Every once in a while a developer releases an app for Mac OS X that becomes so integrated in to my daily use of the computer that I am disheartened when I use another Mac and that feature is missing. Apple certainly isn’t in the habit of doing this, but the following 5 apps should, in my humble opinion, be bought out by Apple and properly integrated in to Mac OS X.
- Moom ($9.99)
This awesome little app is one of the best things to ever happen that tiny green orb at the upper left of every window. All you do is hover over it, and you’re given the self-explanatory menu you see on its icon. It’s also quite customizable, allowing you to adjust how much of the screen to fill, creating a set pixel padding between windows, mouse & keyboard controls, and more. Apple’s own window management hasn’t ever quite worked exactly how I’d like, but this is as close to perfect as I’ve ever found.
- Caffeine (Free)
It’s a tiny little cup of coffee that sits on your menu bar that serves exactly one purpose and serves it perfectly. When you click it and “fill the cup”, it prevents your computer from sleeping. That’s it. It seems obvious, I know, but Mac OS X still needs this third party application as a remarkably simple toggle for something that should be built right in.
- Calendar (Free)
This handy menu bar icon gets daily use by me. Clicking it unleashes the full power of iCal in a clear, well laid out drop down menu. You can easily see the current date and scroll forward or backward by month or even year. Best of all, it places a small colored dot (matching the calendar color set in iCal) on any day that has an event schedule. You can hover over a date to see calendar events you’ve got listed on that day or click to open that date in iCal.
- Alfred (Free)
At its core, Alfred is a keyboard-driven app launcher. “So is Spotlight!”, you might say, but Alfred puts Spotlight to shame. It’s faster, easier to launch programs from within it, can (optionally) index and search your computer, it can search the web, do basic calculations, spellchecking, and a host of other customized options. Put simply, it’s what Spotlight should be, but isn’t.
- The Unarchiver (Free)
I’ve never really fully understood why operating systems haven’t been more adept at uncompressing compressed files. Thankfully, there isn’t a better option for Mac OS X than The Unarchiver. This app handles virtually any compressed file that you throw at it, Mac or PC, so if you download something that the native OS can’t handle (most common compression formats), The Unarchiver will seamlessly step in and handle it for you.
The Mail.app client built in to Mac OS X has never wowed me. It’s kind of generic and works well enough, but doesn’t really have the polish and function that I’ve begun to expect from Apple products. Sparrow, on the other hand, is absolutely stunning in both appearance and function. It’s simple, yet highly efficient, customizable, and works exactly how you’d want it to. It was originally designed as a Gmail client, but can now handle Google Apps accounts, MobileMe, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, or any other IMAP or POP account. Apple could definitely learn a thing or two from Sparrow’s success.
Know an app that you feel belongs on this list? Leave a comment and let us know!