Mac or iPad or iPhone, what is on your list of favorite apps to use? Messages? Maps? Safari or Mail? How about Photos? Or, GarageBand? Across the board of all three platforms, Apple makes a number of world class applications and they are free on each device.
Who makes better apps than Apple? It’s a long list. Apple has nothing on Microsoft’s Office suite of Outlook email, PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and a dozen others. What about Google? Is Chrome a better choice than Safari? What about Adobe?
Free vs. Paid
I subscribe to the notion that is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone might give you something useful and not charge you for it, but there is a catch somewhere, somehow, from somebody.
Microsoft’s Office app suite leaves Apple’s own Pages, Numbers, and less so, Keynote, in the dust. For a price. See? A catch. The Windows maker wants customers to pay by the month forever to get the best of Office.
If you don’t need that much power then Apple’s offerings– available for every Mac, iPhone, and iPad– are powerful and free considerations.
What about Photos vs. Adobe?
Photoshop is the flagship for design and it comes as a package with Lightroom, easily one of the best photo management apps you can
buy rent. Uh huh. That’s right. Photoshop and Lightroom are rentals. Pay by the month or pay by the year but continue to pay forever.
See? No free lunch.
Well, maybe a free snack here and there.
Enter a few apps you may want to use instead of Apple’s basics, but not necessarily from Microsoft, Google, or Adobe.
First on my list is Firefox, the free browser you should be using instead of whatever you normally use. Why Firefox? Nothing is faster on the Mac, and it comes with a host of privacy and security features built-in that embarrass Apple and Google. There is no easier way to avoid being tracked.
Second on my list is something you can use with Firefox. StartPage. It’s the way to search Google without using Google. No trackers.
Third on my list of apps that compete well against anything by Apple, Google, or Microsoft, is the Spark email app. Free. I’ve used it for a year and it has replaced Apple’s Mail, Google’s Gmail, and if not for a work requirement, it’s an easy replacement for Outlook. It’s the best and most useful email app available on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Apple’s customers have a long and growing list of free applications that span the gamut of usefulness; email, browser, contacts and calendar, messages, news, reminders and notes. All available to each Apple customer on each device.
What’s not to like? Better apps are available, but most of them come with a price tag or a gotcha; a few do not (Firefox and Spark), but we should be long past complaining about Apple’s application suite. You get what you pay for.