Welcome to the September 2019 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
AudioWizards (iOS, US$4.99)
Accessible Audio Game experience full of arcade action and charm at your hands! Embark on an audiotastic journey to defend the world of Sondveiw. Master the sounds and defeat elemental imbued monster together with your mentor Saundaman.
Grab your headphones and immerse yourself in the Story Mode to uncover the mysteries behind the Distortions in 20 fully voice acted story levels. Not down for a bed time story? Challenge yourself and your listening skills in the Endless Mode to compete for the highest score and crown of the master wizard!
VoiceOver feature is supported.
- Recognize everything that happens around you by the amazing sounds alone!
- Fully blind & visually impaired accessible with a screen reader support and intuitive navigation.
- Includes easily distinguishable cartoony graphics, rarity in audio games.
- Easy to learn, hard to master. AudioWizards is fast-paced, intense and challenging.
- Music made in co-operation with the blind & visually impaired musicians.
- Embark on a wacky journey with your tea-graving mentor Saundaman in 20 unique story levels to reveal the mystery behind the invasion.
- Care for a challenge? Take your listening skills and reaction time to a test and compete for the highest score against the endless waves of enemies!
Current Version: 1.0 (September 1, 2019)
Bright Guide - messenger (iOS, 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.
We also thought out and added some convenient features that can please users:
- In order not to return to the "Back" button every time, you can double-click on the screen of the phone with two fingers. This activates the "Back" button in all places of the application
- By sending a voice message, you can always listen to it before sending it, overwrite it or simply delete it
- Being in the chat with a user, scrolling up or down, you can select the function you need for further action
- We also developed a special search system “Alphabetical Index”. It allows you to search quickly through your contacts by the first letter of the name or surname with Voice Over. For example, choosing the letter "B", you activate the search for users whose first or last name begins with the letter "B"
Current Version: 1.1.0 (August 28, 2019)
Launchpad (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
The original Launchpad — Make & Remix Music.
Launchpad is the original number-one app for making and remixing electronic music. Instantly combine beats, basslines, melodies, vocals and FX loops into new creations. Layer DJ-style effects to chop and change your sound. Record your performance and share it with others.
- Make music instantly — Play a multi-colour grid of amazing sounds
- Perform like a DJ — Easy to play loops and one-shots
- 8 free soundpacks — Nearly 400 sounds included. Discover hundreds more in the store.
- Artist remixes — Remix Legendary tracks from UK Record label ‘Ninja Tune’
- Weekly releases — Professional remix soundpacks released every week
- DJ-style performance FX — Make your mixes unique with powerful DJ effects
- Share your music — Soundcloud, YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox, Audiocopy and more
- Build new remixes — Craft new and unique remixes from scratch
- Create your own remixes — Craft your own remix by combining sounds from your library
- Reuse soundpacks — Launchpad soundpacks appear automatically in Blocs Wave
- Play in key — Set the key of your session and browse all clips in that key
- Real-time tempo — Change tempo at any time, with real-time audio stretching
- Blocs Wave export — Easily send your Blocs Wave projects to Launchpad
- Audio Import* — Supports Dropbox, AudioShare, AudioCopy and Airdrop
- Advanced performance FX* — Enhanced Stutter, Autofilter, Gater, Delay, Stopper & Flanger
- Launchpad hardware — Integrates with Novation’s Launch hardware (iPad only)
- Ableton Link — Jam in sync with your other apps, devices or Ableton Live
- MIDI sync output* — Connect Launchpad to external hardware synths and drum machines* (iPad only)
- Audiobus Support — Use any Audiobus-compatible apps to extend your music-making setup
- Bluetooth — Supports Bluetooth speakers and headphones
Current Version: 7.8.1 (July 30, 2019)
Randomize List (iOS, Free)
Randomize List is a simple and easy to use list randomizer. Just add a few names or items and just tap Randomize. You can randomize the list as many times as you want with a randomize counter to tell you how many times the list has been randomized.
Randomize List can be useful in cases such as determining a fantasy sports draft order or top person gets to pay the dinner bill.
- Add names multiple times
- Swipe to delete
- Tap to edit list
- Display number of the times the list has been randomized
- Disable edit and delete names while list is being randomized
Current Version: 7.0.0 (May 27, 2019)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
IFTTT (iOS, Free)
Applets bring your favorite services together to create new experiences.
Over 600 apps work with IFTTT including Twitter, Telegram, Google Drive, Twitch, Weather Underground, Instagram, Gmail, and devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Nest, Philips Hue, and your iPhone. The IFTTT app also integrates with the Health app, so you can easily track and maintain your habits.
Turn on Applets and:
- Control everything around you with your voice and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- Stay informed about what’s happening from publications like The New York Times and ProPublica
- Always stay prepared for the weather with custom daily forecast notifications
- Message roommates when you’re near the local grocery
- Get an alert as soon as there’s a new Craigslist listing that matches you search
- Stay safe with automated and intelligent home security alerts
- Streamline your social media
- Back up and share your iOS photos automatically
- Back up important files, photos, and contacts to cloud-storage solutions, such as Dropbox or Google Drive
- Set your home thermostat to an optimal temperature when you arrive home
- Post all your Instagrams as Twitter photos or Pinterest pins
- Trigger events based on your current location
Current Version: 4.3.0 (September 30, 2019)
Changes in Version 4.2.0
- We simplified the DIY Applet card so it's even easier to create connections tailored to your specific needs.
- Easily discover and connect your favorite things with the new "connect" button directly on every service page.
- We improved VoiceOver support for iOS users.
- Lots of bug fixes.
Just Press Record (iOS, US$4.99)
Just Press Record is the ultimate mobile audio recorder bringing one tap recording, transcription and iCloud syncing to all your devices. You can edit your audio and transcriptions right inside the app and even start a new recording completely hands-free with Siri!
Life is full of moments we would rather not forget - like your child’s first words, an important meeting or spontaneous idea. Capture these moments effortlessly on iPhone, iPad or for ultimate convenience, Apple Watch.
- VoiceOver support throughout the app.
- Magic Tap gesture to start / stop a recording.
Current Version: 35 (September 19, 2019)
Changes in Version 35
Exciting new features for iOS13:
- Fully supports the new Voice Control feature
- Fully optimised for iOS13 Dark Mode
- Quickly access common actions via Context Menus
Seeing AI (iOS, 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
Seeing AI is built to help you achieve more by leveraging the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence. As the research progresses, more channels may be added.
Current Version: 3.2.1 (September 21, 2019)
Changes in Version 3.2.0
- Support for Siri Shortcuts - you can assign a voice command such as "what does this say?" to launch Seeing AI on a particular channel. Go to Settings within the menu to get started.
- Support for iOS 13.
- Dark Mode support on iOS 13.
- The Short Text channel can now read text in up to 21 languages (the exact number will vary depending on which voices are installed).
- When exploring a photo, if multiple objects with the name are recognized, a number will be added. For example, "chair 1".
- Plus, various bug fixes under the hood.
Ulysses (iOS, Free Trial)
Ulysses is your one-stop writing environment for Mac, iPhone and iPad. Its pleasant, focused writing experience, combined with effective document management, seamless sync, and flexible export, make Ulysses the first choice for writers of all kinds.
A Text Production Powerhouse
Ulysses’ markup-based, distraction-free editor lets you focus on your most important task: Write, edit, and write some more. Formatting is kept for later, so you can completely immerse yourself in the text. Ulysses’ uniquely streamlined toolset covers the entire writing process, and its clean and simple interface will boost your productivity. From first to final draft, from prologue to closing chapter – Ulysses keeps you in the flow, so you can get stuff done.
All Your Texts, All the Time
Everything you’ll ever write is stored in Ulysses’ unified library. You can manage projects of all kinds and sizes, be it novels, diaries or study notes – they are always saved, and automatically in sync. And since Ulysses offers feature parity across macOS and iOS, it doesn’t matter where you are or when inspiration hits: All its tools, and all your texts, are always at your fingertips.
Create eBooks, DOCX, PDFs and HTML
Ulysses’ export is flexible enough to cover any writer’s needs: Transform your text into beautiful PDFs, Word documents or eBooks. Or export HTML code, ready to be used anywhere on the web. You can even choose between a variety of pre-made formatting styles for all kinds of purposes, or create your own and share it with other users.
Publish to WordPress, Ghost & Medium
Do you blog? Ulysses’ offers best-in-class publishing to WordPress, Ghost, and Medium. You can post to WordPress and Ghost from right within the app – complete with images, tags, categories etc. Publishing to Medium works just as easy, and all three offer a built-in preview to proof-read before submission.
Ulysses requires a subscription. We offer monthly and yearly subscription plans. They include a fully functional 14-day trial, so you can test Ulysses (including export and sync). There’s also a special discount for students.
All plans unlock the app on Mac, iPhone and iPad, and feature full synchronization.
Current Version: 18 (September 30, 2019)
Changes in Version 18
The iOS 13 update: Ulysses 18 adds full support for iOS 13 and iPadOS.
- Added full support for iOS 13 and iPadOS
- Adapted system-wide dark mode throughout the app
- Added context menus to library and sheet table
- Added iOS 13 styled icons throughout the interface
- Added support for multiple windows: You can now open multiple instances of Ulysses in Fullscreen, Split View and Slide Over (iPadOS)
- Added quick edit mode in sheet table by holding command or shift key while tapping a sheet (iPadOS)
- Full integration with the new Shortcuts app
- Added support for Ulysses files in Dropbox folders and external files
- Full support for Markdown XL, custom markup, attachments and goals
- You can now sync your Ulysses sheets through Dropbox
- Added search to group icons
Improvements & Fixes
- Keywords can now be reordered via Drag and Drop.
- Styles and themes can now be added to Ulysses via an “Install” button on our website.
- Added Command-Up/Down to quickly navigate to the beginning/end of the sheet list.
- VoiceOver accessibility has been improved in the editor and export preview.
- Second Editor is no longer available on iOS 12. To use multiple windows, please upgrade to iPadOS.
Recent News and Views
Apple Software Release News
- Apple Releases iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1; Bringing Many Bug Fixes and Some New Bugs for Blind and Low Vision Users
- What's New In iOS 13 Accessibility For Individuals Who Are Blind or Deaf-Blind
- The Accessibility Bugs Introduced and Resolved in iOS 13 for Blind and Low Vision Users
- Apple Releases watchOS 6; Bringing New and Enhanced Apps, New Health Features, a Dedicated App Store, Siri Improvements, and Much More
- Apple Releases tvOS 13; Bringing a Redesigned Home Screen, a New Control Center, Multi-User Support, and Picture-in-Picture
- An Overview of What's New on iPad in iPad OS 13
- A Guide to Multitasking on iPad in iPad OS 13
- Apple Releases macOS 10.14.6 Suplemental Update 2, iOS 12.4.2, and watchOS 5.3.2
- Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.1.1 With Battery Drain, Siri, and Keyboard Vulnerability Fixes
- Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.1.2 With Camera, iCloud Backup, Flashlight, Shortcuts Fixes and More
Hot Pants and the iPhone 11
By Morgan Watkins | September 13, 2019
Before there was an iPod or an iPhone, and even before Microsoft had Windows 95, there was the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. In those early years, I was a regular attendee at the WWDC. I was extremely fortunate to make great connections with many Apple employees and other Macintosh developers. I also established very close ties with the event organizers. Instead of sitting in one of the thousands of tightly packed stackable chairs in the main hall, where I would never see the slide shows, the WWDC team kindly offered me a backstage comfy chair, monitor and sound system. I was accidentally treated like a VIP for years. In that private setting, I got to meet much of Apple's leadership and all of the keynote speakers.
One year, during a short recess between presentations, I quickly tapped my way to the men's room for a brief break. I then promptly returned to the backstage area, and scurried around the heavy curtains. A security guard blocked my entrance.
"You can't come back here," she commanded.
"It's OK. I have a reserved seat."
She didn't budge. "I'm sorry sir, but this is a secured area."
"My name is Morgan Watkins," I said with ebbing confidence. "Please check with the conference coordinators and they'll clear me."
At this, her whole attitude changed. "I'm sorry Mr. Watkins. We were expecting you. Just a moment, there is someone sitting in your seat."
She approached the fellow who had taken my chair. "Sir, you are sitting in Mr. Watkins' seat. You are going to have to move."
"You don't understand," replied the polite gentleman. "My name is Bill Gates."
The guard was unimpressed. "I'm sorry sir. I don't care who you are. You'll have to move."
I had no idea what I should do. Now, I could have said, "Oh Mr. Gates, I'm so terribly sorry. I didn't realize it was you. Please keep my chair, as a gift." I could have fallen flat on the floor and declared myself unworthy. Or, I could have shown a little dignity and gone back to the men's room and taken a seat there.
Editorial Summary of Apple's "by Innovation Only" Event on September 10
By mehgcap | September 10, 2019
Apple has just concluded its annual September media event. This year's, which it titled "By Innovation Only", gave us new iPhones, the Series 5 Apple Watch, and more details on the company's new Apple Arcade and Apple TV Plus subscription services. Innovation, though, wasn't exactly the word I first thought of when I considered how to sum up the announcements. Don't get me wrong: the new iPhones have some great new features, and it will be interesting to see where the new subscription services go. But this wasn't a year for major design changes, like when Face ID and lack of bezels arrived with iPhone X. Still, there's some cool stuff in here, so let's get right to it.
The highlight of all these events is always the newest iPhone, so let's address it first. Apple is making three new models this year, just like they did in 2018 with the XR, XS, and XS Max. The XR is being replaced by the iPhone 11, the XS by the 11 Pro, and the XS Max by the 11 Pro Max. "Pro Max" is an, um, interesting name, but at least we finally have numbers in the names again! Moving forward, the new iPhone lineup will be: iPhone 8 for $449, iPhone XR for $599, iPhone 11 for $699, iPhone 11 Pro for $999, and iPhone 11 Pro Max for $1099.
Should You Upgrade Your AirPods?
By mehgcap | September 2, 2019
I've used Apple's original AirPods since the fall of 2017. About two months ago, in June of 2019, I found a good sale and upgraded to the second generation. I knew the sound wouldn't be any different, but I was intrigued by other features. I wanted the Hey Siri support, the reduced latency, the better connection, and the automatic speaking of new messages.
Now I'm here, ready to tackle the big question: is it worth upgrading? To make things a little easier, I'm going to call the two models AirPods 1 and AirPods 2 from time to time.
First, let's review what didn't change between the two models. Here is everything I can think of that is the same, or almost the same, so isn't worth considering if you're trying to decide whether to upgrade.
Tips to Save Battery Life on your iOS Device
By tunmi13 | September 5, 2019
We love our technology when it works. But when it dies, it's very frustrating. You'll think things such as, "I literally just charged this an hour ago," or, "Why is my battery draining so fast?"
Usually, this is the result of battery aging. Your battery can only take so much before it starts getting old, and it needs to be replaced.
Other times, it can be software-related. This guide should hopefully help you get at least a bit more juice out of your battery, and hopefully keep it charged for a pretty long time.
Method One. Background App Refresh
Background App Refresh is exactly what the title says. It's the process where apps in the background refresh their content. While it is very useful, it can be a major drainer of your battery.
It's recommended you either disable certain apps you think are causing lots of drainage, or disable the whole thing altogether. Here's how to do so.
This Month in Podcasts
iOS 13 Podcasts by Thomas Domville
- What's New in iOS 13: Part 1, Changes for VoiceOver Users
- What's New in iOS 13: Part 2, General Features
- How to Check Battery Health and Optimize Battery Charging in iOS
- How to Customize VoiceOver Gestures on iOS
- How to Manually Update Apps on iOS
- How to Customize VoiceOver Haptic Feedback on iOS
- How to Create and Use VoiceOver Activity Profiles on iOS
- How to use the iOS QuickPath Swipe Keyboard with VoiceOver
- How to use Voice Control on iOS: The Basics
- How to Send Robocalls, Spammers, and Unknown Callers Directly to Voicemail on iOS
iPadOS Podcasts by Dave Nason
AppleVis Unleashed September 2019: The Swiss Cheese Brains and the Unlucky 13
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:
- Amazon updates Echo lineup: better audio quality, an Echo Dot with a clock, and more
- Amazon will keep track of your dog with Fetch
- All the major announcements from Apple's 2019 iPhone Event
- AppleVis Extra 68: Recapping Apple's September 10, 2019 "By Innovation Only" Event
- Get a free year of Apple TV+ with purchase of new hardware
- AppleCare+ monthly plans switch to subscription model
- What to expect from Apple in October
- The Accessibility Bugs Introduced and Resolved in iOS 13 for Blind and Low Vision Users
- Apple to Release iOS 13.1 and iPadOS 13.1 on 24 September; Bringing Many Bug Fixes and Some New Bugs for Blind and Low Vision Users
- AppleVis Extra 69: The iOS and iPadOS 13 Roundtable
- Everything you can do with Voice Control on iPhone and iPad
- Apple to supply parts to independent repair shops for first time
- What to do if you forget your iPhone or iPad passcode
AppleVis Extra 69: The iOS and iPadOS 13 Roundtable
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason, Scott Davert, and Thomas Domville sit down to discuss some of their favourite new features of iOS and iPadOS 13; along with some of the issues that these releases have introduced for blind and low vision users.
AppleVis Extra 68: Recapping Apple's September 10, 2019 "By Innovation Only" Event
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Dave Nason, Alex Hall, Tyler Stephen, and Robin Christopherson discuss Apple's "By Innovation Only" event held on September 10, 2019.
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:
- Paid version of Nearby Explorer being discontinued
- iOS 13.1.1 and MFi Hearing Aids Caution
- An open letter to game developers
- Apple Arcade Anyone?
- Apple Arcade: Narrowing or widening the gap?
- Dear community, lend me your words..
- Introducing Met Office Weather App; and seeking accessibility feedback and suggestions
- AudioWizards is now out for iOS!
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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
The AppleVis Editorial Team