I have been studying and reading up on VoiceOver, the built in screen reader for Apple’s Leopard OS, and I am hopeful that this will be another blow in the battle for reasonable prices for adaptive equipment, particularly in the realm of screen reader software. JAWS costs from $900 to $1100, and even the outstanding and much more reasonably priced System Access is still $499. This is quite reasonable in the field, but the question in my mind is- just how good does a screen reader need to be to make up the difference between free and $499 or $1100? I would suggest good, but not amazingly good. Apple’s VoiceOver is, however, excellent. One can use a large number of braille displays right out of the box, and VO seems to work with the majority of programs needed on a computer very well. VO also seems to have the backing of Apple to become even better. As VO progresses I strongly question the ability of At company’s to continually improve their products to the point where hundreds of dollars are justified, rather then simply buying an Apple.
Granted all of this is probably still years in the future, but if things progress as they have been I wonder if it isn’t a matter of five years as opposed to ten or fifteen. I certainly hope so.
I follow with the iced coffee…
Apple’s Accessibility Site