The year 2007 might be one of the biggest years for Apple in recent memory. Certainly a lot of great products have been released over the years, but none had the anticipation or the media fervor as did the iPhone. The new iPod Touch, the release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and the funny Mac vs. PC ads we're seeing these days only added to the hype with more people starting to "Think different" than ever before. With Macworld just around the corner and promises of new Mac hardware on the horizon, the future of all things Apple looks bright indeed.
Working with the Mac library of software at Download.com, I saw a huge number of titles come through our system over the course of 2007. Certainly the big-name apps like Adobe Photoshop CS3 come to mind, but there were also a lot of great apps that may have flown under the radar for many users. To give these great apps their due, I decided to put together a list of my favorite apps for 2007. Though they might not be on par with apps like Photoshop, they're the kind of programs Mac users will appreciate and use without having to drain their bank accounts.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite Mac apps from 2007!
Apple's Spotlight search feature is one of the great things about OS X because it gets you where you want to go on your Mac immediately--giving you results as you type. Inquisitor is like Spotlight for Safari. Adding the same functionality to the Safari search box means getting to your favorite Web sites, Google searches, and doing your shopping online that much easier. The black, sleek interface is definitely a selling point, too. Did I say selling point? It's free.
As streaming video gets better across the Web, we're going to see more and more apps that make viewing and managing videos easier. Miro is one of the best yet for browsing through channels, finding popular videos, and creating a starting point for your personal favorites. You'll be able to subscribe to video podcasts, video RSS feeds, bittorrent feeds, and video blogs making it easy to watch the latest videos about your favorite subjects.
Ever wanted to take your digital photos and turn them into comics? With an incredibly easy to use interface, Comic Life offers layout tools and templates to make it easy to organize your photos into a story line. From there, use talking and thought balloons, stylized graphics, and other artistic tools to create your personalized comic. Those searching for a new way to use their digital images will love this app.
Online Tower Defense games hit it big in 2007 as an addictive casual gamer pastime. Recently released Hordes of Orcs takes the concept to the next level with a downloadable version adding extra features for even more fun. In addition to fighting off wave after wave of Orcs, you'll be able to upgrade your towers, cast specialized spells to slow the onslaught, and zoom in to the action in full 3D.
With the growing wave of social sites sweeping the Internet, the Mozilla folks capitalized on the opportunity by making a browser that caters to the social set. Flock is a full-featured Social Web browser that integrates extremely well with sites like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube. Cool features help you keep track of your friends and post to your personal blog from within Flock. If you've caught the online social networking bug, Flock offers everything you need to keep track of all your friends and sites with tools and utilities specifically made to rein them all in.
Sometimes simplicity is best, and when it comes to recording audio, WireTap Studio takes a simple, but powerful approach. With this app on your hard drive, you can discretely record audio from any app, record whatever is coming through your system (like streaming audio), and you can use the line-in to record from external sources. What's more, its completely lossless and you can play with the untouched files using WireTap Studio's lossless editor. Audiophiles have been waiting for a long time for a low-cost lossless editor, and this one is worth the registration fee ($69).
Need an image editor that isn't going to break the bank? Acorn offers several common filters for your images like sharpen, stylize, and blend, along with the ability to use layers, gradients, and color-correction tools you might find in some of the more (a lot more!) expensive image editors. What might be the best thing about Acorn is that it's so easy to use; you won't need to read any documentation to get started right away. At $39.95, it's tough to pass up this simple, but powerful, app.
If you're the type who likes to monitor what's going on under your Mac's hood, you'll love iStat Menus. This well-designed utility sits in your Menubar for easy access and offers tons of system information you can view at a glance. Monitor CPU and RAM usage, your Bluetooth status, network traffic, and much more, all as a pull-down from your Apple Menubar. Getting your Mac stats has never been this easy.
Do you collect things? Maybe you like DVDs, or have a big library of books, or maybe video games are more your speed. The only problem with having a huge collection of something like DVDs is how hard it is to keep track of everything. Delicious Library is the perfect tool to keep track of your books, DVDs, video games, and music, with a visual representation of shelves to make it easy to find anything. You can even scan bar codes to import your titles. Anyone with a vast library of items will enjoy cataloging with Delicious Library.
Certainly one of the greatest releases of 2007 was Apple's mega-popular iPhone. Unfortunately, one of the only things it didn't include, was a way to use your own music as a ringtone. iToner eliminates the need to deal with iTunes or pay for new music by offering a simple method to add (and remove) ringtones on your iPhone for free. What's more, this app is perfectly safe with your iPhone system software (no Jailbreak required).