The software list for Mac OS X just five years ago was anemic and a bit sad. Since then, the Mac has gone through Jaguar, Panther, and Tiger.
Leopard may be just a month or two away. What a difference a few years can make. Is Mac software the best ever? Yes. And getting better.
The transitions that Mac users have made in five years is remarkable, too. Early versions of Mac OS X, while relatively stable compared to Mac Classic, ran slow on PPC Macs.
IBM’s G5 chip sped things up a bit, and subsequent versions of OS X seemed to improve overall performance, at least until the Macs with Intel Inside. Macs are fast these days.
These days also bring Mac users more software than ever. Not just titles, but innovative, inspired, and useful Mac software, the likes of which we’ve never seen on the Mac in over 20 years.
What’s interesting, too, is the price differential—the paradox of pricing habits on the Mac. Apple gives us iLife and a host of useful utilities to make the out-of-the-box Mac experience a good one.
Years after their introduction, Windows users really have nothing quite like iPhoto, iMovie, iDVD, Garageband, and iWeb.
The Mac comes with Mail, iCal, Addressbook and other utilities to switchers started on the road to recovery.
Since Tiger debuted nearly two years ago, the Mac has seen a rising flood of quality software that fills in where Apple leaves off, and extends the so-called digital hub concept. Plug something into the Mac and it usually just works.
My claim to legacy Mac software is an aging copy of AppleWorks. I can’t recall the last time I used AppleWorks for anything other than opening up someone else’s older AppleWorks document.
What I use more these days is Apple’s own Pages and Keynote, part of the iWork ‘06 package from Apple, a mere $79, the same price as iLife ‘06, assuming you didn’t buy a Mac to get the upgrade.
Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite have yet to make their full debut on Intel Macs as Universal Binary applications, but that doesn’t seem to hurt sales at all. Both suites run OK on Intel Macs and market share has increased about 50-percent in the past year.
My Mac is loaded with software that does more but not necessarily for less. There’s a trend toward healthy, capable software on the Mac—matched by a trend toward healthy prices, too.
I love iShowU. It’s the best Mac screen capture application available for recording movies of what you do, while you narrate what you’re doing.
Is there a simpler, better tool for backing up your Mac than SuperDuper!? We sing the praises because basic cloning is free, but SuperDuper! does scheduled backups, incremental backups, and more. For a price.
Mac software is often a matter of taste, though the taste of some utilities is better than others. Take DragThing. One click to just about anything on my Mac, documents, applications, utilities, folders, whatever.
Not to be forgotten in this flood of Mac innovation and software improvements is the fact that Mac software has developed well beyond the days of nag-ware and shareware. Mac software costs money these days.
Many Mac software developers not only charge for the privilege of using their creative works, but they charge for upgrades, too. Few of us, except maybe Mac360’s Jeffrey Mincey, would be put in the poorhouse because of our quest to fill up a hard drive.
I know. He said he was going broke using the Mac, but I know for a fact that it didn’t happen. Maybe after OS X Leopard launches later this year.
My area of expertise at Mac360 is to hold on to the title of Value Vixen and find those superbly crafted nuggest of Mac software goodness that don’t cost much. As in free. Of course, I have my Top 10 Favorite Free Mac Software. Is yours on the list?
Earlier this year Carol Miler wrote about a way to dump Intuit’s annual Quicken tax in favor of something that does budgets the old fashioned way. Easy. To counter that gem, I found the best RSS reader on the Mac, and it’s free. Can you say, Vienna?
Skype finally figured out how to do video conferencing on the Mac and the result is an excellent Mac utility that works nearly as well as iChat but works with Windows users, too. It’s free.
Organizing your life on a Mac has never been easier and the list of tools that do all but guarantee an organized life continues to grow. Now I need something to help me organize the organizers on my Mac.
Truly, Mac software is flooding the market, washing away the old stndards and metaphors for productivity, and giving us tools that do more, but not necessarily for less. It’s more difficult to find excellent Mac tools for the price of free beer.
What’s on your list of the best new Mac application you’ve ever seen? Share it with others in the Comments section below.