Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon and Facebook dominate the tech landscape. Their dominance is so broad they account for more than 20% of the S&P 500.
There are many things to admire about Apple’s hardware and software. Apple make great looking (albeit expensive) hardware. Over the years key successes include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and the MacBook Air. The company designs its own hardware and software. This gives them the power to make an operating system and suite of apps that are tailor-made and optimized for their hardware. Apple also operates the Apple Music and Apple TV media distribution platforms.
Mac OS X is Apple’s proprietary operating system for its line of Macintosh computers. Its interface, known as Aqua, is highly polished and built on top of a BSD derivative (Darwin). There’s a whole raft of proprietary applications that are developed by Apple for their operating software. This software is not available for Linux and there’s no prospect of that position changing.
Apple VoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.
VoiceOver is proprietary software and not available for Linux. We recommend the best free and open source alternatives.
Orca is a flexible, and extensible screen reader that provides access to the graphical desktop via speech and refreshable braille.
Orca works with applications and toolkits that support the Assistive Technology Service Provider Interface (AT-SPI).
The Liblouis software suite provides an open-source braille translator, back-translator and formatter for a large number of languages and braille codes.
It is a set of libraries designed for use in any of a number of applications, both free and commercial.
It is written in C so that it does not require a runtime environment and hence can be used in applications written in high-level languages such as Java and Python.
Liblouis is based on the translation routines in the BRLTTY screenreader.
BRLTTY gives a braille user access to the text consoles of a Linux/Unix system. It runs as a background process (daemon) which operates a refreshable braille display, and can be started very early in the system boot sequence. It enables a braille user, therefore, to easily independently handle aspects of system administration such as single user mode entry, file system recovery, and boot problem analysis. It even greatly eases such routine tasks as logging in.
Emacspeak is billed as a complete audio desktop. It is a speech interface that allows visually impaired users to interact independently and efficiently with the computer. Technically it’s not a screen-reader.
Odilia is in a very early stage of development. We’ll be monitoring its progress.
All articles in this series:
|Alternatives to Apple's Products|
|Bonjour is an implementation of zero-configuration networking; technologies that includes service discovery, address assignment, and hostname resolution.|
|Boot Camp is a utility that comes with a Mac which lets users switch between macOS and Windows. The utility also guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning.|
|Calendar is a personal calendar app supporting multiple accounts, colour code work, family and personal events, event support, as well as calendar invitations.|
|Chess is a traditional chess game played on a well rendered board with a set of realistic 3-D pieces. It's actually a Unix-based chess program, Sjeng.|
|Compressor is a video and audio media compression and encoding application with support for common formats.|
|Dictionary is a small utility that lets users easily get definitions of words and phrases from a variety of sources.|
|Disk Utility is a system utility for performing disk and disk volume-related tasks on macOS.|
|FaceTime is a videotelephony product for making video and audio calls. FaceTime forces many to stay locked into a proprietary world.|
|FileMaker is a relational database application with a graphical user interface and good security features.|
|Final Cut Pro is a series of non-linear video editing software programs. Log and transfer video, edit, process the video, and output to a wide variety of formats.|
|GarageBand is a line of digital audio workstations for creating music and podcasts offering a complete sound library.|
|KeyNote is a simple and elegant presentation software that's part of the iWork productivity suite.|
|Logic Pro is a Digital Audio Workstation and MIDI sequencer providing software instruments, audio effects and recording facilities for music synthesis.|
|Mail is a simple email client offering the ability to send, receive, and view email with good organizing capabilities.|
|MainStage is a music application designed for use in live performance. This software lets you run a live rig. Transform your keyboard, guitar, or vocal performance with an enormous collection of plug-ins and sounds.|
|Maps is a web mapping service that's available in over 200 regions around the world offering curated guides.|
|Messages is instant messaging software for sending messages, images, videos, and documents. There's location data and stickers.|
|Motion creates and edits motion graphics, titling for video production and film production, and 2D and 3D compositing for visual effects.|
|Notes is a notetaking app designed to jot down quick thoughts or to save longer notes filled with checklists, images, web links, scanned documents, handwritten notes, or sketches.|
|Numbers is a spreadsheet application which uses a free-form “canvas” approach that demotes tables to one of many different media types placed on a page.|
|Pages is a word processor that's part of the iWork productivity suite. It's marketed as an easy-to-use application that allows users to quickly create documents.|
|Photo Booth takes photos and videos with an iSight camera. iSight is a brand name used by Apple to refer to cameras on various devices.|
|Photos is a photo management and editing application. Organize your collection into albums, or keep your photos organized automatically with smart albums.|
|Preview is more than just an image viewer. The software provides a full set of markup tools. And it's a PDF editor.|
|Reminders is a task management program that allows users to create lists and set notifications.|
|Safari is a graphical web browser which uses the WebKit and Nitro engines. It's the default web browser for Macintosh computers.|
|Screenshot lets you take a screenshot of the entire screen, a portion of it, or an open window.|
|Shazam identifies music, movies, advertising, and television shows. There’s nothing more annoying than hearing a new song not knowing the identity of the artist.|
|Stickies is a small utility that lets users keep notes, lists and pictures in sticky notes on the desktop.|
|Stocks lets you view stock quotes, interactive historical data charts and current breaking business news.|
|System Information provides a system report containing detailed information about a Mac including its hardware specifications, networking interfaces, and installed software.|
|Terminal provides a command line interface to control the UNIX-based operating system that lurks below macOS.|
|VoiceOver is a screen-reader that tells you exactly what’s happening on your device.|
|Xcode provides developers a unified workflow for user interface design, coding, testing, and debugging. It supports source code for many programming languages including Swift, C, C++, Python, Ruby and more.|