Welcome to the March 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.
New and Noteworthy App Entries
Blind Quest 2 (iOS/iPadOS, US$5.99)
In this stand-alone adventure, “THE FROST DEMON”, you will guide Nathan the mercenary in a NEW ADVENTURE in the world of Aetherna.
Nathan arrives in the prosperous Willow City in search of wealth and glory, but soon realizes that the city is besieged by evil.
The Frost Demon is freezing the Willow City, only Nathan can save its people!
Explore new locations! From the rich Willow City to a volcanic island and an abbey invaded by a dark cult!
This new adventure will have 70 new maps in 7 different scenarios to explore and interact with!
Fight new monsters and try to slay Killyus the Frost Demon. His ice magic has frozen the whole island. Try to kill him to make the region thrive again!
Current Version: 1.0 (March 10, 2023)
feeeed (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
you spend hours scrolling feeds all day. shouldn’t YOU be in control of what you see, rather than some algorithm?
with feeeed, you can build your own news feed, on your own terms:
- subscribe to any website, using RSS, Twitter or just seeing a copy of their website in your feed
- see local weather, or flashbacks from your photo library
- subscribe to communities from reddit, tiktok profiles, or newsletters from your gmail
- add your own custom reminders, or flashcards
- see your step count for the day, and your progress towards 10k steps. (powered by an optional integration with the Health)
it’s 100% private and on-device (no servers, no accounts, nothing leaves your device). don’t worry — it’s still as fast, smooth and addicting as your favorite Mark Zuckerberg app. it includes a built-in reader mode and reading list. it’s fast!
Current Version: 1.6 (March 25, 2023)
Magic Research (iOS/iPadOS, US$3.99)
In Magic Research, you are the headmaster of a newly-created institution of Magic with one goal: to learn as much as possible about this power and get enough fame to be able to compete, and win, the prestigious competition of schools: the Tournament of Magic. But what will you discover along the way?
- Cast over a hundred different spells with various effects
- Research magic in various magical schools to discover new, surprising ways to use this power
- Accumulate resources and build the school campus
- Manage a team of researchers and apprentices to lead your school to fame
- Discover tons of hidden new features - when will you unlock the next one?
- Find over six dozen secret storylines with permanent, game-altering effects
- Restart the game and make faster progress each time with retirement bonuses
- Optimized both for iPhone and iPad
- No ads!
Current Version: 1.8.1 (March 28, 2023)
OKO - AI copilot for the blind (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Reach your destination effortlessly.
OKO is a smart(*) camera app that helps you explore your surroundings with real-time feedback. With it, you can know the state of the pedestrian traffic light.
At an intersection, the pedestrian traffic light function gives you the state of the pedestrian light by playing haptics and audio feedback, similar to a physical APS system.
OKO is closely co-developed with blind and visually impaired users.
Current Version: 2.5.0 (March 15, 2023)
Purple Friday (iOS/iPadOS, US$4.99)
Time travel to the futuristic 80s with hilarious characters and binaural sound! Solve puzzles in this immersive mobile audio game adventure. Get it now!
Welcome to Purple Friday, the immersive mobile audio game adventure that will take you on a thrilling journey through sound! Get ready to embark on an unforgettable experience that will transport you to a world of mystery, danger, and excitement. With an emphasis on audio, Purple Friday is the perfect game for users who are blind sighted or vision impaired, as it allows them to enjoy the game just as much as sighted players.
With Purple Friday, you’ll get to experience the cutting-edge technology of binaural audio, which simulates sound as it would be heard in real life, creating a truly immersive experience that will make you feel like you’re right in the heart of the action. This means you’ll be able to hear every creak, every whisper, every footstep, and every breath in stunning, crystal-clear detail.
But that’s not all – we’ve also made sure that interacting with the game is a breeze. With simple swipe gestures, you’ll be able to explore the rich and detailed environments, uncover hidden clues and objects, and interact with the game’s cast of characters in a way that feels natural and intuitive.
Speaking of characters, Purple Friday features a professional voice cast that brings the game’s world to life with their incredible performances. From the mysterious femme fatale to the quirky sidekick, every character is fully realized and voiced with the utmost care and attention to detail, making them feel like real people that you’ll come to care about throughout your journey.
And with over 700 sound assets at your fingertips, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the rich and detailed worlds of Purple Friday like never before. From exploring an isolated mysterious island, climbing to the snowy top of the mountain, delving inside the belly of a whale, or venturing to a place between time and space, every environment is meticulously crafted to transport you to a new and exciting location. And with binaural audio technology, you’ll feel like you’re right there in the middle of the action, with every sound bringing the game’s world to life in stunning, crystal-clear detail.
SoundEcho (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
SoundEcho, the challenging and accessible memory game!
SoundEcho is a memory game with sounds, that is easy to operate and is fully accessible by means of VoiceOver. Not only blind and poor sighted players, but also sighted players will really have fun playing SoundEcho.
The purpose of the game is easy. Spread across the screen you find buttons with a letter, digit or smiley on them. When you click on a button, you hear a sound. If you press two buttons successively and you get the same sound, these buttons will disappear and you found the particular sound. Try to find all sounds with as few clicks as possible.
You can choose between animal sounds and computer sounds and look for 10, 15 or 20 sounds.
SoundEcho integrates Game Center, so you can compare scores, track your achievements and can play against each other with 2 to 4 players real-time.
Current Version: 1.3 (March 23, 2023)
Tot Pocket (iOS/iPadOS, US$19.99)
Tot is an elegant, simple way to collect & edit text across your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. It’s your tiny text companion!
- Less Is More; Tot’s single window design and simple formatting controls mean no more hunting for that chunk of text. Seven color-coded dots let you organize your notes while keeping them from getting out of hand.
- Dark / Light Mode: Designed to look stunning both day and night, Tot takes full advantage of iOS and macOS themes.
- Small Footprint: Stays out of the way on the desktop with minimal chrome and can even be controlled via the Menu bar. On mobile, each dot is just a swipe away.
- iCloud Sync: Seamlessly syncs your text across iOS and macOS using iCloud so you can capture thoughts wherever you are.
- Markdown Support: Full support for rich or plain text and even automatically translates text to Markdown for handy use on the web. Have an RTF file you need marked up? No problem!
- Killer Keyboard: Tot puts common text operations on the keyboard and keeps track of word and character counts as you type.
Available for iOS, macOS, and watchOS.
Current Version: 1.5.2 (February 15, 2023)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Baby Adopter Pro (iOS/iPadOS, US$5.99)
Baby Adopter Pro is a much faster, easier and ad-free standalone version of the Baby Adopter game!
Baby Adopter is a babysitting, nursery and dress up game for people who love to take care of little babies.
Works on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch.
Adopt and feed a cute little baby!
Feed, buy clothes, shoes and toys and take care.
Current Version: 4.11.1 (March 9, 2023)
Changes in Version 4.11.1
Hello! In this release we made many fixes and improvements to the Free Cell mini-game. Free Cell mini-game now fully supports VoiceOver. We made additional fixes and improvements. Enjoy :)
For VoiceOver users playing Free Cell mini-game. To move a card you need to choose it by a single tap. Then double tap to initiate the movement. It would be our movement’s origin. Then choose any destination place by tapping it. The destination could be another deal stack card or one of 4 free spaces or one of 4 completed stacks. After choosing the destination - double tap it to move the card we initiated by a double tap earlier. This way we can move either a single card or a group of cards from a deal stack. To move a group of cards we need to choose not the last card on the deal stack.
Castro Podcast Player (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Castro is a beautiful, full-featured podcast player that makes it easy to track and manage lots of podcasts at the same time. Only listen to the episodes you want and easily skip the rest, queue up hours of podcasts at a time and enjoy a seamless listening experience with carplay compatibility, chapter support, trim silence and much, much more!
HOW IT WORKS
- New episodes land in the NEW tab. Read their descriptions, add episodes you like to your QUEUE, and clear the rest.
- Press play to listen to episodes from your QUEUE in order. Queued episodes are downloaded automatically.
- Re-order your QUEUE to plan your next few hours of listening at any time. Browse your LIBRARY to review the back catalogue, quickly access starred shows, and see your listening history.
Subscribing to a podcast is no longer a commitment to listen to every episode. You don’t have to manage a huge list of subscriptions or choose a few shows and miss the rest.
Current Version: 2023.3 (March 17, 2023)
Changes in Version 2023.3
- Added accessibility for Inbox and Queue,
- Fixed pull to refresh for podcast episode listing,
- Fixed grid item cell arrangement for plus devices,
- Fixed duplicate shows and categories issues,
- Minor UI Fixes.
Dolphin EasyReader (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
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: 10.0.4 (March 3, 2023)
Changes in Version 10.0.4
- NEW: EasyReader Premium. EasyReader Premium subscribers can now open and read text-based PDFs in the Reader. Once open, PDFs can be read in their original layout or in a text-only view for a more accessible experience.
- NEW: DAISY 2.02 text and audio books: Improvements have been made to the way annotations, footnotes are block quotes are displayed in the Reader.
- NEW: RNIB Reading Services. The audio speed can now be adjusted in the Reader for all audio books downloaded from RNIB Reading Services.
- NEW: Bookshare Ireland. A new login system has been made available for logging in to Bookshare Ireland.
- FIX: RNIB Reading services. Fix to prevent the audio from distorting after adjusting the voice speed on a small selection of audio books from RNIB Reading Services.
Ice Cubes: for Mastodon (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Ice Cubes is a fast, reliable and beautiful Mastodon client.
You can connect to any Mastodon instance and use the various features this app offer.
- Browse your home, federated and local timeline
- Push notifications.
- Favorite, boost, share, and even quote any toot!
- Great iPad support with a column dedicated to notifications
- You’ve read it right, this app offer a quote toot feature, Ice Cubes will also embed any other toot link so the content is easily readable.
- Organize your timeline with lists, add and remove users from lists, create new lists!
- Filter your timeline by your lists, followed tags and more.
- The timeline is also live, this app is connected to the powerful streaming API of Mastodon so you won’t miss any content!
- You can even pin other instance local timelines, you can keep up with all your communities from the same account.
- Explore, search and discover new content with a powerful explore tab.
- Dedicated tab for your direct message.
- Multi accounts support and easy switch between your accounts.
- A lot of customisation options.
- AI Tools Integration, you can get a little help from your AI friend when composing your toot, it can help you correct your text or even shorten it!
- And much more to discover within the app.
Current Version: 1.6.12 (March 30, 2023)
Changes in March
There were several releases in March which brought too many new features and changes to mention here. However, of specific note is the enhanced user experience for VoiceOver users. In fact, the release notes succinctly capture this by stating: “Accessibility enhancements all around the app.”
The Salt Keep (iOS/iPadOS, US$4.99)
A novel-length text adventure (RPG meets CYOA) full of mystery and danger. Make choices and explore as you struggle to survive in a world of medieval fantasy and horror.
The Salt Keep is a text adventure (think interactive fiction with Choose Your Own Adventure and RPG mechanics) and should feel familiar to fans of classic gamebooks and fantasy fiction in general.
Set in a high fantasy world with low fantasy stakes, the character-driven story of The Salt Keep follows a struggling merchant named Doyle who stumbles into a life-or-death mystery. During the last legs of a months-long journey as a traveling salesman, Doyle stops in the seemingly deserted village of Cardwyke to meet a friend who has promised to help keep him financially afloat, but what he finds is even more dangerous than the crushing weight of debt.
The world of The Salt Keep should be familiar to any fan of fantasy — it has breastplates, and swords, and other fun stuff like that — but is shaped by the vaguely industrial and creeping decline of feudalism. Sprawling merchant conglomerates and faceless business structures pull the levers of power as much as the dukes and knights.
Current Version: 1.0.9 (March 7, 2023)
Changes in Version 1.0.9
- Added better button labeling for screen readers
- Added a setting to disable fade transitions (off by default)
- Fixed visual errors for certain options when “Bigger Text” is selected
Weather Gods (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
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: 4.0.0 (March 12, 2023)
Changes in Version 4.0.0
- Lock Screen Widgets: Display weather highlights, conditions, air quality and more on the Lock Screen. All widgets fully accessible. Included in the Extended Forecast subscription.
- VoiceOver Smart Conditions: Get a prioritized and detailed weather forecast on the Lock Screen.
- Widget Improvements: Precise temperature, chart legends and smarter VoiceOver labelling. All widgets have had a graphical overhaul.
- Weather Highlights: The Weather Highlight Widget on the Lock or Home Screen can tell you when there are strong winds.
- Watch App: Water and Ice God timelines now display the temperature. Many VoiceOver improvements throughout the Watch App.
Recent News and Views
Be My Eyes Unveils New Virtual Volunteer With Advanced Visual Recognition Capabilities Powered by OpenAI’s GPT–4
By AppleVis | March 15, 2023
The Be My Eyes app is set to gain a new feature called the Virtual Volunteer, powered by OpenAI’s recently announced GPT–4 model. This new tool has the potential to be a game changer for people with visual impairments, providing a virtual sighted assistant that can generate context and understanding for images in the same way as a human volunteer can.
Be My Eyes has been providing technology for the blind and low-vision community since 2012, connecting users with volunteers for assistance with everyday tasks like navigating airports and identifying products. The new feature, which uses GPT–4’s visual input capability, will allow the app to offer an even greater degree of independence to users and expand the use cases for the app.
Michael Buckley, CEO of Be My Eyes, stated that “in the short time we’ve had access, we have seen unparalleled performance to any image-to-text object recognition tool out there,” and added that “the implications for global accessibility are profound. In the not so distant future, the blind and low vision community will utilize these tools not only for a host of visual interpretation needs, but also to have a greater degree of independence in their lives.”
The difference between GPT–4 and other language and machine learning models is both the ability to have a conversation and the greater degree of analytical prowess offered by the technology. Basic image recognition applications can only identify what’s in front of them, while GPT–4 can extrapolate, analyze, and understand context, allowing it to offer much more comprehensive assistance.
One of the most exciting aspects of the Virtual Volunteer feature is its ability to offer instantaneous visual assistance for a wide variety of tasks. In a give example, users can send an image of the contents of their fridge to the tool, which will then not only identify what’s in the fridge, but also suggest recipes that can be prepared with those ingredients.
Accessibility Issues That Must Not Be Named
By PaulMartz | March 1, 2023
Whether on my iPhone or my Mac, I encounter accessibility issues pretty much daily.
Yes, much of it is the usual—mouse-centric controls, unlabeled buttons, and images without ALT text—commonplace issues that have been highlighted for years. I don’t want to minimize these issues, but I view them as minor. They are well-known. They have names. We can talk about them in discussions with developers. Free utilities are readily available to help find them.
It’s the accessibility issues without names that keep me up at night. Problems that we never discuss because the English language has no words for them. They are the Lord Voldemort of accessibility issues. They are Issues That Must Not Be Named.
Naming something is a powerful tool. It shines the light of critical observation on a thing that we knew was there all along but hovered just beyond conscious thought. With Global Accessibility Day (GAAD) coming up in two months, I thought I should describe and name these unmentionable accessibility problems.
Once christened with names, these bugs seem much less intimidating. Fingers crossed, maybe W3C will add them to a future WCAG revision.
- Apple Releases iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 With New Emoji, Bug Fixes, Security Updates, and More
- Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.3, watchOS 9.4, and tvOS 16.4
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed March 2023: Missing in Action
Ahead of this month’s episode, we have some upsetting news to share with the AppleVis community. Recently, Randy Rusnak suffered a stroke. Randy is a beloved member of our Unleashed team, known for his warm and engaging personality. During his recovery, we will greatly miss his presence. We ask that you join us in sending Randy your well wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.
This month, in Randy’s absence, Darcy Burnard, a member of the Maccessibility team, joins regular Unleashed hosts Thomas Domville and Mike Malarsie to discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest.
Topics featured in this episode include:
- Special Announcement
- Apple Vision Accessibility: the AppleVis Report Card
- Apple’s Spring Event went Missing in Action
- Apple Music Classical App is Here
- Apple introduces Shop with a Specialist over Video
- Be My Eyes Announces New Tool Powered by OpenAI’s GPT–4 to Improve Accessibility for People Who are Blind or Have Low-Vision
- What’s in iOS 16.4?
- Rumors: Big Changes and Features Coming to iOS 17
- The Latest Rumors and News on the Upcoming iPhone 15
- What’s in this month AppleVis News
AppleVis Extra #90: The Apple Vision Accessibility Report Card
Join Dave Nason, Thomas Domville, Scott Davert, and Tyler Stephen as they delve into the recently released AppleVis Apple Vision Accessibility Report Card. This comprehensive report provides valuable insights into the experiences and opinions of visually impaired individuals who rely on Apple’s VoiceOver, Braille support, and low vision features. The group dives deep into the ratings and comments included in the report, offering their own opinions and experiences along the way.
Quick Tip: How to Configure your Mac to Announce the Time Automatically
In this episode, Tyler demonstrates how to configure your Mac to announce the time automatically.
Introducing the Hable One: The Smallest Braille Keyboard for Your Phone or Tablet
In this episode, Dennis Long introduces us to the Hable One, an external Braille keyboard designed to make using a smartphone simpler and more convenient. He describes the Hable One and its six Braille buttons with two additional function keys for typing and intuitive operation of VoiceOver. Dennis explains how the Hable One can help you use your phone more efficiently and easily in any situation, whether you’re a fast navigator but slow typer, or have difficulty controlling VoiceOver. He demonstrates how the small size of the Hable One allows you to take it anywhere and control your phone in a fast and intuitive way.
Podcasts by Thomas Domville
- Introducing Blind Quest 2: An Adventure Audiogame
- Introducing OKO - AI Copilot for the Blind: An iOS App to Assist With Navigating Pedestrian Intersections
- Get Creative With Effects and Reactions in the iOS Messages App
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of the most talked-about posts from the past month:
- Blind Quest 2 - The Frost Demon it’s now Available for iOS!
- New game: SoundEcho, A simple yet challenging memory game
- Introducing CenteredHead, a Mac app to let blind people know if they are sitting in front of the camera for video calls
- Advice needed from AppleVis Community, Should I Switch to Windows?
- VoiceOver Crashing on iOS 16.4
- OK, this dictation problem is starting to drive me blasphemously insane!
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Wishing you good health and happiness.
The AppleVis Editorial Team