Welcome to the March 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
Blind Quest, The enchanted Castle (iOS/iPadOS, US$4.99)
Blind Quest is a fantasy role-playing game where you will guide Nathan the mercenary in an epic adventure across the lands of Aetherna.
The Enchanted Castle of King Alen is invaded by ghosts. His daughter, Helen, is in search of a hero who can defeat this supernatural menace and only Nathan, a solitary mercenary, dares to help her.
- Explore incredible locations such as the Desert of Sarteras and the Dungeons of Curigos and other 50 maps in 10 different scenarios to explore and interact with!
- More than 20 enemies to face in an engaging turn-based combat system! Battle against terrible foes like the Necromancer, the Crystal Dragon and many more!
- With 3 or more hours of gameplay and a high level of replayability Blind Quest - The Enchanted Castle is a true fantasy epic!
- Save the reign of Reldia and princess Helen!
Become a LEGEND!
Current Version: 3 (March 26, 2020)
Bump Bump Braille Learn (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Bump Bump Braille Learn puts learning braille at your finger tips. Learn the entire alphabet, and the in, and outs of braille. If you already know braille we provide a cheat sheet with the entire alphabet. We will add more features in each incremental update. Bump Bump Braille makes learning braille easy.
Current Version: 1.5 (September 24, 2019)
Google Podcasts (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
With Google Podcasts, you can find and listen to the world's podcasts for free.
Discover podcasts you'll love
- Subscribe and listen to all your favorite podcasts.
- Explore show and episode recommendations just for you.
- Browse popular and trending shows in comedy, news, sports, and more.
Customize your listening experience
- Listen at faster playback speeds or skip over silences.
- Queue up episodes for a seamless listening experience.
- Easily keep track of your listening history, downloads, and subscriptions.
Listen wherever you are
- Listen on multiple devices - phone, laptop, smart speaker - without losing your place.
- Auto-download shows to listen offline and on the go.
- Discover podcasts using Google Search and Google Assistant.
Mani (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Banknotes under Mahatma Gandhi (New) series with change in the size and design were introduced in November 2016. Under this new series, banknotes in the denominations of Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.200 Rs.500 and Rs.2000 have since been released. The Reserve Bank of India has been sensitive to the challenges faced by the visually challenged in conducting their day to day business with Indian banknotes. This application will aid the visually impaired to identify the denomination of Indian banknotes of Mahatma Gandhi Series and Mahatma Gandhi (New) series by capturing the image of the notes placed in front of rear mobile camera. The application will generate audio and
non-sonic notification intimating the currency note denomination to the user.
Current Version: 1.3 (January 24, 2020)
NetNewsWire: RSS Reader (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
NetNewsWire is a free and open source RSS reader. It’s fast, stable, and accessible.
NetNewsWire shows you articles from your favorite blogs and news sites — and keeps track of what you’ve read.
If you’ve been going from page to page in your browser looking for new articles to read, let NetNewsWire bring them to you instead.
If you’ve been getting your news from Facebook and Twitter — with their ads, algorithms, and user tracking — get your news from your favorite sites directly, and more reliably, with NetNewsWire.
Take back control of your news. And have fun doing it!
Current Version: 5.0 (March 9, 2020)
Pitch Black: Audio Pong (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)
Take on eccentric opponents in nine different arenas and battle your way to the top of the Pitch Black: Audio Pong championships. Use your ears to win the title and rip through our exotic stages and arenas. Audio Pong uses binaural audio to accurately spatialise and recreate your favorite classic arcade game. Pitch Black: Audio Pong has been built to be entirely accessible for visually impaired gamers. This audio game features fully voice acted characters, created soundscapes, fully interactive game areas, incredibly diverse sound design, an innovative audio only menu system and a featured playlist of our own classic arcade soundtracks. Brought to you by Purple Jam Ltd, Audio Pong is the first in a series of Audio Games that focus on innovative audio mechanics. Through using binaural audio, Purple Jam Ltd intend to create a diverse list of Audio Game milestones, ranging from arcade games inspired by the classics to completely original audio innovations. Purple Jam Ltd aims to deliver new and exciting audio only games to expand on recent binaural application within the gaming industry, so keep up to date with our latest releases to see what cool and exciting games were developing next!
PowerAid - Power failure alarm (iOS/iPadOS, US$0.99)
PowerAid is an app that brutally awakes you in case of a power outage. If there is a storm coming or a big freeze is on it's way, then you really need this app. Even if PowerAid awakes you just once, it will probably be your wisest investment ever.
It's really simple: Connect your device to a power adapter and start the app. Put the device to sleep. That's it! If the power goes out, a really loud alarm goes off.
PowerAid may also be used as an anti-theft alarm if you are charging your iPhone in public places.
Current Version: 2.0 (November 10, 2019)
TameWatch (watchOS, US$2.99)
What if we could get a little nostalgic and take care of our health at the same time? In TameWatch a little Pet friend (a Yeti!) will be your health companion. We ask from your Health Data to count your steps, so you can trade them for food to feed your Yeti. Getting nostalgic already? Download now and start your friendship with your virtual pet!
Current Version: 1.7 (March 10, 2020)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Circus Master’s Revenge (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
An epic non-graphic binaural battle of circus freaks, which you will never forget & which will need you to have tremendous courage in order to defend yourself. Beware, the circus master is definitely not very friendly. Like most antagonists, he tries to hurt your feelings as often as possible to throw you off your game. Hopefully, his insults will enforce you to focus on the enemy. Good luck to anyone who is up to the challenge. Hope, you enjoy it.
Current Version: 1.1 (March 10, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.1
- Daily based wheel of fortune is included.
- Visually impaired community-friendly customize in-game keyboard is introduced.
- Audio enhancement is done for this audio-based hunting game!
- Performance enhancement.
OverDrive: eBooks & audiobooks (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Borrow eBooks, audiobooks, and streaming video from your library using OverDrive on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. More than 30,000 libraries worldwide offer titles from OverDrive, so download the app and find your next book today!
- Available 24/7, now the library comes to you.
- No more late fees. Titles are automatically returned.
- Place holds, create wish lists, and return titles easily.
- Sync libraries, bookmarks, and recent positions across mobile devices.
- A valid account with a participating library, school, or other institution is required.
- Each library builds its own collection of titles. Contact them directly to let them know that you’re using OverDrive and to share any suggestions for books you would like to see them carry.
Current Version: 3.8.6 (March 30, 2020)
Changes in Version 3.8.6
- Screen reader updates, including improved support in the audiobook player, bookshelf, and main app menu.
- Updated video player, with improved support for syncing position across devices.
Timecrest: The Door (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
In Timecrest, where epic fantasy meets interactive fiction, author Lisa J. Skye introduces you to Ash Elden, where together you both must scramble to solve the puzzle of who unfroze the meteors to destroy Ash’s world of Alyncia. You discover that you have access to a forbidden magic–the ability to turn back time.
Every choice you make matters, and will change the outcome of this massive 225,000-word interactive story, leading to one of multiple endings. Immersive yourself within the emotional soundtrack and explore the non-linear maps.
With your new incredible powers, who will you choose to live and let die?
Current Version: 2.9.5 (March 16, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.9.1
When we started our journey to tell the story of Timecrest, we found some great tracks from a Royalty Free music library that added another layer to the story. Thanks to all of your support over the last few years, we've been able to compose an amazing new soundtrack for Timecrest from scratch.
We've loved collaborating with Dibur Music to write 24 original tracks that really bring the fantasy world of Alyncia to life. We put an incredible amount of love and creativity into these songs that we believe will give you even more detail into the character's emotions and the feel of each location they visit.
We're bringing a modern, clean, new look to Timecrest. Some of the UI will be moved around and brightened up. The refresh looks amazing and will be easier on the eyes to read. The redesign will also prepare us for the future, allowing more space for new features in future updates including the upcoming Timecrest 3. If you preferred the original darker look of Timecrest, there will be an option in the Settings menu to enable Dark mode.
- Completely remastered UI
- Brand new soundtrack
- Animated music player
- Light/Dark Mode
- International Phonetic Alphabet attribution for VoiceOver
- Improved gold exchanger
- Bug fixes
- Spelling and grammar fixes
Recent News and Views
Staying Home: Already a Pro
By Morgan Watkins | March 27, 2020
Like most folks, I have always been a bit of a social animal. I delighted in dining with friends at our local Periodic Table Supper Club. I liked walking around the block with a neighbor friend and talking to others in their front yards. I enjoyed traveling with my wife wherever and whenever we wanted. And, we absolutely loved it when our kids dropped by the house. That was then, this is now.
A new abnormal has descended upon all of us. An unwanted virus has invaded our lives. It was just two months ago when my wife and I were happily looking to buy a new minivan. Fortunately, we did not find the exact model and color we were hunting. We sure don't need it now. We are staying at home, all the time, because it is the smartest and safest thing to do.
This pandemic is a huge change in all our lives. Because of our own age and circumstances, we decided to hunker down and stay inside our house beginning this month on Friday the 13th. Now, everyone else in Austin is doing the same. We no longer go shopping, attend religious services, or stray past the end of our driveway. And, mostly, we don't even wander onto our large front porch. Our back patio is isolated and we get all our fresh air out there.
Regardless of how strange our personal circumstances are right now, we are embracing this new lifestyle. We are hoping that our sheltering in place will keep us, our neighbors and our community healthier. So, at this very moment, I'm sitting in my comfy chair, with my iPhone and a Bluetooth keyboard. Now, a reality check. I've been writing for AppleVis for nearly five years, and it is always from this very chair. When I think about it, not too terribly much has changed. I still communicate with my friends via phone calls, text messages and email. I continue to read lots of books with Audible, Bard and Voice Dream Reader. I play my mandolin and violin in tandem with my favorite tunes on Apple Music. I review AppleVis, along with our local and a national newspaper all from my iPhone. I may not travel around the city or walk as many miles, but I am not forgotten and I am not alone. Even though I am fortunate to share my home with my wife of 40 years and my goofy guide dog, I feel very connected to so many other people whom I care about. In truth, I am actually spending more time communicating with the important people in my life. My iPhone is how I safely keep friends close. I stay at home and stay in touch.
[Update: Now Available] Apple to Release iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 on March 24; With Several New Features, but Mixed News for Blind and Low Vision Users
By AppleVis | March 20, 2020
Apple has this week released the Gold Master versions of iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 to developers, and announced that these updates will be available to the public on March 24. In addition to bringing some new features and enhancements, these releases will bring fixes for a few VoiceOver, braille, and Smart Invert bugs. Unfortunately, there are also new issues in these releases for blind and low vision users.
It is extremely disappointing that at this advanced stage of the iOS and iPadOS 13.x development cycle, not only has Apple failed to address several longstanding bugs for blind and low vision users, but new issues are also being introduced. With development time and priority now most likely switching to the next major OS releases, it is becoming increasingly likely that blind and low vision users will have to wait until Fall for further accessibility fixes. To say that this prospect is incredibly disheartening is a vast understatement, and Apple can and should do much better by its blind and low vision customers.
Other Apple News
- Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4, watchOS 6.2, and tvOS 13.4
- Apple Announces New iPad Pro With A12Z Bionic Chip, Trackpad Support, Dual Camera, Augmented Reality Scanner, and Magic Keyboard Accessory
- Apple Announces New $999 MacBook Air and Updated Mac Mini
- Apple Announces Updated Powerbeats Wireless Earphones With H1 Chip, 15-Hour Battery Life and $149 Price Tag
- Apple Reported to be Exploring Ways to Let Developers Provide Custom Text-to-Speech Synthesizers on iOS
Dragging and Dropping Items with VoiceOver on macOS
By Tyler | March 23, 2020
If you use a Mac, at some point or another, you will need to drag an item from one place to another. You could be, among other things, trying to move a file, reorder a list, or attach photos and other files to a document.
While there is no, “Magic solution,” to drag and drop with VoiceOver, there are several methods you can employ that just might work to accomplish the task at hand. These tips come predominantly from my own personal use, as literature on how to do this is rather scarce. Therefore, if you know of additional tips and tricks, sound off in the comments.
Option one: find an alternative to drag and drop
While instructional materials for apps and macOS itself may say to perform a task by dragging and dropping something, there may be alternatives depending on the task. The most common of these is copy and paste, which can be used to relocate files in Finder, attach files to email messages, or attach photos to email messages via the photo browser, among other uses.
1More Stylish True Wireless Earbuds: Rugged Earbuds with Great Sound
By sockhopsinger | March 9, 2020
To begin with, let's give you a little information about what these earbuds contain:
- Titanium Composite dynamic driver: Balances powerful bass and exquisite detail to deliver Music as the artist intended it to be heard.
- Fast and stable connection: integrating Qualcomm chip with aptX and AAC compatibility provides a rock-solid connection for an optimized level of audio excellence.
- Extended playtime: experience up to 6.5 hours of non-stop enjoyment on a single charge and extend it to 24 hours with the included charging case. Fast charge capabilities enables 15 minutes of charge time for an additional 3 hours of use.
- Groovy Colorways: Add a splash of color to your earbuds thanks to the NCVM (Non-Conductive Vacuum Metallization) color process which provides both long-lasting colors and sleek metallic finish.
- Environmental noise cancelling microphone: mems Microphone With DSP technology filters out the ambient noise effectively for crystal clear phone calls.
- Pamu Slide and Pamu Slide Mini: Great Sound and Great Battery
- The Enacfire G20 Truly Wireless Earbuds: It is Scary How Good These Are!!!
GarageBand Part 3: Drummers and Loops
By Paul Martz | March 6, 2020
GarageBand makes it amazingly easy to create music. In this blog, I'll show you how to create the following blues-based rock jam. You don't need an instrument. You won't have to play a single note.
Using GarageBand's Drummer track and collection of prerecorded Loops, you can create your own music limited by little more than your imagination. GarageBand includes rhythms and Loops for alternative rock, hip hop, Electronic, R&B, and many others. And dozens of acoustic and digital instruments.
There are lots of reasons to assemble music from GarageBand's canned segments.
- Create your own compositions and share musical ideas with other musicians.
- Create an intro/outro song for your own podcasts.
- Add a soundtrack to a video.
- Play or sing along on another instrument for practice.
- Just have fun.
That's off the top of my head. Apple's liberal licensing means you can use what you create for almost any purpose.
This blog covers the following.
- Adding and configuring a Drummer Track
- Finding and adding Loops for bass and guitar.
- Joining multiple Loop regions.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed March 2020: Coffee Anyone?
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 Updates Its App Store Review Guidelines, Here Are Key Takeaways
- Apple launches repair program for blank screen issue affecting 3rd generation iPad Air
- Apple Announces Updated Powerbeats Earbuds With H1 Chip, 15-Hour Battery Life and $150 Price Tag
- Apple Announces New MacBook Air with 2x Performance, Magic Keyboard, $999 Price Tag
- New iPad Pro Announced With A12Z Bionic Chip, Magic Keyboard With Trackpad, LiDAR Scanner, Ultra Wide Camera
Type With Ease and Speed With the Tap Strap 2, a Single Handed All-in-One Wearable Keyboard, Mouse and Air Gesture Controller
In this podcast, The Evil Chocolate Cookie gives us a demonstration of the Tap Strap 2, a single handed all-in-one wearable keyboard, mouse & air gesture controller.
Tap is a wearable keyboard and mouse that enables you to type, mouse and control any Bluetooth enabled device, using any surface and in any position. Tap has accelerometers built into each finger ring, which register which fingers you are tapping and sending the associated letter, number, symbol, or macro to a paired Bluetooth device.
Tap is the only ergonomic solution that allows you to type in any position that is comfortable to your specific body without being bound to a desk. Tap’s design takes stress off your median nerve, allowing for hours of typing without strain. Tap also allows you to write without hunching forward, which causes posture problems as well as neck, shoulder and back pain.
Learning to Tap takes about 2 Hours – which is approximately 10 times faster than it takes to learn to QWERTY touch-typing. You learn to Tap using finger combinations, not key locations, making it usable in a variety of situations where you could not use a QWERTY. The fastest way to learn is by playing our free TapGenius Learning Game, which takes you through the Tap Alphabet using a series of fast, engaging challenges.
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
- How to Make Your Device Listen for “Hey Siri” When It's Laid Face Down or the Face Is Covered
- How to Add Nicknames to Contacts on iOS
- How to name a group conversation in Messages for iOS
- Get Wired In the News with NetNewsWire: RSS Reader for iOS
- Prepare to Embark on an Adventure with Blind Quest for iOS
- How to Use the Lyrics Feature in Apple Music on iOS
- How to Mark Email as Junk in Apple Mail on iOS
- How to Setup your Emergency contacts and ID on your iPhone in iOS
Quick Tip: What to do if an app on your Mac becomes unresponsive
In this podcast, Tyler Stephen demonstrates what to do if an app on your Mac becomes unresponsive.
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:
- Games to play with sighted people in isolation
- Full Keyboard Access (Settings>Accessibility>Keyboards)
- Bored? Join the First online Venture Zone Game Tournament
- two voices that I want apple to add in IOS 14
- Blind Quest Available on iOS!
- Now available: Pitch Black: Audio Pong!
Club AppleVis offers members and friends of our community a means of directly contributing towards the financial costs of operating AppleVis—thus ensuring that we can continue to deliver the information, help, and support that so many people have come to value and rely on since our launch in 2010.
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 remain safe and healthy in these difficult times.
The AppleVis Editorial Team