Welcome to the December 2021 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly newsletter 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
Adventures of Karna (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Adventures of Karna by UNAR Labs, is a series of free and fully accessible trivia game that is inclusively designed to support both sighted and visually-impaired users.
The app harnesses the power of Midlina - an AI-based platform, which is the core product of UNAR Labs. Midlina enables multimodal access to otherwise visual information on digital media and makes it accessible to users with visual impairments.
This version of our app, i.e., Episode–1, is a research effort from UNAR Labs to understand how multisensory cues can be used to provide graphical access to people with visual-impairments. Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables visually-impaired users to feel and hear the visual/graphical images (e.g., paths and locations on a map) through a combination of haptics (touch), audio, and kinesthesis.
As our research progresses, Midlina will constantly evolve, and we will be adding more features to this app. We will also be releasing new applications powered by Midlina, for enabling equal access in education, for navigation, to enhance productivity, and for fun.
Current Version: 2.2 (January 22, 2021)
SM Music Reader (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
SM Music Reader is a free and fully accessible app for everyone to read scores written in MusicXML format. It supports drawing the score, playing and reading with screen reader like Voiceover, so both sighted and blind users can exchange the same score at the same time. The app is connected to Sao Mai online music library with thousands of MusicXML scores.
SM Music Reader currently provides the following features:
- Read music files written in MusicXML format,
- Draw sheet music for exchanging scores among both sighted people and people with visual impairment at the same time,
- Play MIDI files:
- Support reading with screen readers:
o Speak in order of by voice (horizontal) and by timestamp (vertically),
- Braille music translation
- Navigate to a certain bar or line,
- Set bookmarks,
- Manage your favorite lists and view the file’s details,
- Access Sao Mai music sharing library,
Current Version: 1.0 (December 2, 2021)
TweeseCake (macOS, Free)
TweeseCake is a light-weight, multi-purpose, robust software suite. It can either be controlled entirely without a window, or from a handy easy to use UI! Some highlights include:
- Supports Twitter and Telegram.
- Allows you to navigate your file system without ever bringing up a window, or in a very fast, no fuss window.
- Customizable global keyboard shortcuts.
- Very light on system resources.
- Customizable soundpacks.
- And a lot more!
Current Version: 0.8.2
Twitterrific: Tweet Your Way (macOS, US$7.99)
Re-imagined from the ground up to be the Mac’s most friendly, powerful and modern Twitter client. Twitterrific makes Twitter fun.
- A clean, uncluttered timeline featuring just the content you care about. Tweets are presented in chronological order and other people’s likes aren’t placed in your timeline.
- Twitterrific feels right at home on the Mac. Support for Notification Center, Retina displays, built-in sharing, beautiful animations, full-screen mode & more.
- Take control of your tweets with multiple timeline windows from the same account or multiple accounts, all organized on your Mac’s desktop.
- Navigate the timeline, compose tweets, and even attach image descriptions quickly and easily using Voice Over.
- Twitterrific’s appearance panel supports themes, lets you customize fonts & type sizes, and even lets you control how media appears in the timeline.
- Whether you use Twitterrific on your iPhone, iPad, or another Mac, the app automatically syncs your reading position for a seamless Twitter experience.
Current Version: 5.4.8 (August 31, 2021)
VIP Code Reader (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
This QR and barcode scanner was designed with the needs of Visually Impaired People (VIP) in mind. Under the default settings, a radar-like sound rings when opening the application’s camera. The scanner is able to detect any QR code or barcode that is present in the camera’s field of vision. As soon as a code is detected, the application redirects the user to the corresponding webpage.
Using this application, VIPs can easily scan any 2-cm (or larger) code present on printed matter and listen to the contents using VoiceOver technology.
Current Version: 2.4.1 (May 8, 2019)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
BC4000 - Civilization Model (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
The BC4000 app is a turn-based strategy game. You take on the role of the ruler of a civilization, attempt to build an empire in competition with other civilizations. The game begins in 4000 BC, before the Bronze Age, and can last through to AD 2100 with Space Age.
Along with the larger tasks of exploration, warfare and diplomacy, you have to make decisions about where to build new cities, which improvements or units to build in each city, when to expand your empire by new settlers, and how to transform the land surrounding the cities for maximum benefit. From time to time your cities may be harassed by units from other nations or barbarians. You should protect borders and maintain zones of control.
You can gain a large advantage if your civilization is the first to learn a particular technology and put it to use in a military or other context. Since only one technology may be researched at any given time, the order in which technologies are chosen makes a considerable difference in the outcome of the game and generally reflects your preferred style of gameplay. Please carefully consider about forms of government, tax rates and research priorities.
You can also build Wonders of the World after obtaining the prerequisite knowledge. These wonders are important achievements of society, science, culture and defense, ranging from the Pyramids and the Great Wall in the Ancient age, to Copernicus’ Observatory and Magellan’s Expedition in the middle period, up to the Apollo program in the modern era. Each wonder can only be built once in the world, and requires a lot of resources to build, far more than most other city buildings or units. Wonders provide unique benefits to the controlling civilization. For example, Magellan’s Expedition increases the movement rate of naval units.
The game can be won by conquering all other civilizations or by winning the space race by reaching the star system of Alpha Centauri.
Current Version: 1.3.3 (December 31, 2021)
Changes in December
Numerous improvements to add and enhance VoiceOver support - along with many new features and improvements to the game.
Mint: Budget & Expense Tracker (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchase)
Experience a fresh way to manage money. Reach your goals with personalized insights, custom budgets, spend tracking, and subscription monitoring—all for free. Easily see your monthly bills, set goals, and build stronger financial habits. Get the #1 personal finance and budgeting app now*.
Mint is the money management app that brings together all of your finances. From balances and budgets to credit health and financial goals, your money essentials are now in one place. Join the 24 million users that trust Mint to help them reach their goals.
Current Version: 150.53.0 (December 20, 2021)
Changes in Version 150.53.0
- This version includes accessibility improvements for navigating the app with VoiceOver.
Seeing AI (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.
Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:
- Short Text - Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
- Documents - Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
- Products - Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
- People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
- Scenes (early preview) - Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
- Currency - Recognizes currency notes. (Requires iOS 11)
- Color - Identifies color.
- Handwriting - Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
- Light - Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
- Images in other apps - Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.
- Photo browsing experience - Describes photos on your phone
Current Version: 4.2.3 (December 22, 2021)
Changes in Version 4.2
- Seeing AI is now available in Korean, Norwegian, and Russian.
- The Handwriting channel is now available in French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.
- The Currency channel can now additionally recognize Australian Dollars, Indonesian Rupiah, Malaysian Ringgit, Mexican Pesos, New Zealand Dollars, Nigerian Naira, Pakistani Rupees, Philippine Pesos, and Singapore Dollars.
- Plus, various bug fixes under the hood.
Voice Dream Scanner (iOS/iPadOS, US$5.99)
Scan paper documents, labels, signs with the camera and recognize text. Listen using built-in text-to-speech. Save and export. Unlimited use: no subscriptions or additional charges.
State-of-the-art A.I. for OCR and text recognition: Fast and accurate, even in poor lighting conditions. Works entirely on device: No need for internet and your data stays private.
Recognizes text in the following languages: Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
ScanTone, a sound that represents the amount of recognizable text in the camera’s field of view in real time. It uses artificial intelligence to analyze the live feed from the camera for text, angle, rotation, and document edges.
Exports scans as plain text or accessible PDF with embedded text. Works with Voice Dream Reader, our full-featured text-to-speech reader. Sends scanned documents directly to Reader.
Current Version: 1.4.2 (December 17, 2021)
Changes in Version 1.4.0
- Voice Dream can now recognize multi-column documents and order the text correctly. Also, Chinese is now supported for the built-in OCR Scanner. To recognize Chinese, set it explicitly in settings rather than using “Auto-Detect”.
- Minor enhancements and bug fixes.
Recent News and Views
The AppleVis Community Names Backpack Studio and Swordy Quest Its Golden Apples of 2021
By AppleVis | December 13, 2021
We are pleased to announce that the winners of the tenth annual AppleVis Golden Apple Awards are Backpack Studio and Swordy Quest.
Since their launch in 2012, the AppleVis Golden Apple Awards have afforded blind and low vision users of Apple products an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge the hard work and dedication which developers have put into making and maintaining great and accessible applications over the given year. The respective teams behind Backpack Studio and Swordy Quest are demonstrably worthy recipients of this honour in 2021 for their commitment to accessible app development.
Backpack Studio enables you to create professional sounding podcasts and radio from anywhere using only an iPhone or iPad. The app records, mixes, and masters your podcast or radio show in real time, thus reducing post-production time and work. Its developer cites full VoiceOver support for vision impaired audio producers as one of Backpack Studio’s main features.
Swordy Quest is an addictive RPG adventure game based in the fantasy realm of Shiremore. Players must craft, gather, hunt, and fight their way through the open world environment as they strive to achieve their goal of saving humanity. Its developer has actively engaged with our community - answering questions about the game, wanting to know people’s favourite aspect of the game, asking if people like or loathed a game update, and seeking feedback on further enhancements for blind and low vision players.
- Apple Releases iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2; Bringing Apple Music Voice Plan, App Privacy Report, New Safety Features, and Bug Fixes
- Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.1, watchOS 8.3, and tvOS 15.2
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:
- URGENT! MAJOR bluetooth bug with iOS 15.2
- Introducing OKO, mobile APS that fits in your pocket
- introducing Chinese Chess (VIP)
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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 wish you all good health and happiness in 2022.
The AppleVis Editorial Team