And this is why I’m turning my back on my Apple MacBook Pro!
Back in 2020 I made the decision to go Mac, I wanted a new challenge! That being to learn a whole new hardware/software landscape, namely adapting to a new screen reader, Apple’s Voiceover for Mac. And 2.5 years on, I’m giving up on the whole Mac experience!
The beginning of the end started several months ago, I was web-browsing and my Chrome browser kept crashing. The dreaded “Chrome is not responding” was all Voiceover could say. And after doing a hard quit, the laptop would then give off this incessant notification chime, which would then disrupt all subsequent tasks. I thought to remedy the problem was to download the latest Mac OS Ventura, I thought once I had the latest operating system, all of these problems would be fixed!
But how wrong was I! The Chrome problem persisted after the upgrade, and then Safari (my alternate browser) had then developed a Voiceover bug, where it wouldn’t read headings from select web-sites, the most notable being Youtube. Ah! And the speech compatibility with Microsoft products got even worse! If that was even possible! The read all function in MS Word was faulty, so it would only read from the start of a document, and if you stopped speech midway and then recommenced reading, it would always start from the very start again. Not to mention, in particular documents, it would always stop speech at the same spot so you could never progress beyond that point. Which made the use of MS Word impossible. Absolutely impossible! And although speech with Excel has always been dodgy, but it got even dodgier! Voiceover would miss read critical numerical symbols in our household budget spreadsheet, reading negative values as positives. Which left me wondering, was my formula incorrect, or was it a Voiceover problem! And to get to the bottom of this issue, I had to open my spreadsheet on my work laptop which is Windows and runs JAWS screen reader, to confirm if it was me, or was it the crappy Apple screen reader! And no surprise, it was Voiceovers fault! And it would also read $10 in a column, as $10 Billion! And I had to reassure my wife, that I hadn’t spent $10 Billion on lunch the other week, but it’s just Voiceover, doing it’s silly thang again! Like honestly, how can an organisation the size of Apple allow such problematic software like this walk out the door, to be released for worldwide use!? How can a reasonably solid product in previous iterations, get this bad so quickly? After a seemingly straight forward software update?
And to add fuel to the fire, on that same weekend when I updated my MacBook to Ventura, I also updated the software on my Apple iPhone, and in the latest version of IOS there’s also a bug! So, now the jump by heading gesture in apps doesn’t work anymore, so to scroll through a list heavy app like Netflix you’ll have to go one title at a time, which has made it inoperable. But at least for IOS, they always release patches, so I’m confident that this problem is only temporary and would be fixed in the next few months. But imagine this, if there was a similar bug which hindered the user experience of all Apple users? To both Macs and iPhones! Guess what? This problem would be fixed the very next day! But because we, the blind user are a small minority group, I have absolutely no idea when this problem will ever be fixed for us! And to provide Apple with user feedback is tricky to say the least and trawling through chat forums to see if others are also complaining about this! Oddly enough, there hasn’t been much spoken about this from other Vision Impaired users of Apple products. At this moment, I can’t web browse, I can’t use a simple word processor, I have no confidence in my Excel calculations, and I can’t even use my Netflix app for pleasure! And using my work laptop after hours here and there, has left me guilt ridden. This Apple problem has literally disrupted my day-to-day life! The only thing I’m thankful for, is the fact that I don’t use my MacBook for work. If I did work for a company who used Macs, I literally be unable to do my job at the moment.
So, at the time when I purchased the MacBook, it was 2020, 9 months into COVID, and there were shortages of everything. The entry level MacBook Pro was sold out, so to avoid the long wait I purchased the one up model, and after purchasing a USB to USBC dongle, and an extra warranty agreement, the total cost was $3,169. And realistically it was way more processing power than I’d ever need, as my basic use was just web-browsing and excel/word processing. So, what really irritated me about all these problems, was the fact that I have a device which is super powerful, which I’m using only a fraction of its true capability. And what little I ask from it, it can not deliver! I literally have a $3,169 paper weight on my desk ATM. Argh!
So, the other day I made the decision, I’m done with the MacBook! And I went and purchased a low spec, student level Windows laptop. Yes, with a Windows device, I’ll either have to learn how to use MS Narrator or go crawling back to Freedom Scientific and cough up another $1,700 for the JAWS screen reading software. But at the moment I don’t really have any other choice. I just want to web-browse for pleasure, watch a few Youtube clips, maintain our household budget spreadsheet, and read a word file or two. Is that too much to ask for?
So, Apple, the last 2.5 years has been interesting to say the least. I’ve attempted to be one of those trendy Mac people. But after this 2.5 year experiment? I’m out! I’m done with it! I can safely say, I’ll never use another Mac device ever again! And I’m happily returning back to the fold of my fellow Windows users, call us boring, but at least their products work!
A disgruntled former Apple Mac user.