Welcome to the November 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
A Detective's Demise (iOS/iPadOS, US$3.99)
A Detective’s Demise is a dark, tech-noir inspired 3D audio adventure experience. Take on the role of the “Detective,” a Lambton enforcer with a few tales to tell; as you delve deep in the grime and mystery of a future District 5. Traverse the mean streets of Dusklight’s most brutal district as you search for “her,” encountering all manner of creatures, the lowest of the low, emboldened with heightened technology at your side. Pitch Black: A Detective’s Demise.
Current Version: 1.6 (November 5, 2020)
Choose your Face (iOS/iPadOS, US$2.99)
Are you ready to be the star of the moment and get 100,000 gold coins? Choose an emoji... with a hidden amount of coins and get ready to open other face like boxes to see how many coins they have. Will you get 1 coin or 50000? Will you rise to the top and get 100,000? Will you instead take the offer from the bank, which will bug you every once in a while to tempt you with some coins? Or will you continue opening until the end until you discover the coins in your box?
- 25 faces with different sounds, carefully designed for the game;
- A custom announcer will tell you every prize you open, getting excited or sad depending on your luck;
- Bank coin offers which change depending on the amount of coins remaining to open;
- Cool music to enhance your gameplay experience;
- Fully accessible with voiceover and for low vision users.
Current Version: 1.1 (November 12, 2020)
Echoid (iOS/iPadOS, US$0.99)
Audio game fully accessible to blind and visually impaired people.
Give your eyes a short rest, make use of your ears for playing!
Listen carefully to where the trap appears and do not let the ball get into it. To control the ball is as simple as ABC - just use swipe to the left and swipe to the right.
This interesting and endless game with retro inspired sounds requires quick reflexes and concentration!
The longer you play, the more points you score, the more difficult your game becomes.
Current Version: 1.2.0 (July 2, 2020)
FiLMiC Pro－Video Camera (iOS/iPadOS, US$14.99)
FiLMiC Pro v6 is the most advanced cinema video camera for mobile. Ever. FiLMiC Pro has been enhanced with cutting-edge capabilities and the most responsive manual filming app available on iPhone and iPad.
A multi-time iOS Video Camera App of the Year, FiLMiC Pro has been used in more high profile video projects by award winning directors than any other video app:
FiLMiC Pro provides filmmakers, newscasters, teachers, vloggers, artists and musicians with the capability to shoot in a true LOG gamma curve (included in the Cinematographer Kit optional in-app purchase). LOG V2 allows for greater tonal range and flexibility in post production by expanding dynamic range by up to 2.5 extra stops and setting the iPhone’s capabilities on par with camera equipment such as dslr costing thousands more. †
Current Version: 6.12.8 (November 25, 2020)
Jack: record with system audio (macOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Jack is the best utility to record video streams, calls, meetings or online courses and video with the original system sound.
With Jack you can record your screen, microphone and system sound (speakers audio).
If you want to record a meeting, choose to record your microphone (your voice) and the system sound.
If you want to record an online presentation or video, choose to ignore your microphone and record only the system sound.
Current Version: 1.4.0 (October 31, 2020)
KeyBell - Typing loud feedback (macOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
You will fall in love with this utility app. KeyBell plays a relaxing and nostalgic mechanical sound every time you type something on your keyboard.
You can choose from multiple sound profiles, including modern ones and the app stays in the background without ever interrupting you from your workflow.
It works on your entire Mac, on all apps, including Mail, Office, Pages, Notes or browsers.
It's perfect if you write a lot on your computer because the sound feedback gives you a productivity boost and you will want to type even more. It's designed for journalists, writers, bloggers, programmers or anyone who wants to change the boring and silent keyboards.
Current Version: 2.2.0 (October 8, 2020)
Phone Play (for iPhone & iPad) (macOS, US$4.99)
With Phone Play you can mirror your device, listen to music, play games on big computer screens and record media from your iPhone and iPad.
Connect to your computer with a lightning cable and transform your device into a music player, a gamepad or joystick, a recording device. Show demos, read documents, view photos, enjoy Youtube movies. All on big computer screens.
Current Version: 1.2.0 (October 11, 2020)
Viskey (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Viskey is the Visible Keyboard
With large text preview and good contrast, Viskey lets you leave your reading glasses in your pocket. You can pinch zoom the preview.
Viskey is an easy to use accessible keyboard that doesn't sacrifice modern features. It offers spelling support, auto-correction and auto-capitalization. You can use cursor keys to review existing text in larger type.
- Text preview with size adjustment for all text fields.
- Cursor keys, tap to move by character, hold space and tap to move by word.
- Spell Check
- Auto-Correction, adds corrected words to user dictionary
- System Shortcuts
- User Dictionary
- Configurable black on white
- Optional key popup with big font
Current Version: 3.2 (November 27, 2020)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Bright Guide - messenger (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Bright Guide is a convenient messenger designed specifically for blind people and working with the Voice Over screen access program. The Bright Guide application allows you to send text and voice messages, images and documents, as well as subscribe to popular channels in Telegram.
In the interface of the Bright Guide application, all the buttons are conveniently located, there are no extra headers and not always necessary notifications, which are often found when using Voice Over.
Current Version: 1.1.3 (November 13, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.1.3
Dear users of Bright Guide, we have released an update, in which not only new useful options have appeared, but also some changes have been made to make the application more convenient to use:
- Added option "Mark chat as read";
- Added option "Add to favourites";
- Added automatic playback of voice notes;
- Added the ability to send a voice note by a double tap in the message list;
- Changed the logic of the voice notes: now the recording begins immediately after opening this screen.
Clew (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Clew is an AR indoor navigation app designed for visually impaired users to help them retrace their steps in unfamiliar environments.
Current Version: 1.4.1 (November 12, 2020)
Changes in Version 1.4.1
We have added support for recording voice notes along routes. While recording the route, there is a new button which will bring up an voice recorder. Once you finish recording your voice note, the note will play whenever you are close to the location that you made the recording.
Some potential uses of this feature are:
- Adding reminders about important landmarks in the environment (to help with navigation).
- Adding reminders about important features of the environment (e..g, locations of bathrooms or water fountains along a route).
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: 2.3.5 (November 30, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.3.4-2.3.5
- Column Detection - From this update on, Envision can recognize columns and speak out text in the correct order. So if you’re looking to read magazine articles or ebooks with column layouts then this will be a huge step forward! The column detection feature is turned on by default but you can always turn it off, if required, in the Help Tab.
- We’ve fixed a bug that prevented Twitterific users from sharing images using ‘Envision It’.
- We also have a new section in the Help Tab called ‘What’s New’ to help you keep up to date on the latest and greatest features, fixes and improvements within the Envision app.
- Translate - With Envision you can translate documents you scan or import into the app! Envision will automatically detect the language of the page and translate these documents entirely offline in over 50 languages.
- We've also updated translations for many languages. Thanks once again to all our Ambassadors and Translators.
Weather Gods (iOS/iPadOS, US$4.99)
Meet the Gods: Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon delivering you the Weather as you have never experienced it before. Weather Gods redefines the weather app with painstakingly crafted data visualizations, procedural graphics and audio that enable you to literally see, hear and feel the weather. With no more weather icons to decode, the Weather Gods is simply the quickest, most engaging, most enjoyable way to get the accurate weather information you need.
The Weather Gods skillfully integrates premium weather data into an elegant, iOS Exclusive, easy-to-use interface that will delight casual users and weather enthusiasts alike.
With a wealth of rich weather data from the world’s most respected providers, the Weather Gods provide detailed site-based forecasts for over a million locations worldwide. Our advanced, next-generation notifications are easy to setup and bring you exactly the information you want right when you need it.
Current Version: 2.5.3 (November 17, 2020)
Changes in Version 2.5.2
- iOS14 widgets, small, medium and large. Support for multiple locations for each widget type. The widgets use our weather highlights algorithm which has proved popular on the Apple Watch. We bring you timely weather highlights just when you need them and includes sun and moon information as well.
- Tweaks and bug fixes to the watch complications.
- Bug fixes and performance improvements.
Recent News and Views
My Early Christmas Gifts
By Paul Martz | November 30, 2020
I found a cure for the pandemic lockdown blues. Online shopping. I started clicking the buy button back in early November, bogging down Safari with megabytes of product page HTTP cookies. But after buying gifts for my spouse and grandson, I found it difficult to stop.
I felt a sudden urge to buy the iPhone SE 2020. I mean, that iPhone XR stretching the lining of my pocket just seemed so heavy. And how could I sleep at night knowing I could never upgrade my 2012 MacBook Pro to Big Sur? Clearly, it was time for a new Mac.
As a result, Christmas came early for me. I may not have bought the latest cutting edge tamales, but I got what I wanted, and I don't have to wait for 25 December to play with my new Apple toys.
Think Dainty: The iPhone 12 mini Kicks Butt
By Morgan Watkins | November 30, 2020
For years, my early childhood only included me and my younger sister. We lived with our parents near Lake Michigan in a small Indiana town. We enjoyed the temperate summers and were buried in snow each winter. It was an idyllic time, nary a care, just us two little kids being adorable.
In the second half of 1958, life morphed in a new direction. My Mom began to expand. She had always been tall, slim and athletic, but now she waddled about with what appeared to be a watermelon hidden beneath her clothes. We learned that Mom was growing babies, not just one, but two. And, as predicted, early the next year, Mom disappeared for a few days and returned with a little brother and a little sister. They were really cute and really small, but they could not do as much as bigger kids.
After a memorable blizzard in late 1960, my father moved us all to California, only 27 miles from Disneyland. We visited the park many, many times. While I could run alone to the Matterhorn bobsled ride, the twins were pushed around in their stroller. When another sister appeared in 1963, she was likewise hampered. While the little ones remained restrained, I was off to "Mister Toad's Wild Ride." I could go everywhere and do anything. My size, agility and speed were my natural advantage. Lesson learned? Bigger was better.
Six months before the first lunar landing, my Dad accepted another job, this time in Houston, Texas. So, we moved again. What a culture shock! As a young outsider from California, I had to quickly adopt the local vernacular if I was ever going to fit in. I began to use words like "Y'all," "Daggum" and "Howdy." My survival instincts dictated that I quickly abandon some West Coast cliches such as "That's beautiful!" and "Far out!" Some words, like "Dainty" were never incorporated into my new Texas lexicon. In fact, until this writing, I don't believe I have ever even typed that word.
Beginning with my first blog for AppleVis in August 2015, I have encouraged people to "Think Small." Sometimes, small can be a huge advantage. For example, computers need not tie you to a secured machine room, an office desk, or fry your lap while sitting in a chair. In my humble opinion, an ideal computer should fit in your pocket, giving you access to the world, providing you with a platform to be creative, and keeping you entertained while waiting out, let's say, a global pandemic.
The iPhone 12 Mini: My thoughts and experiences so far
By Dave Nason | November 22, 2020
In 2020, Apple has given consumers the widest ever selection of iPhones to choose from. From the 2nd generation iPhone SE with its legacy home button design and a 4.7 inch screen, to the four new iPhone 12 models which range from 5.4 inches to a massive 6.7 inches, there really should be something in the line up to suit everyone’s preferences.
Why the 12 Mini?
I won’t recap all of the ins and outs of the various options here, but I will say that from the earliest rumours through to the actual announcement last month, my interest was very much peaked by the iPhone 12 Mini. I’ve been using iPhones since the 3GS back in 2010, with my favourites probably being that 3GS itself, the 5S and the 7. In 2014, intrigued by the idea of a bigger screen, I plumped for the iPhone 6+ with its 5.5 inch display. I can honestly say that it is the only iPhone I have ever owned which I actively disliked. It was just far too big and clunky for my taste, and all but impossible to operate one-handed. It was a blessed relief when I downsized a year later to the 4.7 inch iPhone 6s. I took the leap to the newly designed iPhone X in 2017. While it was marginally larger and noticeably heavier, it was within tolerable levels. The iPhone 11 grew a little more, still very usable but getting into uncomfortable territory, but I did like the full edge to edge display, so a switch to the iPhone SE was never really on the cards for me. I prefer the modern edge to edge displays both because I have some limited sight remaining, and because I find the likes of the status bar and the dock at the top and bottom of the phone easier to locate. This is because essentially, the whole front of the device is screen.
I immediately thought therefore that the iPhone 12 Mini offered the chance of a return to the smaller, sleeker design I like, without giving up that modern full screen display. In fact, it’s amazing to think that the Mini’s 5.4 inch display is almost as large as the display on that iPhone 6+ I had disliked so much. If you’d asked me a year ago, I’d have told you that I was very unlikely to upgrade again in 2020. This is because there’s simply no real need to upgrade on a yearly basis these days from a performance perspective. Even after the announcement of the Mini, as interested as I was, I struggled to make my mind up. In the end though, I found I couldn’t resist.
The New Features, Changes, Improvements, and Bugs in macOS 11 Big Sur for Blind and Low Vision Users
By Tyler | November 12, 2020
Apple has today released macOS 11 Big Sur to the public. As usual, we won’t cover the mainstream features here, concentrating instead on what's new and changed for blind and low vision users. For an overview of the mainstream changes, we recommend that you read this in-depth review by MacStories.
Please remember to check the section about bugs to see if now is the right time to upgrade. There’s no harm in holding off a few weeks or months to let Apple address a problem you may find too disruptive to deal with.
A note to braille users: the AppleVis team members doing testing with Big Sur are not heavy braille users. We have no information as to how well braille works in this release, so please keep this in mind when upgrading. If you are a braille user and have any experience with macOS Big Sur and braille, please do post your findings in the comments.
Changes for Blind and Low Vision Users
Last year there were some interesting–and potentially powerful–enhancements for blind and low vision users to VoiceOver and Zoom in macOS Catalina. This year, macOS Big Sur brings fewer changes and a handful of bug fixes.
Picking Apart Apple's "One More Thing" Announcements
By mehgcap | November 11, 2020
Today, Apple held what is probably its final live event of the year: "One More Thing". True to its title, this announcement consisted of one thing: the M1, Apple's first custom chip, and the new Macs that will be powered by it.
If you regularly read my summary articles, you'll know that I'm not afraid to editorialize a bit. Well, be ready for more of that than usual. I'll tell you what Apple said, as well as some details other media outlets have found since the big announcement. I'll also be explaining what I feel was absent from what Apple told us, and why, more than almost any other Apple product launch I can think of, you should wait for the reviews before you buy one of these Macs. Oh, and remember that all the numbers given are what was claimed by Apple. No one in the world outside of Cupertino can verify any of this.
We're going to be talking about processors a lot, because that was the focus of today's event. It's important that we cover some terms first, so you know what's going on.
When I talk about a "chip", I'm referring to what's known as an SoC, or system on a chip. This refers to a set of components that are all housed on a single piece of metal. The M1 chip is an SoC, because it houses two types of CPU core, graphics cores, neural engine cores, the security enclave for Touch ID and encryption, and other bits and pieces. Often, such a setup is called a processor, even if that's arguably not correct. As you read, remember that the M1 (which I might call a chip, processor, or SoC) is basically the brain of the Mac, and handles all the math the computer has to run in order to do anything. Parts of the M1 are made for specific tasks, which is why there are three types of core.
By contrast, the Intel chips that power the Macs you might be used to are less complex. Most of them include CPU and graphics cores, but that's it. There is no neural engine, and the security chip is separate from the Intel chip.
Other Apple News
- Apple Releases iOS 14.2.1 for iPhone 12
- Apple Releases iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2; Bringing Many Bug Fixes for VoiceOver and Braille Users
- Apple Releases watchOS 7.1, tvOS 14.2, macOS Catalina 10.15.7 Supplemental Update, and New 14.2 Software for HomePod
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed November 2020: That's His 5G Voice
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:
- iPhone 12 Pro demand is so high Apple is taking parts from iPads to keep up
- iPhone 12 Pro Component Breakdown Reveals It Costs Apple $406 to Make
- iPhone 12 mini reviews: A small and powerful phone, but battery life is questionable
- iPhone 12 mini's MagSafe Peak Charging Speed Limited to 12W
- Apple is rumored to make its own mmWave 5G modem for 2021 iPhone and iPad Pro models
- MagSafe Duo charger really costs $180, not $129
An Overview of Some of the New Features in MacOS Big Sur
In this podcast, Tyler Stephen shows us an overview of some of the new features in MacOS Big Sur.
AppleVis Extra 79: Recapping Apple's "One More Thing" November 2020 Event
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason, Tyler Stephen, and Ed Worrell get together to discuss Apple's "One More Thing" event.
This month's podcasts from Thomas Domville
- How to Use Your Apple Watch to Find Your iPhone
- How to Use People Detection on iOS
- How to manually manage 5G to optimize for speed or battery life on iOS
- Put on your Detective Hat with A Detective's Demise for iOS
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:
- To AirPods Pro or not to AirPods Pro?
- Apple Watch SE Review. My Very First Smartwatch
- M1 Macs and VoiceOver - My Findings So Far
- Infovox voices don't work on Big Sur
- Announcing CrimeHunter 2.0, my new game for Mac OS and Windows!
- Logic Pro 10.6 is out! Here are the latest Accessibility improvements
- Seeking VoiceOver accessibility compliance testers for the Head Shadow hearing aid iPhone app
- Jumpy Cat Fitness Coach now comes with a daily workout reminder with snooze, 10 times faster workout creation, and better audio guidance. Would love your feedback!
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 continues to remain safe and healthy in these difficult times.
The AppleVis Editorial Team