Time for a new computer; should it be a Mac?

Hardware & Accessories

It's about time for me to consider getting a new computer. Been running a Del desktop for about 8 years and it's still actually running decently for it's age, but naturally it is a bit slow. Thinking of doing the laptop and docking station thing this time around. So... The big question -- should I get a Mac this time around?

I have almost no experience with MacOS but have been using iOS and voiceover for years. I really like NVDA on my PC. Very configurable and handles a variety of situations. Can also be scripted and get add-ons. To those who have used PCs and Macs, which platform have you found the most accessible ?



Submitted by Chris on Friday, November 4, 2016


If it's something you'd be interested in trying/learning, go for a Mac. VoiceOver on OS X takes a little getting used to, but if you are patient and really want to learn, it's not so bad. If you get a Mac laptop like the Air, you can use the same gestures you use on your iPhone or other device to control the system.

I like Macs because I get far more independence than I ever had with a Windows machine. The ability to reinstall the operating system or troubleshoot issues completely independently is incredibly empowering. I don't need someone with working eyeballs to help me fix common computer issues that may come up and require booting into recovery or reinstalling the OS from scratch. I find it silly that Microsoft hasn't come up with a way to implement Narrator into the Windows PE environment so that we can do the same things in Windows world. There is no reason why they can't implement a copy of Narrator with common sound drivers into the install/recovery. If that is not an option, why not braille? Oh wait, Narrator doesn't support braille (even though they said braille was coming in the Anniversary update.) Speaking of braille, you can use that in all situations where you have VoiceOver. This means installing/repairing the operating system with braille and/or speech.

What Mac model are you aiming for? If you'll just use it for common day to day tasks, the Mac mini or MacBook Air might meet your needs. Before making your final purchase, I'd strongly suggest that you visit a local Apple Store and have a look at the different Macs. The customer service is fantastic and they will let you test the products for hours on end. I think I spent 3 hours at the Apple Store back in 2012 when I was looking at a Mac.

Finally, if you find that Mac OS X really doesn't work for you, you could always slap a copy of Windows onto the machine. From my very limited testing, Windows under BootCamp runs like a champ. If I were still invested in the Windows world, I'd say that my MacBook Air is the best Windows laptop I've ever owned. However, I have relegated Windows to playing audio games which are not available on any other platform. I'm dismissing Windows until Microsoft gets their act together and improves Narrator or creates a talking or braille accessible installer.

I'm sorry if this was all over the place. If you give some more information, I may be able to get a little more specific in my answers to your questions. What do you plan to do with your Mac?

Submitted by Luke on Friday, November 4, 2016

Thanks, Chris! That was awesome. yeah, I mostly use my PC as my home recording rig, so processing power and RAM are important considerations. i wanted a laptop so I'd have the option of portability if I want to record at a buddy's house or a live gig, etc but it will be home the majority of the time. Silly question here, but do docking stations exist for Mac laptops, so I can have the connectivity and ergonomics of a desktop while at home?

Submitted by Justin on Friday, November 4, 2016

So, it looks like you'd want to get a 15 inch Macbook pro with 16GB ram and max out the storage space as far as you can. Once the storage is maxed out, that's it. Theres no changing it later on. You'd have to send it back into apple or have an authorized repair place do the replacing of the drive. As Chris has said, there's a learning curve, but it's easy once you get the hang of the keyboard layout of Voiceover. I was a long time windows user, then made the switch to macOS in 2010 and have not looked back. Personally the Mac experience is great for my needs. Some use virtual machines, others have a dedicated windows box for there needs. I'd say, keep your windows machine incase the mac doesn't do something that you need/like.
HTH, and good luck!

Submitted by Maldalain on Friday, November 4, 2016

Greetings. If' you are into the world of academia don't get a Mac. Advanced formatting in Pages and TextEdit and recently in MSWord is horrible. Yet, Macs are always a good choice since you're able at anytime to use Bootcamp. Good luck.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Friday, November 4, 2016

Well, I have a Windows 10 computer and a Mac Book Pro from 2012. The Mac is doing great and I only spent about $80 to upgrade the RAM to 16 GB. Not a single problem that I couldn't solve myself in the years I have owned it. For the money the Mac is the more sound use of your money. At this time there are so many things that have been broken in Windows 10 for accessibility that I am left scratching my head in frustration more than I care to say. Oh, I hold certifications from Microsoft in Windows and have done adaptive technology support so I am not just spouting from my tail. This has been the most crazy release of windows ever. Also I don't think that the adaptive tech companies know what to do with Windows 10. The new web browser can't be used with JAWS, Window-Eyes, Narrator. NVDA reads a little of the Edge application but, you can't navigate the page properly. There are a great deal of parts of the Windows system that use the same controls as the edge application. In my opinion, we have just been forced to take about 5 to 7 years of regression in accessibility in the way of Windows. Sorry for the rant. Just did testing with Windows the other day and I am still trying to assimilate my anger and sense of loss. I just can't figure out how this slipped past the people who make things work for us. The 2 versions of JAWS sense the release of Windows 10 have not solved a single problem that I found. I don't use the Windows computer I have at all. I leave it up to my sighted wife to play with it. If things keep going in the same direction: I may try to get certified in Mac and IOS.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Friday, November 4, 2016

One good thing about sticking with Windows is that the good screen readers are third party, and as you said, they can be scripted. There are JAWS scripts and NVDA add ons for all kinds of stuff. Also since they're third party, they get updated a lot more, so new features are added and bugs are fixed faster. VDA has a new version come out 4 times a year, and FS is always putting out minor updates to JAWS in between the big releases. With VoiceOver, you have to wait until Apple updates macos as a whole, and there may or may not be VO things in it. What did we get new with VO in Sierra? A few new and changed commands and a way to stop that annoying "one row added" announcement in tables.

IMO Braille in macos is terrible. It's awesome with JAWS. haven't tried it with NVDA yet though. On the other hand, it is awesome to know that I could reinstall macos on my own if I had to, but I haven't had to do that with either of my MacBooks. So for me at least, better OS in general, macos. Better screen readers, Windows.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Friday, November 4, 2016

Please don't forget that KeyNote Numbers, and Pages are free with the Mac. Then think how much Microsoft charges for Office. Compatibility isn't as much of an issue as it once was. When you look at the price of a screen reading package, the price of software maintenance agreements, and other programs you have to pay for the Mac is a better option. Also don't forget that the dictation is accessible. You don't have to install a special program or scripts to get it to work. Oh, you don't have to train it much either. Yes you have to set it up, but that only takes at most 10 minutes or so. Yes it takes a while to switch to the mac, but the rewards are worth it. Never figured that I would sound like a Fan Boy, but here you are.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Friday, November 4, 2016

In reply to by Eric Davis

Wow, really? I was toying with the idea of getting a Windows tablet to to use with my braille display for more intensive stuff that I can't just do on my iPhone. Your post brings up a few questions though: I know Edge isn't accessible yet, but what else in win 10 is like that? I've only played with NVDA a little bit on a friend's laptop. What in win 10 doesn't work well with JAWS. In theory at least, I could control everything with my Focus display, and that is very tempting. Interesting perspective you have as someone with an MS certification. Can you elaborate?

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, November 4, 2016

Hello. As always seems to happen, this seems to have slipped into the relm of Windows is better then Mac, debate. Long story short, i bought a Mac when my old Dell, was dead and I wasn't shoving more money into it. Since then, I've seen Windows seven, eight, and now ten come out. I have a windows ten laptop O bought cheap haven't touched it. Not really anyway. So you want to do live recordings? i'm thinking Amadeaus, sorry I got that wrong, might be the answer. Audio editing to my knowledge is usable on the Mac, I don't know much about this though. Perhaps, you should tak to someone like David woodbridge, who has some very well done professionally done podcasts, both here and on his site. If you can use an iphone, you are halfway to learning the Mac interface. I use the trackpad all the time, flicking, swiping and tapping, you can't do that at all on a Windows box. I'm pretty sure those touch sensitive areas screw around with the screen reader of choice. You'll have good and bad things with any operating system you choose, so just go test it out yourself, see what happens.

Submitted by Jake on Friday, November 4, 2016

The subject of what does and doesn't work in Windows 10 is a subject for another forum, I would think. For now though, know this: if you're going to use win 10, stick with NVDA. It's the only thing that will read everything reliably, especially in so-called modern apps.
I prefer my Mac. I got rid of my win 10 machine because it drove me insane with the random bugs (not accessibility related). I've no idea what one of the previous posters is talking about regarding wordprocessing, and said individual has generally not explained themselves when pressed on it. Know that I've done everything I needed to do, and I know someone who went through college using nothing but a Mac and VoiceOver and did just fine, research papers and all.
My recommendation, comparing these accessibility of Windows 10 and MacOS: If you want to try something new that, in my opinion, is a better overall experience, try out a Mac, and decide for yourself rather than what any of us might tell you. After all, you're the one who will be using it.

Submitted by Chris on Friday, November 4, 2016

This is just my opinion, but is the highest priced and speced MacBook Pro really necessary? The same goes for 16 GB of ram. I'd say 8 GB is plenty for most projects unless you'll be editing video or something graphically intense. The same goes for the quad core CPU. What's up with everyone getting the highest macBook Pro possible? Maybe it's just me, but I find that the MacBook Pro seems to be overrated in most situations. If you're just going to be doing a little audio recording and editing, a MacBook Air with 8 GB of ram and an Intel I5 or I7 processor should be just fine. Of course, this is my personal opinion. The things I do on my computer do not require that much power. I've been happily using my baseline MacBook Air from 2013 for the past 3 years and I've been fine. It's the machine with 128 GB of storage, 4 GB of ram and the 4th or 5th generation intel I5 processor clocked at 1.3 GHZ. Having said all that, the increase in storage might be worth investing in. YOu may want to bump that up to 512 GB of flash storage. If you've never experienced an SSD before, you'll be blown away when you get your MacBook as all the current models have solid state storage. So while I can agree on maxing out storage, why the idea for a 15 inch MacBook Pro with the maxed out processor, ram, and storage? Again, feel free to disregard this. This is my personal opinion ans I have no way of knowing what you plan to do with this thing. Still, is a quad core CPU with 16 GB of ram really necessary? The MacBook Pro is already incredibly expensive before you add all those upgrades. If you go for this, you're looking at nearly $3000 for your computer. If you're shooting for that, you might as well get a Mac Pro which has even better specifications.

Having said all that, I agree with Jake. You should go to an Apple store and experience all the Macs and make your own choice based on your individual needs.

Submitted by Luke on Friday, November 4, 2016

I have received some very helpful replies here and I truly appreciate each of them. I think next steps include researching various laptop models Mac and PC to feel out the market a bit since it's been a while since I've computer shopped, then visit the Apple Store to get hands-on with some Macs. Thanks again, everyone, for all your help.

Submitted by Ekaj on Friday, November 4, 2016

I had a Dell desktop and a Dell laptop too. The laptop was okay, but it came pre-installed with a lot of crapware which I had a difficult time removing. This might've been why my hard drive and bios failed not once, but twice. Fast-forward to Christmas of 2013, when my parents got me this MacBook Air. At first I was rather skeptical and wanted nothing to do with it. But I have since learned a lot on here and love it. As others have stated, the fact that VoiceOver and all other accessibility features come standard on all of Apple's products is a huge win. Plus, it seems VoiceOver is only getting better as time goes by. At least this has been my experience. I help run the social media accounts for a local nonprofit organization, and I've found it very easy to do my work on here. Macs certainly have their weak points, one of them being the lack of a native .pdf solution that is accessible with VoiceOver. But I for one have thoroughly enjoyed mine thus far. Only you can make the final decision though.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Friday, November 4, 2016

1. mac Pro has not been updated in over 1000 days, so it's highly-discouraged one considers this;
2. PDF is VoiceOver accessible in Chrome, SKIM, and/or Preview

Submitted by Luke on Friday, November 4, 2016

Looking for some clarification on a couple recent replies. Someone said "Mac Pro" hasn't been updated in 1000 days. Do you mean MacOS? Someone else mentioned PDFs not being inaccessible on a Mac -- that's hard to imagine, considering they're accessible on iOS devices and on the PC.

Submitted by Chris on Friday, November 4, 2016

Joe, the MacBook Pro is Apple's higher end range of laptop computers. The Mac Pro is a very expensive desktop unit that starts at $3000 if I am not mistaken. The Mac Pro hasn't been updated since 2013. This computer starts out with I believe a quad core processor and goes all the way up to a 12 core CPU. It's waaaaay more power than I'll ever need. I get the feeling it's designed for businesses and companies that do a lot of video editing or something extremely graphics intensive.

I don't have too much experience using PDF files. I have generally avoided PDF files like the plague since most aren't accessible due to the contents being images instead of text. From what I can gather, Preview does an okay job at reading PDF files if they're reasonably accessible. Unfortunately, you can't use the arrow keys to read the contents of the document. You must use VoiceOver reading commands. This is an area that needs improvement. I've heard that it's not possible to navigate through forms in PDF files using VoiceOver commands. Having no experience using PDF forms, I really can't comment on this. If it's true, we should all write to Apple Accessibility and request improvements be made in this area. I also know that VoiceOver can't navigate headings and other items in documents when using programs like Text Edit or Pages. Again, the more people that write to Apple Accessibility instead of sitting here and moaning about how much bettter Windows is, the more chance we can make this a reality and make the Mac an even better platform. I know I praise the Mac, but there are things Apple could be doing to make it even better. Text navigation and PDF improvements are certainly good candidates for Apple to work on next. Instead of changing keystrokes and adding a couple new settings, Apple could be spending their time and resources on things that people will care about and use for productivity.

Bryan, e-mail me off list and I will tell you more. I must apologize to all of the people who read my post (rant). To clarify my statement about productivity software, I find that the iWork's applications are much simpler to work with these days than Office. Personal opinion here so please don't take my word for it. Do your own research so you can form your own opinion.

Submitted by david s on Saturday, November 5, 2016


I was in your shoes not too long ago and this is what I ended up doing.

I kept my HP Windows server and purchased a MBP. I connected both of them to a Belkin switch and used my existing keyboard, monitor and trackball. The only thing to do is keyboard mapping but that was no big deal.

I chose a MBP so I would have the ability to run both OSX and Windows via VM or Boot Camp while on the road. I would suggest getting the fastest CPU you can afford since it’s not upgradable. Get the Most RAM you can if the model you are looking at is not upgradable. Don’t worry about the SSC as this can always be upgraded as needed down the road. For the naysayers, check out macsales.com.

Apple stopped incorporating the docking ports on the Macbook a long time ago. If you want something like a docking station, what you will find are bases or platforms with the corresponding connectors found on the macbook. You will slide your macbook onto the base or platform and the video, power and other connectors will line up and connect. It’s not as pretty or compact as something from Dell or HP, but it makes disconnecting and connecting easy.

I’m not going into Windows vs. Mac since you already said it will be for home use.

HTH and good luck with your decision.

Submitted by Jeff on Saturday, November 5, 2016

I think the question one should ask is this: What can a Mac do for me that Windows cannot do?

Apple hardware is notoriously overpriced. This year I bought a Windows 10 laptop with an Intel I5 6th gen processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 250 GB SSD for under $700. It has 3 standard USB ports, 2 of them are 3.0; an SD card slot; Bluetooth and a touch screen. Oh, and a standard headphone jack. :)

One argument that I've heard is that Windows can be run on a Mac, but if you're going to run Windows and all that entails, then what's the point of buying the more expensive Apple hardware? What does it do for you?

I've also heard the argument that since they're using an iPhone, they want to stick with the Apple platform. There might be some advantage here, but it's my understanding that no MBP comes with a touch screen. It relies on a keyboard. Not a bad thing, but I suspect it's a different experience from using iOS on an iPhone -- probably more different than using a keyboard with Windows. I could be wrong because I don't speak from experience. Still, it's something you should ask yourself.

So, I think it comes down to evaluating whether a mac offers something you want that you can't get from a Windows computer. Perhaps the things you do on a computer are easier to do on a Mac, or perhaps not. You need to decide this for yourself and evaluate whether it's worth the additional expense.

Submitted by DJ on Saturday, November 5, 2016

Further to Jeff's comments re cost, Dell offer five years pro support WHEN PURCHASING a desktop AND IT is still considerably cheaper than the least expensive Mac with just a year's guarantee.

Also, I believe VO's keyboard functions is a steeper learning curve than it is with JAWS.

Recently, Sight and Sound assured me that JAWS 18 is fully compatible with Windows 10 apart from Edge which Microsoft are working on. That said, I can't speak from experience as I'm still running Windows 7 which is supported until 2020. Until then, plenty of time for me to consider my next purchase...

Submitted by Justin on Saturday, November 5, 2016

My thing is this. Mac hardware usually lasts longer than other hardware. They've designed it such that we can get 3 plus years of good solid use out of the machine. Over my 6 years of owning 2 MacBook pros, I have only had to replace a drive and fix the drive cable. That's it. Sometimes you get what you pay for! lol, I mean that in a funny sense, so don't take it other ways. Sorry! Anyway, take some time to go to the apple store, or better yet, if you've got a friend that has a mac, play around with it for a while.

Submitted by Jeff on Saturday, November 5, 2016

In response to Justin's comment above, I wouldn't consider 3 years to be anything to rave about. I have 2 Vista laptops here that are still running fine after more than 5 years and I've not had to repair or replace *any* hardware on either of them. In fact, it's usually advancement in technology that motivates hardware replacement. That's actually another argument *against* paying more for the hardware. If you're going to want to keep up with hardware technology, you're probably going to want to upgrade your computer long before it dies. If you pay half as much for the computer hardware, you can afford to upgrade that hardware twice as often.

Again, I think you need to take a serious look at what you use your computer for and what you expect from it. Then, decide which platform best meets your needs.

My wife hasn't used a Windows computer for her personal needs for a couple of years now. She uses either her iPhone or her iPad for everything. We don't own a Mac and she uses Windows at her job, but her iDevices meet her personal needs. I just don't think anyone can tell you which platform is the best for you. You need to decide this for yourself.

Submitted by Luke on Saturday, November 5, 2016

To the individual reminding me that this is a decision only I can make, that was assumed to be understood from the start . The goal of the post was mostly to get some insight from users of both platforms on which they feel is most accessible and why, not necessarily to have general Windows vs Mac discussions or have someone decide for me. Hope this better clarifies my intent. I've appreciated all the input.

Submitted by Apple Khmer on Sunday, November 6, 2016

Let's see...I need to be flexible for grad school and work. So I have an early 2015 Mac Book Pro. I run Boot Camp on it; so I can have both Mac OS and WINDOWS OS on it. It just all depends what you want and need to do. No one computer and/or OS is going to do everything better than the other.

Submitted by OldBear on Sunday, November 6, 2016

My only hard learned advice is no matter which option you choose for your main operating system, get familiar with other systems as fallback options; you never know when they might yank the rug out from under you. It might be a system that you can barely get what you need done on, but it's a lifeline: Chromebook, Linux USB thumbdrive on an old, used computer, Mac Mini with no monitor, etc, etc, etc.

Submitted by Toonhead on Sunday, November 6, 2016

I think given that this is an Apple-related website, that if you ask which is better, a pc or a mac, ...which do you think people are going to say? obviously, mac users are always going to recommend one because they love them. We humans have this neat way of spreading the love for things we love too. So, lets go back and look at your original post, and break this down with the things you listed that you do. You asked the question about which platform is the most accessible? Well, that all depends on the things you're actually going to do with said computer. In a later comment you mentioned doing recording at a friend's house, i'm guessing this is music-related? If this is the case, the mac is great for that, all the big recording studios today have used mac for years, pro tools and all that. if you do that often, then the mac might be something good for you, because it handles that task very well. If you only do that every so often and just use your pc for web browsing, email, and maybe Facebook and chat and other things like that along with listening to your music collection, then it's Windows for you, no question. Windows gives you so many more choices than a Mac does. With Windows, you can use NVDA, or any other screenreader you choose. With Mac, it's VoiceOver or nothing, yes Mac users i'm well aware of bootcamp. But, if you're going to spend over a grand on a computer, then it seems rather silly to only use it for Windows-related stuff. That'd be like buying a $1500 Windows machine which is outrageous! I am typing this message right now on a Windows 10 pc that I got back in August for just over $600, and this baby screams. It does everything I need it to and, contrary to popular belief, Windows 10 is probably the most stable operating system I've ever used. Yes, Edge is not working well with screenreaders, but I use Internet Explorer and Firefox anyways, so that's not a show stopper for me. Bottom line...you sound pretty happy with your current operating system, so why mess with what works? The only real reason I've ever found to switch to a new operating system is if you're truly unhappy with your current one. If Windows is crashing a lot and you're getting a lot of errors and the experience just isn't a good one, that's when I would start to consider changing. Just more for you to consider.

Submitted by Luke on Sunday, November 6, 2016

In reply to by Toonhead

So, the reason I am pondering getting a new computer is because the performance of my current desktop PC is starting to slow. The reason I am considering switching operating systems is, well, because it's obviously a convenient opportunity to do so if I'm replacing the computer anyhow. As some technical background, I am in advanced Windows user. I have been using that platform in some form or another since the mid 90s and know it like the back of my hand. That said, I have resisted moving beyond Windows 7 out of fear of accessibility challenges, especially in windows 10. The last time I used a Macintosh computer with any regularity was about 20 years ago in high school, at which time I had enough vision not to require any screen readers or magnifiers. I haven't used a Macintosh as a blind person, but I have had such a stellar experience on iOS that I thought it was worth considering an Apple Computer as an alternative to windows. Frankly, I am content sticking with windows if version 10 is not too much of a pain for screen readers. That is the option I was leaning toward, but since this is an apple forum, I knew I could count on some great feedback and expertise from you guys about your experiences. Thanks again for everything

A couple of days before the new MacBooks were due to be announced I visited an Apple Store here in Glasgow and, with the help of an assistant, picked out the MacBook Air I wanted. As the price usually drops when the new range is announced we agreed it might be better to do the purchase in a few days time. I was excited because although I have owned several IOS devices it was to be my first Mac. Imagine my surprise when the price didn't drop, didn't even stay the same but went up by a hundred pounds. Further up the range some older models went up by several hundred. Apple seems to have taken advantage of the drop in the pound stirling to increase prices way in excess of the actual fall of the currency. Anyway, I've just ordered a very nifty i7 notebook with 16GB RAM and 500GB SSD and 1TB HDD. I spent considerably more than I was planning to on the MacBook Air but the Apple hike left me feeling the MacBooks are no longer worth the asking price here in the UK. Pity, I really felt ready to take the plunge into the world of Mac OSS.

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ultimately, this is a very personal decision and depends a lot on personal preference. So I can't tell you which you should do, objectively - all I can tell you is what I have done, and touch on some of the issues that have been raised along the way.

I was a lifelong Windows user until my last computer upgrade, not quite two years ago. My reasoning for going to Mac was ultimately out of a sense of increasing frustration with issues in Windows, and basically just thinking that there must be something better out there. Did I spend more on my MBP than I would have on a comparable Windows machine? Probably. But I went ahead ad took the plunge, confident in the fact that I could always run Windows in Bootcamp if I absolutely hated Mac OS, and would just be out the extra money.

That issue never presented itself. I do run Windows through Bootcamp for my work on a PC game I'm helping develop, and it works as well or better than any Windows machine I've had. But other than that, I've never pined for the days of Windows. In fact, apparently I grumble about my Windows machine at work more than I realize, because for an early Christmas present my wife bought a Mac mini off a friend and gave it to me to use in the office. Again, it's not that I couldn't use Windows. It was the frustration of losing the ability to use my machine when the screen reader would freeze up or crash while browsing the Internet; it was all the random junk running in the background of my machine that I never knew about, because the manufacturer thought it would be a good idea to add lots of miscellaneous control panels and whatever else that nobody needs or uses. It was my growing affinity for the way keyboard commands and navigation function on the Mac, and my frustration trying to do things on Windows only to realize that I can't. It was consistency in the way Voiceover focus works compared to certain inconsistencies with NVDA/mouse/cursor focus in Windows. Lots of little stuff that apparently I grumbled about enough that my wife decided I'd be happier with a Mac in the office.

And you know what? She was right. I should address the issue of hardware here: my Windows machine was very nice. In fact, it's about twice as powerful as my Mac mini in terms of processor speed and RAM. Yet I am as happy with my Mac's performance, in general, and happier with certain aspects. I think part of this is the fact that Mac hardware is tailored to work with Mac software, whereas Windows suffers from the fragmentation that occurs from different manufacturers all working with the same OS. All that I know is that I am as productive, or more, with a machine that's half as powerful as my old machine.

As for my home use, I'm currently pursuing a Master's degree online, which is basically all done on my MBP (except for reading Kindle books which I tend to do on my phone.) Nothing has been a problem thus far, and I am fairly confident that a lot of the web-based work would be causing me more difficulty on Windows. And for the record, I have to read a LOT of pdfs. I do wish I could navigate by paragraph, but other than that, getting all my reading done, interacting with the text to figure out spelling, etc., has not been a problem. The only problems I've encountered have been occasional formatting issues in one of my books which had sidebars. I don't think it was any better on Windows, though. It may have been worse - I can't recall.

So, that's my story. I suspect it's very similar to that of many Mac users you'll talk to. In closing, I'd ask you to consider this question: Obviously, people will tend to recommend the OS they are using, because they're most comfortable with it. But how many people have you heard with the similar story of long-time Windows use, migration to Mac, and never looking back? Now how many (or few) have you heard who were long-time Mac users, but were driven away to Windows, and are so much happier over there? If there are more of the former than the latter, maybe there's a reason for that.

I heartily recommend you get as much hands-on experience as you can before making your decision. Read up on Mac keyboard commands first, and remember there are going to be settings tweaks you can make which make things more streamlined than when you first fire up VO at the store. If you have a friend who'd let you do an extended test-drive of their Mac, take advantage of it. Either way, I hope you make a decision you're happy with, and get the machine that best meets your needs.

Submitted by Luke on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

@Joseph Westhouse,
That was a great post and addressed many points I was wondering about. Here's a specific followup question that your reply brought to mind. Since you mentioned you're an NVDA user, you're probably aware it has a mouse echo feature which reads aloud the item under the mouse pointer. This feature is critical for me, as I've found that sometimes the text of a given element or control is not accessible through any other means. I use a screen magnifier in tandem with the screen reader and I have enough vision to position the pointer at the thing I need announced to me, and I use this technique often. Does MacOS VO have a mouse echo option?

Submitted by Toonhead on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Like I said in an earlier post in this thread, Windows 10 is the most stable operating system I've ever used, at least in my use case. I use Internet Explorer and Firefox for Web browsing, sometimes some sites just work better with Firefox so I use both. I use both NVDA and Window-eyes for screenreaders, Winamp for music, Thunderbird for email and play a few audio games here and there. I also use Dropbox to send and receive files and Station Playlist Studio for internet broadcasting. What I've found with my use of Windows 10 since August is that yes, sometimes things will crash. But the great thing about Windows 10 is that it's more intelligent. if a core part of the OS crashes, it simply restarts the process, and you can get on with what you were wanting to do. it's a lot better than in Windows 7 where a crash would take the entire machine down forcing a reboot. If I had to only pick one thing I wish was different about Windows 10 is the way it installs updates. Microsoft has decided that you must install updates at some point. It's probably easier for them and their tech support department if everyone's on the same version of things or close to it, which is understanding, but it's still a bit of a pain. So, when I have a free moment i'll install the updates during the day time, because i'm one of these weird guys who has this thing where I want to be the one who decides when updates are installed. Old habbits just die hard. But overall, it's very stable. I can go for weeks at a time without rebooting it, and the machine runs very fast. So, if that's what you're used to, why mess with success? I will say that becoming familiar with other operating systems is a really good thing, though so that'll really help you make a good solid decision. Just know that Windows 10 isn't as terrible as other people say it is. Some folks say it's the worst thing Microsoft has ever done, but I'm on the other end and I think it's the best. I have met no accessibility challenges yet. Edge isn't really usable, but like I say I use other web browsers, so that doesn't bother me in the least.

Submitted by Chris on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

VoiceOver can read items under the mouse. However, I don't particularly find this feature useful. I very rarely have ot use the mouse cursor except in a couple of places where VO commands or the standard keyboard focus in OS X won't work. YOu also have commands to move the different cursors to one another which is very helpful. For example, if I need to click on an image to access something, I press VO Command F5 to move the mouse to the VoiceOver cursor and then press VO shift space to perform a mouse click. You also have the option to have all the cursors track each other. I.e, When you move the VoiceOver or standard Mac keyboard cursors, the others follow if possible. This is one thing I immediately loved about Mac. I didn't have to learn a complicated cursor like the Jaws cursor or NVDA object nav to read dialogues and windows because I learned to use the VO cursor from the get go. Having said all that, you can use the Macintosh OS with standard keyboard commands. However, you're going to miss text in windows and dialogues just like in Windows.

Submitted by Luke on Tuesday, November 8, 2016

OK. Folks have made very compelling arguments in favor of both Windows and Mac OS, so the only thing left to do is really find out for myself, first hand. This whole time I had completely forgotten that my wife in fact owns a Macintosh laptop of some sort. I think it is only a few years old. So there is my opportunity to try out macOS. I am on windows 7 currently but I think I will install windows 10 on a separate partition to test drive it. Thanks again, everyone!

Submitted by Joseph Westhouse on Wednesday, November 9, 2016

To echo (ha) what Chris said, I very rarely use the trackpad at all. I don't even have a mouse in my office (which annoys my coworkers for some reason). In fact, this is one case of the small headaches I sometimes have with NVDA that Mac has saved me from. Sometimes I would have a similar use case to yours, where the only way to access something was to float the mouse over it - usually on a website. Fairly frequently in Windows, I would navigate to the item in question with NVDA, then route the mouse to my position, only to find that it wasn't where it needed to be. Upon exploring with the mouse, I would find that the item in question isn't actually visible on-screen, even though NVDA would read it, meaning I can't actually float the mouse over it. I have yet to have this problem with the same website, on my Macs.

That is great that you have the opportunity to do some extended test-driving on a Mac. Should make your decision much more informed, which is always a good thing. I'm happy to share any further experience as you work on getting familiar with VO and the new OS.

Submitted by DJX on Friday, November 11, 2016

*disclaimer, I'm speaking from my experience as a home studio owner and custom computer systems builder and A+ certified repair tech.*

While many use macs for recording, it depends how serious of a recording rig the OP needs. For something that has full and most complete accessibility, Windows has a few good compelling option, such as SONAR (though a bit outdated), and recently Samplitude has also become available under JAWS. He also mentions that he knows windows 7 well, and like someone else mentioned, if you know the OS well, why bother going to something completely different? As someone who uses Windows Linux and macOS on a constant basis (and for a wide variety of tasks), I can say that every OS has it's good and bad, and depending on what task you need to perform one OS can be better than the other. Accessibility under each OS is something to consider carefully and research deeply according to what your needs are/will be.

You can use Logic and Garage Band under mac, but this is a complete different environment, and the system is nothing like jaws or NVDA and windows, so take the learning curve into account. ProTools is an option as well if you are running a home studio or doing advanced/serious recordings, but that depends on your recording needs; if you do allot of MIDI work, PT might not be the best choice. The time it might take you to achieve certain tasks is also going to vary in each OS and recording environment.

In my point of view, if you know windows well and the software you use for recording is under windows, get a good powerful windows 7 machine and stick with that if your work is serious. If you want to play around with a new OS and your recording stuff is something you do occasionally and don't mind a few curves, if you feel inclined to try a mac, do so. But I can say this, for the price of what you'll be getting for a mac, you could get a pc that can run both windows and mac, and has much more power! I'm speaking about a desktop here, I know you mentioned laptops, but again, if you are doing serious recording work you might want to reconsider the laptop idea no matter what OS/platform you choose.

Also, if you do get a PC, your best bet is to get a custom built machine and not an off the shelf machine. These are built with specific uses in mind, parts selection is carefully made so that everything works well together, and in the case of recording, those of us who build them make sure that your DPC latency and other crucial counts are as low as possible, for the best recording experience.

Finally, as a point of information, a windows PE version with sound drivers integrated exists. It was developed as part of the Bart PE comunity project. You can use NVDA to do your own system repairs and installs under windows with speech. I've been using my own custom disc for a long time now and can install and repair, troubleshoot and do just about anything to my machines with speech. This works for any OS starting with vista and above. I even include this Windows PE version and speech setup on the recovery partitions for the machines I build when I know the client requires speech feedback. I'm not sure if braille drivers would work, as I don't have a braille display to test it on, but since that's usually handled by the screen reader, I believe this should also work.

As you can see, the options are many and this is a good thing! :)

Submitted by Daniel Angus M… on Friday, October 27, 2017

Club AppleVis Member

so for audio editing, buy Logic Pro x. it is a professional digital audio workstation (DAW). it is first party by Apple. it works well and it's a good deal, considering all the MIDI patches that you get with it. support is their too, with Apple bouncing you from team to team, to get issue(s) resolved. Aumadaious pro cannot do much when com[aired to Logic Pro X