Top 5 download updates from Macworld

Macworld is mostly known for the keynote speech in which Steve Jobs makes all the big Apple hardware and software announcements. But it's also a time when third-party developers update their best apps for maximum expo exposure.

With Macworld in full swing, throngs of people are flooding the streets of San Francisco to check out the latest offerings from Apple and all the other vendors exhibiting their wares at the expo. But some Mac-related stuff is only indirectly related to what's happening on the showroom floor or how thin the new MacBook Air is.

One thing I've noticed as a Mac software editor is how, when Apple has its biggest show of the year, the majority of Mac software developers figure it is the best time to release an update for their apps. I've rounded up my Top 5 popular programs that have updated in the last few days so we can all take advantage of this flood of major updates for top Mac software. A few of these will be old favorites, but all are worthy downloads if you're looking to try something new on your Mac.

iTunes Movie Rentals

As more movies become available, iTunes movie rentals are sure to make waves in the industry.

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I obviously could have chosen any number of new updates from Apple, but the biggest of the week is probably iTunes. With the announcement of the addition of Movie rentals and added features for Apple TV, the latest version of iTunes is a must-have for all Mac users. I already wrote about the latest update for iTunes in my last post, but after talking with some of my Mac-using friends, we wonder what the real impact will be on other movie outlets. Let me know in the comments how you feel about iTunes movie rentals and whether you think Apple can compete with Netflix or Blockbuster.

Lineform

Professional layout and illustration tools are easily accessible and affordable with this app.

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Freeverse software has always been a favorite publisher of mine for creative and funny games and made-for-Mac apps. Though Adobe's Illustrator CS3 is probably the king of the vector graphics and layout apps, the price tag of $599 is prohibitive to most casual users. Freeverse's Lineform is a slimmed-down, affordable vector graphics and illustration program with expert typesetting, gradients, free-flowing text, and much more. At only $79, this app is definitely worth checking out for illustration projects.

Photo to Movie

Create complex motion paths across a photograph with varying zoom levels for a dramatic effect.

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If you're wondering what to do with all your great holiday photos, check out Photo to Movie. Updated this week, this little app lets you take a digital photo and turn it into a dramatic presentation by using intuitive zoom and pan features. You'll be surprised with what you can create using a digital photo and your favorite MP3 as background music. Even better, it's compatible with iDVD, iMovie, and Final Cut. Photo to Movie is great for custom screensavers, too.

Miro

Create channels to browse all the videos from a particular feed.

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Included in my Best Mac software of 2007 post, Miro received an update this week making the streaming video app even better. Set up like an RSS feed reader, Miro lets you subscribe to video podcasts and search popular sites like YouTube for all the video content you could ever want. This weeks big update adds better torrent support so videos get to you even more quickly. It also doesn't hurt that this great app is free.

TextWrangler

The addition of ATSUI for text rendering greatly improves handling of all types of characters.

(Credit: CNET Networks)

I've often touted the importance of a good text editor, and this weeks update for TextWrangler was one of my first Macworld downloads. From Bare Bones Software, the makers of BBEdit, this free, slimmed-down text editor has a documents drawer and navigation bar, which make it easier to switch between multiple documents while conserving screen real estate. Even though it was made with markup coders and programmers in mind, TextWrangler is great for anyone who needs a place to take notes and manipulate text quickly.

Did you download a useful program update this week that is not on this list? Let me know in the comments!

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