lookaround Wand in the top right tells you what is around.
- The More Info button gives the altitude and speed.
- Create your own POIs and share your POIs with others or keep them private with a shortcut on the Location page or from the POIs page.
- POI categories are announced with search results and make finding your destination easier.
- Audio tones and vibrations give feedback throughout the app, letting you know about upcoming turns, critical intersection information, and when search is loading.
- A robust route menu includes multiple methods of choosing a destination, from starting with a POI, an address from your contact list, your route history, and many more!
- Settings include many customization options like: vibrations, vision contrast, color settings, and distance units.
- There are announcement options like right, left, clockface or both.
Current Version: 5.0.0 (June 27, 2023)
Changes in Version 5.0.0
- GoodMaps Outdoors now has 3D audio announcements to enhance POI and route directions.
- There are now Siri shortcuts so you can verbally create routes to POIs and contacts.
- GPS precision has been improved slightly.
Weather Gods (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Introducing Weather Gods, a unique weather experience where the elements come to life through the divine powers of Fire, Ice, Water, Air, and Moon. Our revolutionary app redefines weather forecasting with stunning visualizations, dynamic graphics, and immersive audio, allowing you to truly see, hear, and feel the weather around you.
Say goodbye to complex weather icons. Weather Gods provides the fastest, most engaging, and enjoyable way to obtain accurate weather information. Our goal is to deliver the most intuitive and visually stunning experience available.
Seamlessly integrating premium hyperlocal weather data, Weather Gods ensures precise forecasts for over a million locations worldwide. Whether you're a casual user or a weather enthusiast, our elegant and user-friendly interface captivates you from the moment you launch the app.
Stay informed and in control with advanced notifications. Set up personalized alerts effortlessly, ensuring you receive the exact information you need, precisely when you need it. No more surprises or being caught off guard by sudden weather changes.
Current Version: 4.1.0 (June 9, 2023)
Changes in Version 4.1.0
- Hyperlocal Weather: Discover Hyperlocal Weather, a feature that enables you to check the weather in your neighborhood effortlessly. It's conveniently integrated into various parts of the app, including the main app, watch app, widgets, and lock screen. You can easily switch to the traditional forecast model if you prefer. Stay updated on the weather in your own backyard with Hyperlocal Weather!
- Weather Station: Now you can choose a specific weather station for accurate weather information. Tap the edit button to select your preferred station and access detailed reports. Dive deeper into weather conditions with the new weather station details view, featuring comprehensive data and visual gauges. Access it easily by tapping the 'Info' button next to 'Edit Weather Station'. Stay informed and stay safe with the best weather station for your needs!
- New Weather Data: Introducing Australian observations from AUSBOM and Canadian observations from Environment Canada! Access these options in the Weather Station settings or choose from nearby stations when editing your preferred weather station.
- Observations: Experience enhanced weather graphics and sounds for more accurate and immersive weather observations. Our updates ensure that the visuals and sounds closely reflect the current weather conditions, providing you with a realistic experience. See and hear the weather with unparalleled accuracy, whether it's sunny, rainy, or anything in between.
- Watch App Alerts: You can now view the details of any alert by simply tapping on it in the list. This means that you can quickly and easily access all the information you need to stay informed and prepared.
- Precise Temperature: Did you know that you can now view even more precise temperature information on your watch app? All you need to do is switch on the 'precise temperature' setting in the Unit section of the app's settings. This means that you'll be able to get even more accurate temperature readings, giving you a better understanding of the current weather conditions.
- Wind Descriptions: We've added a new feature that lets you toggle wind descriptions on and off in the Weather section of the app's settings.
- Notifications: We have introduced a more robust notification handling feature in our latest update! Now, when you switch to a new device or restore from a backup, you can expect a seamless transition of your notifications. Our app is designed to efficiently handle these changes, ensuring that you receive all your important alerts and updates without any issues. In the rare case that you experience any difficulties with notifications, we've also included a handy 'Reset Notifications' button in the settings. This button serves as a fail-safe option to restore your notifications to their default settings and resolve any potential issues.
- Storm Threats: We've made some updates to our storm threat feature! Now, the button is color-coded to indicate if storm threats are available and how severe they are. This means that you'll be able to quickly and easily see if there's any danger in your area, and take appropriate precautions. Additionally, we've added more detailed information about hail size, so you can stay informed and be prepared for any potential damage.
- Voiceover: We've made improvements to the Voiceover feature on our watch app! Now, you'll enjoy an even more seamless and accessible experience on the main watch screen, details screens, and timelines.
Recent News and Views
I switched to Android, but an iPhone 15 is probably in my future
By Dave Nason | June 20, 2023
There has been quite a bit of discussion and debate of late around the merits of iOS and Android, and this has coincided with my own journey into using Android. In February this year, after thirteen years using iPhones, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S23. I had long been curious about Android and had dabbled with it over the years, primarily as my work phone. I had never really picked it up and used it as my primary day to day phone though, at least not since I spent a month with a Nexus 4 way back in 2016. This time, I genuinely planned to give it a real go. I envisaged myself sticking with it for a full year, before deciding what I want to do next.
For context, while I have some limited vision, I am very much a screen reader user, with VoiceOver on iOS and TalkBack on Android. I have also tried CSR, also known as Jieshuo, on the Android side. I do not use Braille, so will not be delving into that aspect here.
In this blog post, I want to share my experiences to date, and why I’m not so sure I’ll last the year after all.
Reflecting on 8 Years of Apple Watch: Hopes, Conveniences, Disappointments, and Insights From a Blind User's Perspective
By Callum | June 14, 2023
It's hard to believe that it was 8 years ago that the first Apple Watch was released! I wasn't someone who dived straight in with Apple's new smart watch, but I did watch the reviews with interest and eventually, in 2016 I finally got a series 1 watch, which was actually the second version of the watch (just to make life confusing). I remember reading David Goodwin's one year anniversary blog post and a lot of his points really resonated with me. I liked the product, but there wasn't a "killer app" that made me love it. I eventually moved away from the Apple Watch when I briefly went over to the dark side (Android). I went back to iOS after a few months for reasons I won't get into here, but it took me a lot longer to go back to the watch. Quite simply, I wasn't missing it.
As with all products, the Apple Watch evolved. new generations came along with faster processing, louder speakers and they became much less dependent on the phone. Last year, curiosity got the better of me and before I knew it, I had an Apple Watch SE first gen strapped to my wrist. Despite the huge improvements in speed, speaker clarity and not needing to be tied to the iPhone, I still find myself wondering what exactly the watch offers me and disappointed to find that a lot of my hopes for this device have not really come true.
My Use Case
I'll get one thing out of the way straight away; I'm not a fitness guy. Having insights about my health is nice, and I do feel like the activity prompts from the watch get me moving around more instead of sitting at my desk for hours particularly when working from home, but I don't often do workouts or go to the gym on a daily basis (that'll be my new years resolution... Again!).
What I was hoping to use the watch for was to make life easier while out and about. As someone who is totally blind, one hand is always busy with either my guide dog's harness or, as things are nowadays, my cane. Being able to do certain actions, such as answer calls, check notifications and reply to messages without having to take my phone out of my pocket was the ultimate aim.
Unblocking the Wordpress Block Editor
By Paul Martz | May 31, 2023
If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know I enjoy deep dives into non-intuitive user interfaces—Discord, GarageBand, and Google Docs, to name a few. Documenting these beasts comes with some peril. Software is mutable. After I post my detailed description of (fill-in-the-complicated-app-of-your-choice), a new improved version of the software renders my article obsolete.
Take Wordpress, for example. Five years ago, I wrote a blog about setting up your own Wordpress site from scratch using Wordpress v4.9.5. Six months later, the release of Wordpress v5 included a redesigned editor, called Gutenberg, and my blog contained not one shred of information about it. (To be fair, there wasn’t much I could say, as the new editor lacked basic accessibility. But I still felt like I’d created a blog that was almost instantly outdated.)
Today, Gutenberg is stable and accessible. I’ve been using it to create and modify Wordpress web pages for several months. The interface feels strange and awkward—an unavoidable consequence of accessibility as an afterthought, and a VoiceOver issue with lagging focus requires some finesse to work around. Nonetheless, it’s time to document this important Wordpress feature.
If you’re not a Wordpress admin or contributor—lucky you! Read no further. You will never need to use the Wordpress Gutenberg editor.
The rest of us must learn it. Once we do, Gutenberg has many benefits.
Other Apple News
- WWDC 23 Keynote: Apple Unveils Platform Updates and Introduces Apple Vision Pro Headset and New Macs
- Apple Releases iOS 16.5.1, iPadOS 16.5.1, macOS Ventura 13.4.1, and watchOS 9.5.2
This Month in Podcasts
Recapping Apple's WWDC 2023 Keynote
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Thomas Domville, Dave Nason, and Tyler Stephen get together to discuss Apple's WWDC 2023 Keynote.
Quick Tip: How to Assign Custom Keyboard Shortcuts to Menu Bar Commands in macOS
In this episode, Tyler demonstrates how to assign your own keyboard shortcuts to menu bar commands that lack default shortcuts in macOS.
An example of where this may be useful is in System Settings, where many settings can be quickly accessed from the View menu, however none of these commands have default keyboard shortcuts mapped to them.
Podcasts by Thomas Domville
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of the most talked-about posts from the past month:
- apple vision pro VoiceOver support
- Blind people may be unable to use Reddit from July
- OpenScape (Soundscape clone!)
- General TTS Discussion Thread
- Weather Gods 4.1.0
- Hell Hunter 2 - Damned Soul has been released!
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