Welcome to the March 2021 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 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 Drive (iOS/iPadOS, US$3.99)
This game is like nothing you’ve played before.
Did you ever drive blindfolded? Now’s your chance!
Blind Drive is a unique one-of a kind experience: an audio-based, black comedy arcade action game.
The entire game is experienced through your ears. You’re blindfolded and going against traffic. Cars rushing past, angry drivers yelling at you. Cops on your tail. And you can’t see a thing. Listen carefully now - do your ears have what it takes?
Current Version: 1.0.01 (March 15, 2021)
iCanSee world (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
The software "I can see" - intended for use by blind or visually impaired people to help them navigate in space and help them find the right objects.
The software product «I can see» uses artificial neural networks, in such a way as to recognize different objects in a house, objects on the street, clothing, food, animals, plants, mushrooms and more.
- This application intended for use by blind or visually impaired people to help them navigate in space, find the right objects, and also explore our world in more detail.
- One of the big pluses is the ability to recognize different objects in real time.
- Identification of objects using a trained artificial neural network.
- All recognizable objects will be called voice, it allows the blind person to understand what object is in front of him.
- Function of current time.
- Function of suspension of objects recognition.
- Night mode. Even at night this program can recognize the objects.
- Function of searching the object: say the object name, and after a couple of seconds the program will searching object. As soon as the object is detected, the program will report this.
- Thematic filters adapt the program for your environment.
- To recognize objects, you don't need an internet connection!
Current Version: 3.2.11 (April 25, 2018)
NetNewsWire (macOS, Free)
NetNewsWire is the best way to keep up with the sites and authors you read most regularly. Let NetNewsWire pull down the latest articles, and read them in a distraction-free and Mac-like way.
- Native Interface... NetNewsWire looks right at home in OS X 10.8
- Find Later... Bookmark individual articles, mark sites as your favorites, and search everything.
- Sharing... Send articles to Instapaper, Twitter, or Facebook.
- Popular Feeds... If you're just getting started, NetNewsWire can suggest some great reading material.
- Distraction-free... Reading articles in a browser means putting up with ads and sidebars. NetNewsWire focuses on content.
- Tabs... For the true reading lover, NetNewsWire easily keeps track of multiple articles open at the same time.
Current Version: 6.0 (March 28, 2021)
Newsbite (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
A modern RSS newsreader for iPhone and iPad, with features to help you find the news you are interested in, and no creepy tracking or advertising:
- Add Home Screen widgets showing articles from your folders, feeds, topics, tags or searches.
- Discover feeds published by your favourite news website or blog using the built-in browser.
- Setup notifications to alert you when new articles appear in your feeds.
- Create rules to automatically like, read, tag, or hide certain articles.
- Filter articles by unread, today only, tag, or media type.
- Add articles to the Reading List for later.
- Use the built-in reading list or external services, supports Pocket, Instapaper, and Safari Reading List.
- Automatically find the most written about topics from your feeds during the last day, week or month.
- Load the full article content for feeds that don't include the full text in the feed.
- Multiple image, audio, and video attachment playback.
- 3 column layout on iPad with new sidebar, redesigned for iPadOS 14.
- Pointer support from iPadOS 13.4 onwards.
- Sync your feeds and topics, plus article reads and likes using iCloud, no additional account or login needed.
- If you have more than one device synced to the same iCloud account you can nominate one of them to be the ‘Primary Device’. The primary device is responsible for downloading new articles from your feeds, other devices will sync via iCloud. This can help preserve battery life on other devices, and improve sync reliability.
- Keep articles indefinitely, even when removed from the feed.
- Organise your feeds into folders using drag and drop.
- Choose custom font, size, spacing, alignment, and theme for reading articles.
- Supports RSS, Atom, and JSON feed formats.
- Updates feeds in the background.
Current Version: 2.1.7 (March 4, 2021)
Steps - Activity Tracker (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Track how far you walk and how many steps you take. Always on, works on all iPhones.
Steps is a pedometer and activity tracker. It shows you just how much you're moving in a simple, elegant way. Set a goal. As you walk, the colors change to show your progress like a sunrise. No noise, no extra gadget to wear and nothing to distract you.
Everyone should walk 10,000 steps every day for their health, but many of us don't go that far. With Steps, you can easily track how far you go every day, set a goal, and get moving!
- Clear, uncluttered design and changing color tells you at a glance how far you've gone today
- Easily set and adjust goals
- Calorie tracking, customized for your body and activity
- Track and share your full activity history
- Customize to match your style with themes
- Check in quickly from your Apple Watch or Notification Center on your iPhone
- Integrates with Apple Health to combine data from your Apple Watch or other connected devices
Current Version: 1.7.13 (March 19, 2021)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
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: 2.3.13 (March 22, 2021)
Changes in Version 22.214.171.124.13-
- Offline Instant text. Reads texts instantly. (Doesn't work with non-latin languages)
- Barcode Detection. Detects and beeps more precisely when a barcode is present in the camera view.
- You can now view page counts and number labels to your local language. In Document Scanning Multiple pages, Current Page numbers in the document reader, Jump to a Page in the document reader and on the Teach Envision number of photos needed.
- Overall improvements in searching and pairing for you Envision Glasses with the application.
- Overall improvement regarding app performance.
- Translations update for non-latin languages.
FlickType Watch Keyboard (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
The fastest Apple Watch keyboard, now better than ever.
With powerful Auto-Correct, Swipe Typing, customization features and more, FlickType Keyboard will change the way you use your Apple Watch!
Also includes a fully accessible iPhone keyboard for low-vision users.
- FlickType's universal design makes typing easy, fast, and comfortable — even on your Apple Watch!
- Don't slow down or try to be accurate. Just tap where it feels right and FlickType's unique algorithm will find the correct word from the pattern of your taps.
- Delete or change entire words with a single flick of your finger. On Apple Watch you can also use the Digital Crown to change words, punctuation, or emoji.
- FlickType keyboard users type up to three times faster compared to the standard keyboard, Scribble, or even dictation after edits. Emoji, text shortcuts, and deep customization options make typing fluid and fun, just as it should be — even on your Apple Watch!
- FlickType keyboard is designed to be as accessible as possible on both iPhone and Apple Watch, featuring large keys, high-contrast colors, prominent visuals, and effective VoiceOver feedback. FlickType can speak back to you for a completely eyes-free writing experience, enabling people who are blind to type just as fast as everyone else.
Current Version: 2021.8 (March 20, 2021)
Changes in Version 2021.8
- Auto-Correct is now included in the free version :)
- Improved swipe accuracy for even easier typing
GoodMaps Explore (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Discover the world with GoodMaps Explore.
Accurate indoor* and outdoor† information and navigation for people who are blind or visually impaired.
- On-demand and automatic updates about your immediate surroundings. Shake your phone to hear a snapshot of your current location, including current direction, nearest room, street, or points of interest (POI).
- Accurate indoor routing for independent travel. Follow a route to a destination in mapped indoor venues.
- Direction-based discovery at your fingertips. Discover the POIs in the direction you point the phone. You will hear the POIs in order of proximity.
- Before you go. Set your position outdoors to a POI and explore its surroundings. Search indoor POIs and follow routes to them virtually.
- Get started quickly with help from easy, accessible tutorials.
- Select a Favorite POI or address to quickly set as a destination.
- Search for POIs indoors or outdoors.
- Locate nearby intersections.
- Integration with Be My Eyes to provide live visual assistance.
Current Version: 1.3.1 (March 2, 2021)
Changes in Version 1.3.1
- Search radius expanded to 50 miles and search results show 25 results at a time.
- Improvements to CPS, including the ability to turn CPS on and off.
- Improvements to indoor Directions.
- Improvements to how Location Notifications work indoors, especially how users are notified of Nearby POIs.
- Improvements to the outdoor to indoor transition.
- Getting Warmer is now available indoors.
- Several new Indoor Venues are available in Explore.
- Minor bug fixes, and improvements to non-English versions of Explore.
SeeingAssistant-Move (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Seeing Assistant Move is an application developed by Transition Technologies S.A. in order to support blind and visually impaired people in everyday life. Application provides advanced geo-location and navigation features as well as current weather reports.
- route planning
- support for LoadStone and OpenStreetMap POIs text databases
- advanced neighborhood scanner with world directions
- searching for location
- where am I functionality
- route recorder
- sharing points
- entering text by voice
- Dropbox integration
and fully operational by voice commands!
Current Version: 2.5.1 (March 19, 2021)
Changes in Version 2.5.0
Changes in the area of tracked points:
- A mechanism for automatic skipping points was introduced in tracked routes - when the user has not reached the arrival radius of a given point and consistently approaches the next route point, then the tracking is automatically switching to that next point
- Repaired the error that too quickly was resetting actions on the rotor on the point tracking screen
- Added the ability to turn on the sound (in addition to the existing vibration) when the iPhone is directed at the tracked point
New options in the " search for addresses in OSM”
- Added the possibility to search for points in specified radius
- More actions have been added to the points from searching results list
- Fixed search for the nearest OSM points when simulating the location
- On the main screen action called "Navigate to previous point" has been added when VoiceOver is focused on the button tracked points
- On the "Save current location" screen, the indicator describing the positioning accuracy was fixed
- Fixed search boxes in the application - mainly in the "Find in databases " option
- Values of the "Local_ref" tag are now being downloaded from names of points in OSM
- The What3word button has been moved from “home” to points screen
- Other minor repairs and improvements
- Bug fixes
Voice: OCR Document Reader (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Voice was hand-crafted for people like you. It can help you quickly read items like product labels and magazine pages in your day-to-day. But you can also use it for more advanced reading like mail or books.
My goal with Voice was to create the most simple and intuitive interface to help you read things. Here are some features that I hope are helpful.
- Voice’s OCR engine is perhaps one of the best in the world. You no longer need to worry about low lighting and bad focus, Voice corrects it automatically and gives you pixel-perfect accuracy every time. Voice can even read scribbles and handwritten text with incredible accuracy.
- The most basic way to use Voice is by simply tapping the button labeled by VoiceOver as “Camera. Button” This will take a picture. Then simply tap the button labeled “Next. Button” and Voice will perform OCR on your image and read it aloud.
- Alternatively, you can control the app using your voice if you find that tapping buttons shake your camera. Simply say “capture” to snap a picture, and “read” to start processing the image.
- Batch mode is enabled by default. To read more than one page, just keep taking photos using the “Camera. Button” or by saying the word “capture” many times. Voice will read all the documents one after another.
- Good OCR detection does not depend on the corners of a document to be visible. But if corner detection is important to you, Scan Tone plays a tone when it sees all 4 corners visible. The tone gets louder or softer depending on the placement, tilt, and orientation of your phone relative to your document. A louder scan tone means better visibility of your document.
- Voice also supports real-time scanning. Toggle this on, then simply hold your phone in front of any document with text and Voice will read it out loud in real-time. Voice also automatically turns on flash when it detects sub-par lighting and turns it off for objects that would glare.
- Voice supports 47 languages and offers 180 reading voices. 52 voices are the standard iOS voices, and 128 of them are premium AI-generated voices with extremely fluent intonations. You can adjust your language, reading voice, and speaking rate in Settings.
- The photo library picker lets you pick multiple images at a time from any of your albums.
- Voice now fully works without wifi. If privacy is a concern or you don’t care for that extra bit of OCR quality, then feel free to use Voice in offline mode. You can turn it on in settings.
- Once your document has been scanned, it takes one tap to copy your detected OCR text to your clipboard, export it as an accessible PDF, export it as a Plain Text file, or simply export all the images you captured.
Current Version: 6.4 (March 22, 2021)
Changes in Version 6.3
- Lots of bugs fixed for importing images and PDFs from apps like Whatsapp and iMessage.
- Ability to change between offline mode and online mode for text-to-speech voices.
- New and better loading sounds in the app.
- Improvements to corner detection.
- Fixed some bugs with the voice command feature.
- Fixed some typos.
- Overall, tons of bug fixes and massive performance improvements.
Recent News and Views
- Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.4.2, iOS 12.5.2, and watchOS 7.3.3 with Critical Webkit Security Fix
- Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1, macOS Big Sur 11.2.3 , and watchOS 7.3.2 Security Updates with One Braille Bug Fix
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed March 2021: Are you Ready to Swap Over?
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville, Randy Rusnak, and Robin Christopherson discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this podcast include:
- Apple event predicted for April, not March 23
- Apple seeded disinformation about March 23 event to root out leakers, leaker says
- Apple Implements Tougher Security Guidelines at Factories to Prevent Leaks
- Apple Could Announce iPad Pro With Thunderbolt Port and Mini-LED Display in April
- AirPods 3 Not Launching Until Q3 2021
- Leaker Reveals Size of Apple's AirTags and Says They'll Cost Around $39
AppleVis Extra 80: State of the Disunion - Android versus iPhone in 2021
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, host Dave Nason is joined by four great guests for a fun, detailed and balanced discussion about the state of both Android and iOS today, in particular of course for blind and low vision users.
Dave is joined by Warren Carr of the Blind Android Users podcast and mailing list, Steve Nutt of Computer Room Services, plus Scott Davert and Alex Hall from the AppleVis editorial team.
Quick Tip: How to Configure your Mac to Announce the Time Automatically
In this podcast, Tyler Stephen gives us a quick tip on how to configure your Mac to announce the time Automatically.
Quick Tip: How to Format an SSD as APFS on macOS
In this podcast, Andre Louis gives us a quick tutorial on how to format an SSD as APFS on macOS.
Experience Virtuoso, Realistic Tabla Playing with iTablaPro for iOS
In this podcast, Kushal Solanki gives us a demonstration of iTablaPro, an electronic tabla and tanpura app for iOS that sounds like the real thing.
The app is ideal for Indian Classical musicians and students. It includes support for all common taals used in Hindustani music, making it the perfect companion for daily riyaz (practice). And the beautiful Tanpura and Swar Mandal create an instant concert atmosphere!
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
- Revisiting: How to Use Back Tap on iOS
- How to reboot and reset AirPods Max
- How to Play Ambient Sounds on HomePod & HomePod mini
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:
- Tips for power users/anyone that does more than read emails/light web browsing to be more productive on Mac OS with voiceover than windows with NVDA/JAWS.
- Please, no more games where the playable character is blind...
- WidgetPet, new virtual care game
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