Welcome to the June 2022 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly summary of 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
Beyond the Chiron Gate (iOS/iPadOS, US$9.99)
Explore an endless universe filled with exotic planets, strange life forms, and ancient civilisations in this text-based space exploration game. Manage a crew of space explorers and upgrade their ship with new technology. Brave dangerous worlds to gather the data you need to reach the home system of the mysterious Gatebuilders.
Current Version: 1.0.5 (June 7, 2022)
Cloud Battery (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Cloud Battery is the solution to a better battery management system.
Cloud Battery keeps all of your Apple device battery levels in one place, available to be seen from any device that shares the same iCloud account.
It's as simple as downloading Cloud Battery on all your Apple Devices, and it just works.
Cloud Battery provides you with many ways to keep up with the battery levels of your devices. These include Notifications, a Today Widget, the iOS, macOS, and watchOS standalone applications, as well as Watch Complications.
Current Version: 4.11 (April 1, 2022)
Guide Dogs (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
As a guide dog owner, you will know your legal right for your assistance dog to accompany you when accessing most services and vehicles. However, our research shows that 75% of assistance dog owners have been refused access to a restaurant, shop or taxi. We have listened to what a negative impact this can have on people’s wellbeing, and how it limits their ability to live the life they choose. With this app you can now report access refusals and inaccessible public spaces to Guide Dogs quickly and easily to help put a stop to them altogether.
Educate businesses about your legal rights: Using the templated letter, it’s now easier than ever to educate businesses of the law and elicit positive change for others. Together, we can make sure everyone knows they need to have Open Doors for Guide Dogs.
Guide Dogs Support: Expertise, advice and support is on hand from our dedicated Access Team, they’ll listen and provide you with as much support as you require, so you’re aware of all your options and the next steps. They can even contact and educate the businesses on your behalf.
Inaccessible public spaces: Experienced any barriers when out and about? You can quickly and easily report these to help our campaigning to end the isolation people with vision impairment can feel and aim to make the world a more accessible place.
Strengthens our voice: By reporting access refusals, Guide Dogs can build a true picture of the number and type of refusals taking place. This can help us spot patterns, or places where access refusals are more likely to happen, and take action accordingly. It can help our campaigning such as calling for the UK Government to introduce Disability Equality training for minicab and taxi drivers to help ensure full understanding of the Equality Act and how to support people with a visual impairment.
Current Version: 1.0.60 (June 23, 2022)
HoursTracker: Hours & Pay (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
QUICK AND EASY time entry and editing make time tracking painless
- Record time using timers, complete with support for Breaks and Pauses, including automatic breaks
- Track your pay, including Tips, Mileage, and flexible ± time and earnings adjustments
- Pick any time to start, stop, break or pause the timer (7 minutes ago, 10 minutes from now, whatever you need)
- Set job locations to get clock in and out reminders when you arrive or leave or fully automate your time tracking (geofencing)
- Manually enter time entries with minimal effort thanks to smart, adaptive defaults
- Enter comments of any length with your time entries and optionally include them in your exports
- Control timers, dictate comments, and apply tags using your Apple Watch
ADVANCED FEATURES and customization set HoursTracker above the rest
Current Version: 5.2.3 (April 19, 2022)
iziCast (iOS/iPadOS, US$7.99)
With iziCast you can broadcast audio from the internal microphone, external audio devices or Audiobus compatible apps to Icecast and Shoutcast servers. You can even broadcast your favourite music files and mix them with your internal or external microphone. Of course you can also create a recording of your session.
Current Version: 1.6.4 (February 27, 2022)
Merlin Bird ID by Cornell Lab (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
What's that bird? Ask Merlin—the world’s leading app for birds. Just like magic, Merlin Bird ID will help you solve the mystery.
Merlin Bird ID helps you identify birds you see and hear. Merlin is unlike any other bird app—it's powered by eBird, the world’s largest database of bird sightings, sounds, and photos.
Merlin offers four fun ways to identify birds. Answer a few simple questions, upload a photo, record a singing bird, or explore birds in a region.
Whether you’re curious about a bird you’ve seen once or you’re hoping to identify every bird you can find, the answers are waiting for you with this free app from the renowned Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Current Version: 2.1.2 (June 7, 2022)
Voice Dream for Desktop (macOS, Requires Subscription)
Voice Dream Reader lets you listen to PDF documents, Web articles, and eBooks using text-to-speech. Although it is designed for people with visual impairment, dyslexia, ADHD, and other reading challenges, everyone can benefit. Your documents become audiobooks, so you can read while you walk, exercise or do chores. For productivity-minded people, with some practice, you can read at twice your sight-reading speed. Unlike audiobooks, you can highlight, take notes, and see the words as they're spoken to improve comprehension and retention.
Voice Dream Reader for iOS is a 2021 Apple Design Award Winner, and it's been featured by Apple as Best New App and App of the Day in 81 countries. Using the award-winning iOS app as building blocks, we wrote Voice Dream Reader Desktop from ground up as a native macOS app with a completely redesigned user interface. The result is a full-featured, desktop-class application fully optimized for the Mac.
Current Version: 1.0.7 (June 27, 2022)
WatchTube (watchOS, Free)
WatchTube is a YouTube app for the Apple Watch that lets you browse content right from your wrist
We offer many features alongside this experience, including:
- Finding your favorite content creators
- Play videos from YouTube
- Subscribing to channels
- Suggested videos
- Liked videos
- And so much more!
Current Version: 1.2 (June 29, 2022)
WebWatch - Monitor Websites (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Never miss a website update.
WebWatch periodically checks for updates on your device, even when the application is closed.
When there is a change, you will receive a notification.
You can ignore specific changes to receive a notification only when relevant parts of the website are updated.
Current Version: 2.6.10 (June 20, 2022)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Dolphin EasyReader (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Dolphin EasyReader is a free reading app that enables people who are blind, visually impaired (VI) or dyslexic to read text and audio books in ways that suit their vision and preferred reading style.
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, with 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 fully optimized for use with iOS VoiceOver and iOS supported Braille displays.
Current Version: 3.07 (June 1, 2022)
Changes in Version 3.07
- New: Two new fonts in Text Settings (Arial and Times New Roman)
- New: New libraries: Bind Low Vision, Unitas
- New: Added skippability options
- New: EPUB3 Media Overlay improvements
- Fix: Translation update (langs 0007, 0031, 0033, 0034, 0039, 0048 & 0049)
- Fix: Side loaded books on a device no longer appear in the ‘My Books’ list on other devices
- Fix: Other general Fixes and improvements...
Voice Dream Reader (iOS/iPadOS, US$19.99)
2021 Apple Design Award Winner! Voice Dream Reader lets you listen to any document and ebook using text-to-speech. Featured by Apple as Best New App and App of the Day in 81 countries and part of App Store Permanent Collections in Education.
- One premium Acapela voice of your choice free with the purchase of the app.
- 36 built-in iOS voices in 27 languages are also available for free.
- 200+ additional premium voices in 30 languages from Acapela, NeoSpeech and Ivona available through in-app purchases.
- Correct pronunciation with your own pronunciation dictionary.
- All voices work offline and play in the background even with the screen locked.
Supported Document Formats
- PDF, Plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, and Google Docs.
- Web articles.
- Bookshare Books.
- EPUB eBooks. (DRM-free books only. Kindle, iBooks and most commercial eBook platforms are not supported.)
- DAISY text-based books and audiobook.
- Audiobooks in MP3, MP4 or zipped MP3 format.
- Rich text and image support for all documents.
- Scan paper documents with the camera for text-to-speech.
- State-of-the-art A.I. is fast and accurate, even in poor lighting conditions.
- Works entirely on device: No need for internet and your data stays private.
- Only languages using Latin alphabets are currently supported.
Current Version: 4.14.12 (June 28, 2022)
Notable changes in June
- Support for audiobooks from Bookshare.
- Japanese, Korean and Hindi recognition in scanner.
- Fixed bugs in Watch app.
- Now both compact and enhanced iOS voices are enabled.
- Added filtering for audiobooks for Bookshare searches.
- Fixed issues when used on iOS 16 beta.
Recent News and Views
2022 WWDC Keynote: What's Coming This Fall
By mehgcap | June 7, 2022
Today, Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). As it always does, it started the conference with a presentation of what's in the works for all its major platforms, sharing highlights of the iOS, watchOS, iPadOS, and macOS updates set to be released in the fall. There was also a surprise MacBook Air refresh, which we'll get to in a bit.
Let's begin with the iPhone and iPad. The below features are coming to both platforms, unless otherwise noted. Version 16 will completely re-design a few areas, and add new features to others. We start with something that hasn't gotten any attention in years: the lock screen.
Apple is turning the lock screen into a sort of analog to Apple Watch faces. You can add widgets to it, change the font and colors of the date and time, and choose a different image for each lock screen you create. When you're on a lock screen, simply swipe left or right to move between the various lock screens you've set up. You can even choose a specific one to be used when a focus is enabled. To prevent them from showing atop your widgets, notifications now roll up from the bottom. Apps can now consolidate notifications into a single, constantly-updating display, such as something showing the scores of a game or the progress of an Uber ride. This way, you won't be flooded with dozens of notifications that clutter up your shiny new lock screens, but will just have a single notification that keeps updating itself.
Discussing with Discord
By Paul Martz | June 24, 2022
Discord is a discussion forum tool that connects a network of participants. Discussions are grouped by servers that you create, so the topics and membership are up to you. My writing group recently decided to start using Discord as a replacement for discussing by email, which had become impractical.
Discord was designed by gamers. On the bright side, gamers like to keep their hands on the keyboard. Consequently, all Discord’s features are designed for keyboard access. On the down side, Discord wasn’t designed for screen reader usage, and multiple accessibility issues make using Discord a real challenge.
It had been over a year since I used Discord, and thanks to that amazing miracle of the twenty-first century known as the Software Update, the user interface had completely changed. Never fear! Determined to re-learn it, I dove in with the same fervor as I would GarageBand or Google Docs.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed June 2022: Bubbles and Nerdle
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:
- Grandma's voice from Amazon Alexa is freaking out the internet (00:06:40)
- Post Discussion of the WWDC 2022 (00:13:12)
- Ready or Not Here Comes the USB-C (00:22:14)
- Apple is Getting in to the Sports in a Big Way (00:31:25)
- What's Coming to the iOS 16 Part 1 (00:34:45)
- What's in this month AppleVis News (01:08:59)
AppleVis Extra #86: Recapping Apple's WWDC 2022 Keynote
In this edition of the AppleVis Extra, Thomas Domville, Alex Hall, and Tyler Stephen get together to discuss Apple's WWDC 2022 Keynote.
Podcasts by Thomas Domville
- A Sneak Peek at the Additional US Voices Coming to VoiceOver In iOS 16
- A Sneak Peek at the Additional Non-US English Voices Coming to VoiceOver In iOS 16
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of our posts which have got people talking in the past month:
- Eloquence finally in iOS
- New Voices in iOS 16
- Apple demos its new accessibility plugin for Unity games
- Petition to create an ‘Audio’ game subcategory on the App Store
- I surprised myself - I like Direct Touch Typing - how about you?
- I Am Back on iOS. What did I miss?
- Working on an AR app to enhance the process of applying makeup for people who are blind/visually impaired
- Beta Testers Ploppy Pairs (Card matching game for kids with VoiceOver)
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. These contributions support our mission and the continued success of AppleVis - and this is your chance to be part of this special donor community!
To learn more about Club AppleVis; the perks of membership; and how you can join, please visit www.applevis.com/club-applevis