13 Brilliant Apple Apps

posted by Armistead Booker | Friday, October 17, 2008

Last year I came up with a list of great web apps and most of them still hold as top-notch services. But what about desktop applications? Not everything you need fits into a browser... so I put together list number two: some of the best in free Apple desktop apps.
  • BBC Radio Widget: I like listening to music at work but I don't want to drain my iPod battery, fill my work computer with music, or deal with customizing Pandora. That's why I employ this Dashboard widget to stream any BBC station live. My favorite? Radio Wales of course.

  • Backpack Widget: the cool kids over at 37Signals have some amazing apps. And this tiny wonder can make your Backpack work a little harder for you.

  • Radar in Motion Widget: alright, I'll admit it. I'm a weather nerd. All it took was two years of meteorology in high school and I can read any radar screen and tell you what's gonna roll in later today. This widget gives you beautiful animated weather on both a regional and metro scale. This definitely comes in handy in an office without windows.

  • Sing That Tune Widget: in five years when the collective data we know about our music - lyrics, related artists, song recognition, most played track of the day in Cleveland - is at everyone's fingertips, then we'll really have the ultimate playlist app. But for now, you can impress your friends by remembering what comes after "Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev, Rockefeller, Campanella..."

  • CandyBar: the ultimate designer's timewaster. Apple's gleaming icons not enough for you? Look no further to customize and organize your computer icons with an endless supply of free icons.

  • Transmit: if you ever need to send big files, edit a webpage, or organize your iDisk... look no further. FTP doesn't need to be a scary three-letter-word. When used with your favorite text editor, this app opens up a whole new world of getting things done fast.

  • Screen Ruler: designers, add this to your toolbelt. It's pixel perfect. Looking for a Dashboard variety? Use BeRuler.

  • Google Earth: now in its fourth version since 2005, this is one program that just gets more fun (and dare I say educational?) the more you explore. If you haven't flown through the Grand Canyon before, now's your chance.

  • Flip4Mac: Quicktime is remarkable media player, but in a world of Windows Media content, you'll want to download this to play wmv files on your Mac.

  • Cocktail: everyone's computer gets a bit sluggish now and then. Clean it up! I find a nice spa day is just what the doctor ordered at least once a month to keep my Mac in tip-top shape. Fabulous!

  • Skype: your brother lives in Hawaii, your coworker is at a conference in London, your buddy wants to meet across town. Bring them all to you with the best online video and audio chat in the world. These guys are reinventing the way we use phones.

  • Inquisitor: if you use your browser's search bar throughout the day, save yourself the boring step of typing in google.com and install this bad boy. Lightning fast search results and autocomplete suggestions in the tradition of Spotlight.

  • MarsEdit: last but certainly not least, the keeper of my blog... this is one powerful and intuitive blog editor that publishes every word I write for every site I manage. Not bad for a thirty day trial and twenty-five bucks.
Coming soon: your cheers (and jeers) for the most popular iPhone apps...

comments on this post
At October 17, 2008 7:47 AM, Blogger Charlie Park said...

I think I'm making the switch this weekend! Thanks for this list!

At October 17, 2008 1:02 PM, Blogger Paul and Lee said...

good stuff armi! thanks

At October 20, 2008 11:27 PM, Blogger Antonio said...

Excellent list. Having a Flip4Mac blog myself, I am glad to see you've got it listed, as well.
I"m definitely gonna try out the BBC widget. ..and, being a musician, I think I will really like the sing that tune widget.
I like, and use, Candy Bar...gotta have those custom icons. I'll suggest a couple of my favorites; the Unsanity haxies; WindowShade and Fruit Menu, and another one by the F4M people, Drive In.

At October 26, 2008 6:33 PM, OpenID typical said...

I've never seen Screen Ruler. Looks cool.

I use a poor man's version: Since Leopard, screenshots give pixel dimensions. So I just command+shift+4 then click and drag. I can see the size of my selection beside the cursor. Then, instead of releasing the button, I hit Esc!

At November 14, 2008 6:18 PM, Blogger Armistead Booker said...

Thanks everyone for the comments and new suggestions... yeah, I do miss window shades, Antonio - not sure why Apple decided to take away that handy feature. Seems like the Unsanity folks have an affinity for the classic Mac days :)

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Hi, I'm Armistead Booker. This is Refresh: a creative design firm with experience in web, print, media, and identity. Welcome!
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