I don’t mean to grouse, but I’m a die hard gadget-loving fan girl so I don’t mind paying a price for Apple’s well known quality and value. Every now and then I come across a good app that’s free. More often, there are paid apps that are better. But I don’t like the current free-with-advertising trend in app land.
No Free Lunch Launcher
Once there was a wonderful Mac app launcher called, well, Launcher. It launches apps, lets you browse files, look up words, calculate, search the web, and gives quick access to common commands.
What once had a price tag is now free. No, the price wasn’t much. And free is better, right?
Not so fast. Free just doesn’t mean what it used to mean back in the day (before the Mac App Store introduced in-app purchases).
To be fair, there’s plenty to like about Launcher. Launch apps from the keyboard.
In fact, everything you can do in Launcher starts at the keyboard so it’s a very productive and efficient Mac app.
Quick Look. Copy Path. Reveal In Finder. Search search engines. Control your Mac or iTunes, or browser files and folders.
Launcher is actually easier to use than bouncing around to find apps in the Finder or Dock, and all the additional functions are of power user quality.
So, why am I squawking about something good and useful that’s also free?
Like I said, free has a different meaning these days. Launcher isn’t free in the sense that it has no price tag but you can use it to your heart’s content.
Launcher is ad supported. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Sometimes free is a good way to get someone to try an app.
Ad supported applications put advertisements in your face in lieu of payment. But let’s call it what it is. It’s not free. Launcher is ad supported.
You could try LaunchMagic, another Mac app launcher with more eye candy, more features, but remains essentially an app that launches other apps (but also costs almost $20). Or, you could use Launcher and sit through a few advertisements for the privilege of not paying.
Now, that brings up another issue, and why I don’t mind a price tag on a worthy app. If I’m devoting both money and learning curve effort into using an app on my Mac, I want the app developer to stay in business (so I can continue to use the app, receive upgrades, support, etc.).
Free is nice and all, but also means you get what you pay for. Is there enough money in advertising on an app to keep the developer’s fridge full of food? I don’t know. But I worry more about free than I used to.