It might seem like an age ago now, but it was only on October 20th last year when Steve Jobs took to the stage and announced that the Mac App Store would launch within 90 days. True to his word, the store is now open for business.
What is the Mac App Store?
For those not in the know, the Mac App Store is very much like the iTunes App Store for iOS devices (that’s iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads). The store lets you download and install both paid for and free applications onto your Apple Mac instantly. Not only can you browse and install a range of apps conveniently, but you pay (if necessary) using your existing iTunes account, meaning you’re not having to fuss about and trust using independent sites with your credit card details.
The store only launched on January 6th, but already has a healthy range of 1000+ apps available.
The Digital Camera Beginner picks
We’ve had a good look at the App Store today, and immediately we were pleased that Photography gets its own category.
First off, Apple’s own offerings are definitely worthy of a mention – iPhoto ’11 and Aperture 3 both appear in the new App Store.
Even though your Mac will have come with iPhoto, unless you got it recently it will probably be an older version.
Until today upgrading would have meant buying the whole of iLife ’11 – which is £46/$49 if you buy a physical copy. Luckily through the App Store iPhoto ’11 can be purchased standalone for £8.99/$14.99, which is much more manageable.
If you’ve outgrown iPhoto then Aperture 3 is a very natural progression to a much more capable program. You still get the excellent organisation and library capabilities that make iPhoto such a joy to use, but the editing and retouching capabilities are in a different league.
If you find yourself being frustrated with iPhoto or exporting files to Photoshop for more advanced edits, Aperture is probably for you.
It’s designed specifically for photographers too, so there’s less to get your head around than something like Photoshop.
Aperture 3 isn’t new, and it’s always been a solid upgrade path for the keen photograher, but in the past it’s been a £173/$199 option. At £45/$80 Aperture 3 is a bargain for what you get, and is a lot cheaper than its closest rival, Adobe Lightroom.
Pixelmator is, according to the developers, a ‘powerful image editor for Mac OS X [that] has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images’. With usability and elegance being the focus of this innovative photo editing package, many photographers swear by using Pixelmator to edit, re-touch and process their digital images.
If you find Photoshop or Photoshop Elements a bit hard going, or you’d just rather not shell out for it, Pixelmator is a great alternative.
FotoMagico is a slideshow creation tool designed to help you share your photos in their best possible light. A variety of classy-looking animations make your images pop-out in great quality, and there are all manner of audio options at your disposal to create a polished presentation, including using songs from your iTunes or Garageband libraries.
If you like to show your photos off to others and worry about them losing interest (!), then FotoMagico is an easy to use and elegant app that will help you out nicely.
CameraBag Desktop is an app for quickly and easily creating a film-esque look to your photos. It’s similar to many of the apps you’ve probably got on your phone, but obviously with the desktop version you can work with full resolution pictures from your camera rather than whatever you can get out of your phone camera.
There are a variety of options for creating black and white, aged, Polaroid, Helga and several other effects.
It might not be the bargain of the App Store to date, but the quality seems good so if this is your kind of thing it could be a lot of fun.
This program runs on your Mac, receiving images taken on your iPhone (running the iOS version of RemoteSnap) and saving them to your Macs hard drive.
If you want to be able to walk around snapping things with your phone camera and then view them instantly on your Mac, this is the app to do it.
Image Tricks comes in two flavours, the free ‘Lite’ version and the paid for ‘Pro’ version, both being available in the App Store. Apple have strict rules on not allowing time-limited or feature-crippled trial versions of apps into the App Store, so Lite versions should always be fully functioning programs.
Image Tricks is a reasonably basic but very easy to use photo editor for adjusting colours and contrast, adding effects and filters, and stylizing images. The free version is surely worth a look…
Vowl is another freebie, this time performing a simple single task of displaying a selection of Flickr photos on your desktop. Vowl displays images based on tags, which you set in its preferences.
There are a few other useful options to choose too, such as the delay between photos and whether or not the window floats on top of others. Clicking the current image will take you to that photos page on Flickr too.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, Vowl is a lovely little tool to get you in the creative mood.
Need a Mac?
If all this talk of the easy to use and magical Mac App Store has got you salivating a bit, our pick of the current Apple range is the portable yet wel-built 13″ MacBook Pro…