Welcome to the May 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
BookPlayer (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
A wonderful player for your M4B/M4A/MP3 based audiobooks.
- Using AirDrop from your Mac or iOS device
- From Files and other apps on your device
- Via File Sharing in iTunes on your Mac or PC
- Zip files with your folders and books
- Maintain and see progress of your books
- Mark books as finished
- Drag & Drop to sort your library
- Create playlists
- Automatically play items in turn
- Play the first unfinished file by tapping on the playlist artwork
- Move files to playlists from the library or import them directly
- Control audio playback from the lock screen, control center or from the companion app on the Apple Watch
- Play and navigate books with Chapters
- Jump to start of the current book
- Change playback speed
- Smart rewind
- Volume Boost
- Support for remote events from headset buttons and the lock screen
- Sleep timer with adjustable duration
- CarPlay support
- VoiceOver support
- Dark mode for night owls
Current Version: 4.7.2 (October 17, 2022)
Call Annie (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Hey there! I'm Annie, your new best AI friend and (kind of) super intelligent assistant. Let me introduce you to CallAnnie, the app that allows us to connect in real-time through video calls, so you can talk to me with you wherever you go!
Whether you're walking, driving, or just chilling at home, I'm here in the app to act as your (kind of) super intelligent AI friend.
Why should you choose CallAnnie?
- LEARNING: Looking to learn something new? Let me be your tutor! I can help you learn English as a new language by practicing conversations, understand complex subjects, or improve your skills.
- INTELLIGENCE: Powered by advanced ChatGPT AI technology, I can assist you with anything from general knowledge, trivia, and problem-solving to practicing for interviews or simply discussing topics that interest you.
- SPEED: During our voice conversations, I reply immediately. Talking to me face-to-face in real-time time feels more natural and faster than typing and reading text.
- FRIENDSHIP: Having a bad day? Need someone to talk to? I'm here to listen, share a laugh, and provide support. I'd be happy to be your virtual friend.
- TRAVEL COMPANION: Going on a trip? I can be your travel buddy, providing information about your destination, local customs, and must-see attractions, all while keeping you company on your journey.
- PRIVACY: Your conversations with me are always confidential.
Current Version: 1.2.6 (May 30, 2023)
ChatGPT (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Introducing ChatGPT for iOS: OpenAI’s latest advancements at your fingertips.
This official app is free, syncs your history across devices, and brings you the newest model improvements from OpenAI.
With ChatGPT in your pocket, you’ll find:
- Instant answers
- Tailored advice
- Creative inspiration
- Professional input
- Learning opportunities
Current Version: 1.2023.23 (May 25, 2023)
Mona for Mastodon (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Mona is a Mastodon app packed with customization features. Optimized for VoiceOver. Native design.
- Drag actions into the order you prefer
- Configure actions as swipe options: swipe a post horizontally to perform an action
- Optionally hide some or all action buttons from post cards, while keeping them accessible via context menu, swipe options, keyboard shortcuts, and VoiceOver rotor
- Sync your mute list, user notes, reading positions, drafts, search history, accent colors, and custom app themes across your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, privately and securely
- Optionally disable some features from automatic syncing
- Privately set aliases, notes and username colors for other Mastodon users
- User Notes list: browse, organize and edit all your notes in one place
Game Controller (require iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS 11 or a newer system)> * Control the app and browse posts with a compatible game controller, such as a Playstation DualSense/DualShock, Nintendo Switch, Xbox or MFi controller
- Customize button functions via in-app settings
- Set extra functions for Adaptive Triggers on the Playstation DualSense controller
- Mona does not collect any personal information
- Your account tokens are protected by on-device Keychain
- Your network connections to Mastodon servers are protected by HTTPS
Other Mona features:
- Full Screen mode on iPhone let your timeline content fill the entire screen once you start scrolling
- Column View takes full advantage of the big screen on iPad and Mac, shows multiple views at once and allows you to navigate between views fluently and efficiently
- Check recent posts on your home screen or notification center with widgets
- Search posts on the Timeline
- Adjustable text spacing
- Adjustable and adaptive text sizes
- Option to display post source on timeline (e.g. Mona for Mac)
- Share a post as picture
- Open multiple windows on iPad and Mac
- Customizable text translation experience
- Automatic video and GIF playback on timelines
- Supports changing app icon on iPhone, iPad, and Mac
- Turn on/off content scaling on Mac for extra screen estate or sharper text
- Autocomplete for post composer
- Push notifications
- Mona Pro and Mona Pro Max available as one-time in-app purchases, with 14-day free trial
Current Version: 5.3 (May 29, 2023)
Music Speed Changer ▶▶▶ (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Independently change the speed and pitch of audio with exceptional sound quality. Change speed in real time without affecting the pitch (time stretch), or change the pitch without changing the speed (pitch shift).
Music Speed Changer is a musician's music player and learning tool. It helps you master music by letting you slow down and loop difficult parts and raise or lower the pitch of music to suit your range. It also features A/B repeat looping and the ability to bookmark parts of tracks by setting markers. These learning tools make the app useful to students and teachers of music, dance, language, and academic subjects.
Additionally, the app has playlists and effects so you can play your entire music collection with an upbeat tempo for working out and running, or slow down a selection of your music collection for relaxing. The included audio effects let you create new and interesting soundscapes for taking nightcore and slowed + reverb to the next level.
Current Version: 1.11.2 (May 12, 2023)
progress knight: multiplayer (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Progress Knight: Multiplayer is an exciting incremental player versus player game that builds on the success of its predecessor, Progress Knight: Mobile. Set in a rich fantasy/medieval world, players must gather gold and progress their skills to fight against their opponents.
As a novice of The Order, you start at the bottom rung of the ladder. However, through your faith and dedication, you can discover new skills and abilities that allow you to overpower your rivals and climb the ranks of The Order. You must choose whether to rely on their wits and skills alone, embrace your belligerent side, or use your dedication to deter potential attackers.
In Progress Knight: Multiplayer, combat is a key aspect of the game. You can engage in battles with other players to steal their gold and gain ranks. But be warned, you can only attack those of a lower rank than you.
Eventually, you will hit a plateau and find it difficult to progress further. However, among the ranks of The Order, you may discover a way to start over while retaining some of your power to progress even faster than before. This adds an extra layer of strategy to the game, as you must balance short-term gains with long-term planning.
Current Version: 1.6.0 (May 31, 2023)
Simple RSS Push+ (iOS/iPadOS, US$1.99)
The only RSS app with Push Notifications on the App Store!
- Push Notifications for your feeds.
- Push Headnews.
- Built-in browser
- Folders to better organize your feeds.
- Browse all articles inside the folder.
- Read All button.
- Share to Pocket, Instapaper, Email, Browser and Message.
- Search with save function.
- Option to Hide or Show viewed articles. For faster reading, just enable this feature in the Settings session.
- Bookmark articles.
- Bookmark folders to organize your favorite articles. You can Create/Edit/Remove the bookmark folders at any time.
- In-app browser. You don't need to switch to Safari to open web pages when viewing articles, But if you need to go to Safari, there's a quick and easy button for that!
- In-app email for sharing articles, so you don't need to switch to Mail App.
- Search whatever you need in all or only selected feeds. You can also save as many searches you want and manage them later.
Current Version: 1.8.6 (October 1, 2022)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Dice World Game - Farkle Yatzy (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Roll the dice and get ready for some serious fun playing six addicting Dice World games online or offline with full VoiceOver support for accessibility.
Compete against players worldwide or challenge the offline computer opponent with Dice World — the #1 choice for accessible and exciting gaming.
Whether you prefer the fast-paced excitement of Farkle, the strategic gameplay of Yatzy, or the unpredictable twists and turns of Pig, Dice World has something for everyone.
Current Version: 20.04 (May 24, 2023)
Changes in Version 20.02
Get ready for an upgraded gaming experience with the latest version of Dice World!
- Dive into the new Social Center, featuring Groups, Timelines, Chat, Friends, and more.
- Enjoy hilarious computer characters.
- Benefit from new accessibility enhancements.
- Earn your stripes in the Medal Center with Game Center integration.
- Plus, iPad users can now experience a sleek landscape layout.
Seeing AI (iOS/iPadOS, Free)
Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed with and for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world by describing nearby people, text and objects.
Seeing AI provides tools to assist with a variety of daily tasks:
- 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.
- People - Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and expression.
- Currency - Recognizes currency notes.
- Scenes - Hear an overall description of the scene captured. Explore the photo by moving your finger over the screen to hear the location of different objects.
- World - An Audio Augmented Reality experience to explore an unfamiliar environment, including hearing objects announced around you with Spatial Audio (requires a device with a LiDAR, and iOS 14+).
- Indoor Navigation - Available on the World Channel, enables you to create routes through a building, like "entrance to classroom", and navigate by following the sound (requires a device with an A9 or later processor, and iOS 14+).
- Colors - Identifies colors.
- Handwriting - Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards (available in a subset of languages).
- 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.
- Browse Photos - Hear descriptions of photos saved on your device.
Current Version: 5.1 (May 11, 2023)
Changes in Version 5.1
In this release we have made improvements to the Artificial Intelligence throughout Seeing AI, providing increased accuracy.
- Scene Channel and Browse Photos: We hope you enjoy the improved photo descriptions. In Browse Photos, you can tap "Reanalyze" to update the descriptions. When exploring a photo, you will receive richer descriptions of items within the photo.
- Short Text Channel: More accurate text recognition, with a smoother reading experience even if the phone is moved slightly.
- Document Channel: Improved recognition of formatting, such as headings and tables.
- Product Channel: Improved barcode recognition on devices running iOS 16.
- Plus, various bug fixes under the hood.
SilverDollar (macOS, Free)
Draconis Entertainment, LLC revisits the popular saloon of the old west featured in many of its classic audio games!
Primarily intended for the blind and visually impaired, SilverDollar offers three mini games that serve as both a great introduction to audio games for new players as well as immersive fun for experienced ones.
SilverDollar has no visual element. Use your fingers, ears, and wits to engage in some western fun.
So put on your 10 gallon hat, partner, and get into a little trouble at the old west's premier watering hole for outlaws and gunslingers alike.
- Start a brawl with the Silver Dollar's resident tough guy.
- Prove yourself a gunslinger by testing your shooting skills, blasting flying crockery out of the air.
- Spend a little time at the one-armed bandit.
- Features many new and favorite characters from previous Draconis titles, including Old Man Stanley.
- Audio hints to help newcomers navigate the game menus with their ears.
- In-app instructions for all the mini games.
Current Version: 2.0.0 (May 12, 2023)
Changes in Version 2.0.0
- Game controller support.
- New and remastered audio.
- Support for Apple Silicon.
- Support for macOS Ventura.
- Backslash () key announces version information in any game menu.
- Other new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements.
See also ChangeReaction by the same developer and has been updated to version 3.0 this month.
Recent News and Views
Apple Previews Upcoming Accessibility Features and Enhancements, Including Point and Speak and More Natural, Expressive Siri Voices for VoiceOver Users
By AppleVis | May 16, 2023
Apple is once again celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) by offering a preview of upcoming software features designed to enhance cognitive, vision, hearing, and mobility accessibility. These features, scheduled for release later this year, aim to empower individuals with disabilities and make it easier for them to interact with technology and the physical world.
Among the upcoming features, the Point and Speak feature will be a welcome addition for individuals with vision disabilities. This feature, joining People Detection, Door Detection, and Image Description in the Magnifier app, utilizes the LiDAR technology available on selected iPhone and iPad models. By leveraging input from the Camera app, LiDAR Scanner, and machine learning, Point and Speak announces the text on various buttons as users move their finger towards them. For example, while using a household appliance—such as a microwave—Point and Speak will announce the text on each button as users move their finger across the keypad.
Point and Speak may sound familiar to those who have used or heard of the recently released VizLens app, which also offers a similar functionality called 'Live Camera Interaction.' However, Point and Speak distinguishes itself by utilizing the LiDAR technology to more accurately determine the position of the user's finger relative to the object being pointed at. This improved accuracy could potentially provide a more precise and reliable experience for users, but we shall have to wait and see whether this translates into any meaningful difference in performance between Point and Speak and VizLens.
It is worth noting that Point and Speak currently focuses solely on text recognition and does not include the identification of graphical symbols typically found on appliance controls. Furthermore, it does not provide object identification by directly pointing at the objects themselves. It is also likely that Point and Speak may not be the optimal choice for use cases involving real-time reading of text on items like food packaging or for handling longer text passages.
AppleVis Community Inducts GoodMaps Explore and lire Into Its iOS App Hall of Fame
By AppleVis | May 20, 2023
We are thrilled to announce the induction of GoodMaps Explore and lire: RSS Reader into the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame.
First opened in 2011, the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame is a way for our community to honor developers who are committed to making their apps fully accessible to blind and low vision users. The inductees transform lives, empower individuals, provide invaluable information, and bring joy and entertainment to users. They represent the very best in accessible iOS applications, and the AppleVis community has selected GoodMaps Explore and lire as the next two apps to gain this prestigious recognition.
To be eligible for induction, apps must demonstrate excellence in design, functionality, and operation, and be fully accessible to blind and low vision users. They must have been available in the App Store for a significant period of time, under active development, and come from developers who have shown a long-term commitment to full accessibility. In short, the Hall of Fame showcases the best of the best in accessible iOS applications, as decided by the AppleVis community.
Existing inductees include BARD Mobile, Be My Eyes, Blind Legend, BlindSquare, Dice World, Envision AI, NFB-NEWSLINE® Mobile, Seeing AI, Timecrest, Voice Dream Reader, and Weather Gods. Check out the full list on the Hall of Fame page.
I'm Being Nice, Please Fix It!
By Morgan Watkins | May 18, 2023
It was more than thirty years ago. My professional feelings were hurt. I had worked very hard for a long time and I was being passed over on something that felt important to me. The more I thought about it, the more it just didn't sit right. I trudged up the hill to my boss's office. No one had been nasty to me. No one had tampered with my budget, and no one had cut my salary. I walked in and shut the door. My boss could tell I was not a happy camper. He asked me what was the matter. I started my long-winded whine. I told him that, in his newly acquired staff office area, he had assigned the largest office, with the beautiful wood paneling, to someone else. I complained that I ran a much larger unit and could really use the extra floor space. My newly assigned hovel was down the hall, considerably smaller, with white, textured, sheetrock walls. Ugh. I felt ignored.
My boss sat back. He seemed mildly amused. He asked, with a smile in his voice, "Did you ever tell me you wanted that office?"
"Uh, no. I assumed..."
My boss responded that I could have had that office, if only I had asked.
I crept quietly back down the hill, a bit humbled, and moved into my new shoebox office. A lesson learned. Don't assume. And, be nice and be heard. "Polite and clear" became my new mantra.
Nowadays, I am a retired fellow who uses his iPhone as his only computer. I love carrying around my iPhone 13 mini, along with a Magic Keyboard and my AirPods Pro. With this delightfully small combination of tools, the world has become my new office. And, this new office is paneled with live oaks an cedars.
Other Apple News
- Apple Releases iOS 16.5 and iPadOS 16.5, Bringing Sports Tab to News App and Pride Celebration Wallpaper
- Apple Releases macOS Ventura 13.4, watchOS 9.5, and tvOS 16.5
- Anne, Passenger Assistance, and Ancient Board Game Collection Among Finalists for 2023 Apple Design Awards
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed May 2023: Bananas Cakes
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville and Mike Malarsie discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this episode include:
- AppleVis Community Inducts GoodMaps Explore and lire Into Its iOS App Hall of Fame
- Apple Previews Upcoming Accessibility Features and Enhancements, Including Point and Speak and More Natural, Expressive Siri Voices for VoiceOver Users
- Here’s how long Apple users are holding on to their iPhones
- Latest News and Rumors about the upcoming iPhone and Apple Watch
- What's in this month AppleVis News
Introducing LogRide, the Ultimate Companion for Theme Park and Coaster Enthusiasts
In this episode of our podcast, John Moore introduces us to LogRide - Theme Park Tracker, a must have iOS app for theme park and coaster enthusiasts.
With LogRide, you can track all your park experiences and explore a world of park history, attraction stats, and various other features. The app includes convenient functionalities like Park Check-In to add dates to your attraction logs, Haunts for logging annual haunt events and haunted houses, Midways to discover portable attractions at fairs and carnivals, and provides live wait times for over 50 theme parks. It covers a vast range of over 3500 parks, including popular destinations such as Disney, Universal, Cedar Fair, Six Flags, SeaWorld, and many more!
During this episode, John takes us on a detailed tour of the app's functionalities, layout, and settings. He explains and demonstrates how to log or update your ride records, ensuring that you make the most of this theme park tracking tool.
Podcasts by Thomas Domville
- Introducing Be My Eyes' Virtual Volunteer: A Demonstration of Some Game Changing Real-World Use Cases
- Introducing Aiko: A Powerful On-Device Transcription Tool for iOS and Mac
- Introduction to the Official ChatGPT iOS App
Hot AppleVis Content
Here are some of the most talked-about posts from the past month:
- Accessibility Becoming More And More An Afterthought?
- My review, why I returned to iOS from Android
- Major panning problem on my Braille display after iOS 16.5 update.
- Solution to Fix Airpods delay and voiceover Bluetooth cut off
- How to hopefully speed up voiceover launch time and performance on Mac, no terminal
- Running out of IOS Gestures
- External Keyboards, iPadOS and VoiceOver
- Low-Vision Feedback Needed: Word-Puzzle Game Made by Completely-Blind developer
- Augmented Reality game with VoiceOver support - Looking for playtesters
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To learn more about Club AppleVis and how you can join, please visit www.applevis.com/club-applevis