There’s no other way to say it. I’m an app hound. I love apps; especially those that play nice-nice with their counterparts on different devices. That’s what makes the Apple experience so good– Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Reminders, browser bookmarks, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote with iCloud all work well together.
Interestingly, Apple leaves out plenty of useful options, which opens up opportunities for 3rd party app developers to fill in the gaps. Anyone who’s used Fantastical or Things or SuperDuper will understand. Apple sets all Mac, iPhone, and iPad users up with a base level of usability; what I call table stakes is what others may call a barrier to entry which is what others might call the land of opportunity.
Here are some examples of options, utilities, tools, and apps that go slightly beyond Apple’s base line to make our lives a bit easier.
Itsycal for Mac.
This free utility lives in the Mac’s Menubar and does what the name implies. It’s an itsy bits calendar. Click and it displays the current month, and the next few calendar events.
My Mac, iPhone, and iPad are loaded with such utilities, tools, and apps– those that provide additional functionality beyond what Apple provides, or which do something easier and faster than a corresponding app.
Another example of small is beautiful, less is more, and free is good, is Mactracker. As much as I enjoy perusing Apple’s website, one must dig deeply to find information about older products. That’s exactly what Mactracker does, and it’s free.
Mactracker runs on both OS X and iOS and provides details for every Apple product dating back to the original Apple computers. Macs, iPhones, iPads, iPods, accessories and much more– all available with a click or a search.
Another Mac app I’ve written about, also free, fills a need and yet fits into the small is beautiful, less is more, free is good category. It’s called Noizio– a free background sound maker.
Noizio lives in the Mac’s Menubar, and gives you options to mix and match 10 different background, ambient sounds– October Rain, Paris Cafe, Thunderstorm, Campfire, Winter Wind, Sea Waves, River Stream, Summer Night, Sunny Day, Deep Space.
Each sound has it’s own volume control, too, and the design is totally OS X Yosemite– simple, elegant, obvious.
I have a growing preference for applications which run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but that won’t always happen. There’s no Photoshop for iPad or iPhone. Likewise, you won’t find good camera apps for the Mac, despite the fact that most Macs these days have an HD camera (what’s up with the 480p camera in the new MacBook?).
The next revolution in applications for our favorite Apple devices might be around the corner. I’m thinking Siri and some artificial intelligent personality and assistance. But for now, we are living in a golden age of application availability.