$10/month
Apps

Adobe Lightroom CC

With Apple basically having turned its back on continuing to develop its “pro” photo management app, Aperture, serious Mac photographers are essentially left with Adobe’s Lightroom as the only real game in town. Many photographers already preferred Lightroom to Aperture, if for no other reason than the fact that Adobe kept up a pretty brisk update cycle that seems to have fallen into a stride of one major upgrade per year. This spring brings Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC ($10/month), an update that preserves all of the features, UI, and workflow that Lightroom fans have come to love, with some great new added features such as Face Detection, HDR image support, panorama creation, video slideshows, HTML5 web galleries, and more.

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$18
Apps

Macphun Noiseless

Although recent iPhone cameras have gotten significantly better at low-light photography, it’s still inevitable that some graininess or “noise” will mar the surface of your photos when shooting in less ideal lighting conditions. Professional tools like Lightroom offer some capability of dealing with this, but running everything through Lightroom or Photoshop may be too much for the casual photographer to deal with. Fortunately, Macphun’s Noiseless ($18), provides a much simpler, lower-cost alternative. Designed with simplicity in mind, Noiseless provides a “one-button” solution for removing digital noise from photos while keeping the detail and color intact.

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$50-$300
Apps

Apple Final Cut Pro 10.2, Motion 5.2 + Compressor 4.2

Apple has announced updates to Final Cut Pro X ($300), Motion ($50), and Compressor ($50) — Final Cut Pro 10.2, Motion 5.2, and Compressor 4.2 respectively. Final Cut Pro 10.2 adds new 3D titles, improved masking, and native support for more camera formats to Apple’s professional video editing software. The complimentary Motion 5.2 adds more 3D title options, and Compressor 4.2 can create an iTunes Store Package, which can be quickly submitted to an iTunes Delivery Partner in order to sell a movie on the iTunes Store.

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$40
Apps

Flexibits Fantastical 2

While the Calendar app that Apple includes with OS X Yosemite is pretty good for casual, everyday users, it may sometimes fall short for those who rely on their calendar to manage their busier lives. Fortunately, there are alternatives, including Flexibits’ new Fantastical 2 ($40), a major update to the company’s calendar app that takes it beyond its menu bar origins and brings it to life as a full-fledged standalone calendar replacement. Fans of the original Fantastical need not fear, however, as the menu bar option remains in place for quickly viewing your calendar from anywhere and adding appointments, but it’s back and better than before with the ability to detach it from the menu bar as a mini-calendar window that can be placed anywhere on your screen, and allow you to scroll through an infinite list of your appointments.

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Free*
Apps

Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac Preview

While there are no shortage of options for office productivity apps among Mac users, ranging from Apple’s own iWork suite to more cloud-based solutions like Google Docs, it’s pretty hard to argue that Microsoft’s Office suite remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to features and compatibility for exchanging documents with others. Even though Microsoft tends to lag a bit behind in their Mac versions, they provide reasonably good support for the Mac platform, making it easier for users to work on files from their own computers, or even to use their Macs at work. With Microsoft’s Office 2016 for Mac Preview (free), the company is basically giving away preview versions of its latest Office apps, a bundle that now adds Microsoft OneNote alongside updated options of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

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$50
Apps

BusyMac BusyContacts

BusyMac’s BusyCal has long been a great option for many users who have found the standard Calendar app in OS X a bit too basic for their needs, and now BusyMac has brought the same sort of advanced features to your address book with BusyContacts ($50), a powerful replacement for the standard Contacts app on OS X. Designed to be a full-featured contact manager, BusyContacts integrates seamlessly with BusyCal and Apple’s Mail app, providing a flexible CRM solution. Features include customizable views to allow you to view contact information in a variety of different ways, along with an activity view that gives you a display of appointments, tasks, and even recent e-mail conversations, messages, and social media posts associated with your contacts.

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Free*
Apps

Serif Affinity Photo

On the heels of last year’s successful release of Affinity Designer, Serif is back at it again with a public beta of Affinity Photo (free*), which promises to be a new affordable app that may give Photoshop a run for its money. Described as “unashamedly pro even as a beta version,” Affinity Photo is packed with higher-end features that creative professionals need and love, including end-to-end CMYK, LAB color, editing at 16-bits per channel, ICC color profiling, Frequency Separation editing, live blend modes, full support for Adobe Photoshop PSD files and 64-bit plug-ins, and more.

 

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$10
Apps

Overmacs PhotoSweeper 2.0

For some of us, keeping our photos in order can be a confusing mess, and the longer you’ve been into digital photography, the more problematic this is likely to be for all but the most hardcore archivists. While Apple’s iCloud Photo Library promises to fix this going forward, chances are that between Aperture/iPhoto, Finder, and your iOS Camera Roll, some duplicate photos may have crept in somewhere along the way. Sadly, most photo management tools don’t really do a very good job of even preventing you from importing duplicates in the first place, much less finding them after the fact. Fortunately, for those looking to tackle this problem, there’s PhotoSweeper ($10), a handy little tool provided by Overmacs that can quickly crunch through your photos — just about wherever they happen to be stored — and identify various forms of duplicates so that you can more effectively deal with them and clean up your library. We’ve been fans of PhotoSweeper for a while, and with version 2.0 it gets even faster and more intuitive.

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Free*
Apps

Apple Photos for Mac

When Apple originally took the wraps off iOS 8 at last year’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, one of the great new features introduced was iCloud Photo Library, promising the ability for iOS and Mac users to keep one big, master photo library in the cloud, with albums and even edits automatically and transparently syncing across all of your devices. While the idea was a neat one, the actual timeframe for rollout has required some degree of patience, with the feature debuting piecemeal. iOS 8.1 last fall provided a “beta” version built into the update, a web-based portal was provided a couple of weeks later, and this week the preliminary and long-awaited Photos for Mac (Free) has finally arrived, completing the circle.

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Free*
Apps

Running with Crayons Alfred 2.6

For many Mac users, it’s much faster to keep fingers on the keyboard when it comes to launching apps, searching your Mac and the web, or performing other quick tasks. While OS X Yosemite has made some nice improvements to Spotlight, for those who still want even more flexibility and control, there’s Running with Crayons’ Alfred 2.6 (free). Designed to allow you to quickly find and launch apps on your computer, run workflows, and search the web all from your keyboard, the latest version provides a number of enhancements, with the most significant being a new iOS Alfred Remote app that lets you control your Mac from your iPhone or iPad.

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Free
Apps

Pushbullet Pushbullet for Mac

The Handoff and Continuity features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are a really handy addition to improving inter-device workflows, but the features are still somewhat limited to Apple’s own technologies and pairings of third-party apps specifically designed to support the features. For those looking for something that goes a bit beyond, there’s Pushbullet (free), a pair of iOS and Mac apps that provide many of the missing pieces for sharing data between your Mac and your iOS devices.

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$200
Apps

Apple Logic Pro X 10.1

Apple’s Logic Pro studio app has become a staple in the professional recording industry, and the debut of Logic Pro X a couple of years ago made some huge strides in making the app even more accessible and polished. With the release of the latest update, Logic Pro X 10.1 ($200), Apple adds a handful of new advanced features such as an intelligent beat profile for electronic and hip hop styles, as well as some handy Yosemite integrations such as MailDrop and AirDrop support.

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Free
Apps

LastPass LastPass for Mac

While we’ve generally been fans of more offline solutions for storing our passwords, there’s no disputing that the cloud-based password vault service LastPass service has a huge following, with a well-designed web portal and accompanying iOS apps. While the service has also long provided browser extensions to autofill passwords, a major missing piece – until now – has been an actual desktop app for Mac users. With LastPass for Mac (free), the company addresses this deficiency, providing a full-featured desktop client for managing your LastPass password database.

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$1
Apps

Raffael Hannemann DockPhone

The new Handoff feature that debuted with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite provides a great way to answer incoming iPhone calls using your Mac, but it’s a little bit more complicated for those who want to use their Mac to handle all of their iPhone calling needs, including placing outgoing speakerphone calls from their desk. Raffael Hannemann’s DockPhone ($1) provides an answer in the form of an inexpensive little OS X app that makes better use of the Handoff feature, providing a Mac-based dialer that allows you to place calls through your iPhone while sitting at your Mac.

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$50
Apps

Algoriddim djay Pro

Algoriddim’s djay app has pretty much set the standard for digital DJ’ing, having debuted for the Mac back in 2006 and then of course, it later morphed into impressive iPad and iPhone versions. Now, however, Algoriddim has taken its flagship app to the next level with djay Pro ($50), a landmark update and redesign that brings the Mac version more in-line with the highly popular iOS versions, while aiming to take advantage of the full power available on the latest Mac platforms and build a user interface that is powerful enough for pros, yet accessible enough for the average consumer. The new version, rewritten as a native 64-bit application, provides a 60fps graphics engine and is optimized for the Retina Displays on the MacBook Pros and new iMacs. A $50 price tag is the 40 percent-off launch price for an unestablished amount of time.

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