Sifting and sorting through the tens of thousands of Mac apps is not easy. For Mac360’s staff, we tend to review what we like and would use ourselves.
Even with up to 100 reviews a month, that’s a lot of searching. One tool we use to make the search for new and exciting Mac apps easier is the app database site MacUpdate. This week MacUpdate got a facelift. It’s Heidi Montag, not Joan Rivers.
Search, And Ye Shall Find
Remember back in the day when Windows PC users would say, “But there’s not much software for Macs, right?” Those days are long gone.
My Mac has over 300 non-Apple, non-Microsoft, non-Adobe apps, and that doesn’t scratch the surface of available Mac apps.
How does a Mac user find great new Mac apps?
It’s long, slow, cumbersome process to jump from site to site, downloading and trying out new apps or updates. Sites like Mac360 can review only a fraction of available apps.
There are three main Mac app search database sites. The old VersionTracker (which is now Mac Downloads, a part of PC-centric CNET). I Use This. And, MacUpdate. We use them all (and others). One is better and it has a new face.
A Search Is Easy On The Eyes
Most of us have a love hate relationship when it comes to search. There’s the initial anticipation of finding what we’re looking for, followed up by the disappointment of not finding what we want.
MacUpdate’s new design is easy on the eyes, and easier to use than any other Mac app search site. First, it’s not cluttered with umpteen dozen ads. Advertising makes the world go ‘round, so it’s necessary, not evil.
Second, the new design displays just the information you need about new or recently updated apps. The name of the app. A brief description. A star rating system. And a category (free, shareware, demo).
The light pastel design brings focus to the list of apps. Search tabs sort by Popular, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly, with a tab to expand the default list of 40 apps to 60 or 80. What’s not apparent in the new design is how to click to download the app or update. Hint: Mouseover the apps name for the pop up download link.
Clicking on the app name brings up a detailed page with more information about the app: Price, Visit Developer’s Site link, Download Now link, and a Screenshot.
What Users Say About Apps
At the bottom of each app’s detail are Reviews and Comments from readers and users. User generated reviews and comments are always an interesting read. Take them with a grain of salt and follow the trend. A bad experience for one or two users is not necessarily indicative of a bad app.
A trend that goes on for weeks or months, good or bad, usually is indicative of something important.
The MacUpdate Desktop app scans your Mac and compares your Mac’s installed apps with the MacUpdate database. It comes with a one-click update option, watch lists, smart scanning (so you don’t get irritated), and update verification. If you have many Mac apps this app cuts down the maintenance time considerably.
We consider MacUpdate’s latest update to be among the best we’ve seen. It’s actually easier to view apps and pertinent information on apps. The app detail pages provide quick visual cues for links and user opinions.
Combined with the Twitter and RSS feeds, or the Desktop app, getting information on the latest Mac apps has never been easier or faster. The only problem? Finding an app that’s worthy of your time and effort still takes time and effort, reviews notwithstanding.
When Apple’s Mac App Store hits the web it may change the dynamic and will be yet another way to find quality Mac apps. Will Apple’s Mac App Store provide competition for sites like MacUpdate or Mac360? We don’t think so. As the number of Mac apps increase, so will the need for reader and user reviews.