The Move to Mac - Convince Me

Okay, so as I've mentioned on some other topics, I'm a lifelong PC-user who's seriously considering getting his first Mac. I've weighed a lot of the pros and cons, and have had the inevitable moments of "Am I crazy? Why not get a less expensive Windows computer, and stick with what I know?"

So anyway, while I have done a lot of weighing of the decision, I thought it would be fun (and perhaps useful for others considering the switch) to send out a challenge to all of you who use Macs - whether you started on Windows, or have been using Macs forever: convince me to make the switch. I see a lot of fair and balanced discussion that uses language like "Depending on your preference"...so I want this to be a thread where people can be as biased as possible. Tell me all of the things that you like better about Mac; tell me all the reasons it's better to spend the money on a Mac than stay with a PC. Pretend I'm not already seriously considering it...if I hadn't even thought about making the switch, what would you say to convince me? Like I said, this may be helpful to others who are considering making the switch, as well.

I'm looking forward to hearing what kind of case you can make for switching to Mac!

Forum: 

#1 Hi!

Hi!
depending on if you can afford one, go ahead and customize one for yourself. You can buy a mac mini for $500 or so with the basic specs and it goes up from there. I won't ramble, but from being a long time PC user and going to a mac, ti was one of the best decissions I made. Sure, there's a learning curve, but that's the case with every OS. New OS, new screen reader, etc.Also, macs work in tandom with the software and hardware. It seems like the apple Os works better than windows. What I mean, is that the hardware management is better than on a windows laptop with the same specs, or at least that is what I have seen in previous experiences.
Take care!

#2 My Thoughts

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I wrote an article about the pros and cons of the Mac, as I see them at least, that you should read. In that article I state that the arrow keys will not move you through web content, but as of OS X 10.10,that is no longer the case. You can now use line, word, and character navigation in Safari just like in documents.

That article takes care of the accessibility, but I love the Mac platform/ecosystem for more than that. I love that all my Safari passwords, history, bookmarks, and even visited links sync between my Mac and phone; that notes, calendars, reminders, and even documents sync automatically; that the Mac's default applications are much more powerful than those on Windows; that Apple stands behind their products, offering support even if you don't have Apple Care; that Apple hardware tends to last longer and resell for more; that you can "quick look" files in Finder without opening them; that, with sighted help, you can add your signature to digital forms with the Mac's default PDF app; that when I open the Terminal, I have full Bash; and more reasons I'm not thinking of.

There are definitely downsides, though. Less apps are available (for instance, there is only one accessible Twitter client, and very few audio/accessible games), and, of course, you only have one screen reader. This means that, if you don't like the way the Mail app runs, you really have little choice other than just getting used to it. Sure, you have plenty of word processors or audio editors, but there are areas where the app choice is rather limited. Also, as I explain in that article, you are at the mercy of Apple's update cycle, so a bug that you consider serious may not get fixed for many months. Windows screen readers have faster update cycles, it seems to me, but they can be less stable.

All that said, and I know you don't want to hear this, it really does come down to what you need and what you know. I know a guy who proudly uses his Macbook Air to run Windows--he loves the hardware, but hates the Mac operating system. I'm on the other end of the spectrum: I love both, and hate using Windows whenever I have to do so to help someone or to access something that refuses to play nice with the Mac. I used to hate the Mac, but now I love it, because I had time and patience. If you don't have a lot of time to spend giving OS X a truly fair chance, you won't like it because it's so different. Like any radical change, it will be hard at first, and you'll hate and resent it. Just remember what all it can do, and remember that you will interact with it in a totally different way than you did Windows.

As to whether you should get a Mac or not? Only you can answer that. Is the cost worth the better hardware and support, the independence that comes with such a deeply integrated screen reader, the power of OS X, the integration with your iOS device(s) and the other advantages? Is it worth putting up with slower and less accessibility-centric updates, less compatibility with the Windows world, and fewer apps to choose from?

#3 Well engineered but...

Hello,

It all really depends on what you want or need to do. With a Mac, you can run OSX and Windows simultaneously. INSTALL A vm SUCH as Parallels then install Windows. You can then install ZoomText or Jaws. Just remember you will need to purchase the additional software.

The previous post points out plenty of good things about the Mac. They are well engineered and overbuilt. I still have my dual CPU Mirror Drive Door and with the exception of a noisy fan, still work flawlessly. This brings me to my next point. While the hardware is great, the software scheme Apple has on it’s OS support baffles me. For instance, I can only install 10.8 on an 8 year old MBP while I can install 10.9 on a 10 year old HP workstation that I know will also run Yosemite.

Anyway, sorry for being a lousy salesman as I haven’t sold a burger in a long time. I suggest you purchase the best hardware you can. The fastest CPU, the biggest hard drive and SSD if possible. This way, you will be better prepaired for the next big app and have a better resale value if you decide to sell.

Good luck!

#4 The Mack

Hello.
I've been a windows user all my life, and got a Mack in June of 2014. I was very excited to get it and play with it. I'm not going to lie, but it was a challenge. For one thing, MS Word is not accessible. The good thing is that there is an Iwork sweet on the Mack that comes free with every new device or computer after September 1, 2013. It is definately a learning curv, but like the comments before me, if you have time and patients to call Apple and talk to them, then you should get a Mack.
The great thing with Apple is their support. You can pick up the phone, send an email, or look on line for support. I love the Mack because of the smoothness and slickness of the Mack. I love the OS, because I've used Ipads and Iphones for years. If you know the Ipad and Iphone, the Mack is somewhat similar.
I love the two-in-one-deal. When you get a Mack, you are paying a two in one deal. That is, if you don't need additional resources like storage or whatever. The point is that you don't need to pay one thousand dollars for a screen reader plus 400 dollars for the computer. It is expensive, but you are getting a great deal plus the accessibility right out of the box.
It all depends on what you need to help you in your daily life. As for me, I'd never go back. I've began to not like Windows.
Hope that helps.
Have a nice day

#5 Me too...

Hi All,

I have just ordered my Mac, after 30 years with MS DOS / Windows... I haven't received it yet and don't know anything but what I have read / heard about Mac OS. I made my decision based on these 3 elements:
a.- in the high-end range, Mac isn't really more expensive than its Windows competitors,
b.- Mac is in fact a very powerful Windows computer if you still need one and,
c.- Mac is the only computer running under Mac OS with its fully free and integrated accessibility.

I also have to mention that I have been a happy iPhone and VO user for several years... With some "restrictions" about iOS 8!

Thanks to the applevis team...

#6 Out-of-the-Box Accessibility

I think others have pretty much summed it all up. I got my MBA at the end of 2013, and no I'm not talking about a degree here lol! But I love the out-of-box accessibility. I got mine at an Apple store, and the salespeople helping us out were very friendly and knowledgeable. In addition, my mom and I went back there for a training session and the guy was fantastic. I have a sister who is also a VoiceOver user now, and she and a tutor have been working with the same trainer. But back to VoiceOver itself. It does take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of things I think you'll find it to be very good. I sure have. I'll admit I was less than enthusiastic about ditching Windows in favor of a Macintosh computer, but I love it. Sure there are downsides as others have pointed out already, and ultimately the choice is yours to make. But this website as well as a few other resources have been extremely helpful to me. Hth and take care.

#7 My own Mac reasons.

Hi Joseph. Short and sweet, Dell laptop kept dying, even after i spent tons of money, on the sure, we'll come fix it for nothing, you know the deal. Finally it * the bed, it was out of warranty. Do I figure out what's up with it, put more money into it and have it die? My inspiron I had before was crap, too. forget what the last one was. So I'm looking at comps, you know something ight signal you, oo that new iPad looks great, or, I'll get so much more video watching done on that bigger iPhone six plus? Nothing called to me. So I jumped face first into the Mac world. I'm actually considering finding a good windows pc to be in touch iwth that side of things too. The only problem is, what to find. A few drawbacks. For a laptop, only one jack, so it has to be either earphones, or a mic, there's no separate one for both 3.5m jack. The newer macs don't have a cd drive, it's another eighty bucks. I fyou go for an air, they don't have large hard drives, though they have flash memory if i'm not mistaken. You can have windows on the other side of the hard drive. One last thing, if you go to the Mac, I beg you, don't go back to windows because something's tough, you don't know how to do things, you like word better. Sorry a bit longer then I thought. :P

#8 using macs concurrently with windows

Frankly, I'm not a fan of people that say that one should jump "head first" into a mac world. I'm a computer science student, and most of my work has to be done on the windows side of things as the compilers required for my coursework only work on windows. Moreover, you won't get far in a corporate environment on a mac as MS sharepoint is also not supported. In short, macs are great for recreational use, and the occasional word processing. for true productivity, windows still has the mac beat hands down.

#9 Love and Hate

Here's the thing for me, I love my Mac but can't really advise on purchasing one at the same time. As others have said, there is really no way around it, you have to decide based on your own needs. My work using spreadsheets and pdf handling is better on the PC, especially with recent improvements in NVDA, but my mac feels nice to the touch and I like messing around on it. For me it is the difference between working and playing.

#10 Productivity

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Don't be to quick to relegate the Mac to a "play" machine only. For spreadsheets, you have the (free) Numbers, and no, you can't compile for Windows on the Mac, but neither can you compile for Mac on Windows. There are also cross-platform options, like Python. Of course, if your classes require the use of specific languages and apps, that's a different matter. Even then, you don't need a second computer: Bootcamp, VMWare Fusion, and even VirtualBox (inaccessible except at the command line) will all let you run native Windows right on the Mac. Essentially, with a Mac you can have both worlds, but with Windows you can only have Windows.

#11 I agree with Alex

I agree with the last comment. You really do get the best of both worlds if you install Windows into Bootcamp or a virtual machine.

As for productivity, what is so bad about OS X? I use OS X every day in school, and yes, I'm still in mainstream public education. What's the difference if I use OS X with VO or Windows with NVDA and Microsoft Word? Seriously, I'm getting tired of this attitude that the Mac is not for doing actual work. The only thing I would think would be hard is putting images into power points and such, but I don't even know how to do that on Windows. Besides, the iWork applications feel a lot snappier than Microsoft Crap, AKA Word.

So seriously, can someone tell me where this idea comes from?

#12 I pick Mac, because it isn't

I pick Mac, because it isn't Windows. I tried going back to Windows to get away from the stupid OS X bugs and the increasingly inflexible software. It wasn't pretty. Using Windows makes me painfully, and acutely, aware of why I was so quick to get away from it in the first place. I guess I'll keep trying. But the irony, that for me I came to OS X for its promise of universal access and access to a talking Unix for development at a time when Xcode wasn't even nearly accessible, even as Visual Studio is now more inaccessible than ever, and ended up converting to Mac after trying to like Vista operated from a BootCamp partition for the purpose, has not entirely departed me.

While I'd agree that virtualisation is often a solution to get Windows software going on your Mac, I'd also caution that it effectively constitutes proof of failure in OS X accessibility. As an option, objectively, you can't go wrong with it, but as an endorsement, it could hardly be more damning. I personally don't need productivity software, but if you did, and if you spent a lot of time in it--a student, say, or an office admin worker--you should think carefully. On the other hand, if you happen, as I do, to spend a lot of your time administrating Linux and other networking gear, OS X is the productivity solution. Regardless, an objective thinker would try to reconcile their need for such software with the other platform, because it's in your own best interest to have more choice and not less. In OS X, Pages/Numbers/Keynote exist and are quite usable now; on Windows, you can use a Linux VM and ssh to get a good Unix environment.

#13 My Own Thoughts

Hi!
As a PC user who has just jumped ship (I'm talking a week ago), I can sort of offer a fresh perspective.
As Alex has said, even though you don't want to hear it for this particular thread, it really does come down to what you know and are willing to learn. I spent the greater part of two-three months reading EVERYTHING about the Mac: I read posts and guides on here countless times, listened to introductory podcasts, you name it. I also went to an Apple store twice and spent time playing around with the Mac, attempting to apply what I had learned in my reading. With that said, I have ditched my Windows PC for the most part (sort of had to because it wasn't letting me do quite a few things), and the switch wasn't hard for me.
One thing I don't think people have mentioned yet is the beautiful commanders, located in the VoiceOver utility. There were a few things I missed about JAWS, such as the ability to navigate right to buttons or checkboxes with the press of a single key. However, in the case of links, I use the normal command (VO-L), and don't give it a second thought anymore. I have created several commands on the trackpad commander to get me to edit fields, checkboxes, so on and so forth. :) So that is one thing: the Mac lets you create commands so you can better interact with VoiceOver and your system as a whole.
Another great thing is the ease of syncing. If you already own an iPhone, you'll find that everything syncs extremely easily--mail, messages, etc. I have gotten into the habit of replying to text messages on my Mac as opposed to having to pick up my phone and/or Braille display in order to reply.
Another wonderful thing I've found is that, if an app was to crash, VoiceOver's speech isn't affected as it is in Windows using JAWS. VoiceOver simply says "busy", and you can tab away from the application and come back to it to check on it. I was always getting annoyed with JAWS because if Internet Explorer or Firefox was to crash, my speech would be taken, too, and I'd have to restart the computer.
There is also the ability to run both Mac OS X and Windows on the same computer, by using either Boot Camp or something like VMWare Fusion. That was, for me, one of the biggest selling points: I could use OS X whenever I wanted, but if something happened to not play nice with VoiceOver and I knew it did with JAWS, I could simply switch right to Windows, without needing to carry two computers.
Going back to my earlier point, though, OS X is great (and has a few limitations, of course), but it all depends on how willing you are to learn a new operating system. It also helps to listen to demonstrations and read guides so that you can sort of prepare yourself in advance. Also, if you have an Apple store near you, playing with a Mac would be ideal, as I did.
I apologize this was so long, but I hope it helps you decide!!
Good luck!

#14 A few other pointers I forgot

A few other pointers I forgot:
The link command is VO-command-L.
Also, I was under the impression that VoiceOver and Pages weren't an adequate solution for word processing, and I had expected to run into several issues (which was why I carried my clunky PC and my Mac to school the first day after I bought my Mac). I was surprised to find that Pages actually works really well (and I find it works better than JAWS and MSWord in terms of learnability), and when I went to export a file into .docx, my professor told me that the formatting didn't look off at all. And another commenter talked about putting images in powerpoint: I have no idea how to do that, either, and I never did even in Windows. I'm now a college student, and professors actually tell you not to put images in Powerpoints. lol
I do have to point out another thing, though: I think you should only use Windows with your Mac if something you absolutely need isn't accessible, or to brush up on your Windows screen reader knowledge if you so choose. The only reason I say this is because if you have Windows to lean on, you won't give OS X a chance to prove itself. It's partly why I jumped in head-first, because I knew that if I kept browsing the web on my PC because I knew that environment better, I would never learn Safari. That strategy actually benefited me; it's been a week and I feel very comfortable on my Mac. Now, that strategy may not be practical for everyone--you should only do it if you'll have some time to play around with it. I'm simply saying that as a long-time Windows user myself, I had to sort of cut the ropes as it were and break away from what I was comfortable with if I wanted to learn OS X.

#15 working on windows VS the mac

Hi,
One has to be a full time student immersed in significant word processing to truly appreciate this. The list of things that pages does not offer compared to word is quite extensive. some examples of these are mark downs. I know it can be donenin pages, but in my opinion, its not as intuitive as it is in word. the other problem I have with pages is page boundaries. this is probably the most annoying bug that I've ever seen in a word processor. This ultimately means that one is not able to select text consistently in documents consisting of multiple pages. In word, this does not exist. the other thing that pages does not offer is working with advanced formatting, Ie formatting for scholarly papers, and projects wherein the formatting has to be exactly so. Moreover, working with text IE line spacing, fonts, font sizes etc can be done with a single key stroke in word on windows. In pages, this is not even remotely the case. And finally, PDF access on the Mac as a whole is an absolute joke. I do not want to purchase a very expensive OCr app just so I can read journal articles. for someone that works with Pdf as much as I do, this limitation is a major drawback which prevents me from adopting the mac as my full time productivity solution. On windows, working with PDF files are extremely easy. both word 2013 and accessible apps offer PDF reading and rendering solutions which far exceeds any accessible solution on the mac.

#16 my reasons

So I wanted to comment. I was also a long pc fan but when I moved out on my own a few years ago my computer crashed and with no sighted assistance it became a brick. Granted I could have took it somewhere it frustrated me. I bought a mamacbook air and I'm not a heavy computer user, anymore but now I use mine all the time with audio hijack. I have been recording everything. I've never seen such a sim[ple recording tool.

#17 Which is why you have things

Which is why you have things like Virtual Machines and Bootcamp for Mac. And, also, I find the word "intuitive" is very subjective--what you find easy or hard will probably not be so for someone else. So, honestly, we can all give the original poster 101 reasons why the Mac is great and others will probably fire back with another 101 reasons why it isn't, but the only way you will know for sure whether a Mac will fit your needs or not is if you try one out and/or purchase one yourself. I've heard of people buying Macs solely for the hardware; they'll install Windows on it via Bootcamp and will never touch OS x. And the argument that Windows PC's are cheaper is only half true. They are, but mostly lower-end specs will be what you will get. If you compare Mac prices and specs in relation to, say, Alienware or high-end HP's, you will get very similar pricing.

#18 Hi,

Hi,

I have had my mac for almost two weeks.
The mac is different so I'd suggest you think about your immediate computer needs.
What do you do that you will need to keep doing right away?
I was most concerned about my job.
I use text edit to take notes and can use my iPhone for everything else. This was especially true if I don't know how to do something on the mac.
The point that sold me was the best of both worlds argument too though.

Hth,
Liz

#19 Hi

Hi all.
So the thing that drew me to the mac was the compatibility between windows and mac os.
I am able to run both successfully on a daily basis.
I will say this, if you rely on pdf formatting, the mac isn't the right way to go. I find myself having to use windows for just reading pdf files.
I will say, if you want to just open and read a pdf you can use nisus writer express, which costs 45 dollars.
Other then that, i just use windows to play audio games.
I use the mac to compose papers for school, use blackboard, and sometimes a webpage will work much nicer.
Hope any of this helps you and enjoy your mac if that's the way you end up going!

#20 4 days with my Mac

Got it and love it!

From VO to dictation, a wonderful hardware, and definitively designed for low-vision and blind users... Everything is stable, smooth and clean. The Retina screen is incredibly sharp.

I do recommend this wonderful machine to everyone... I think I fell in love again ;).

#21 i like the mac

hi i like the mac for the following reasons
1. its easy to set up just hit command f5
2. i do recording and like logic pro x for making music

#22 ZoomText and Mac

Like Joseph; I am also considering moving to a Mac. I did 'live' in the Apple world until I became legally blind. For the past ten years using a PC and ZoomText. My question for ZoomText users: I would like a laptop for travel and a "dock" at home with my large monitor. I use 12X magnification. I would love some feedback from ZoomText users as to what (if any) laptops they are using.
Thank You
Bob Purvis
Sitka, Alaska