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Matthew Guay

Writer. Former Tuts+, Mac and Web AppStorm Editor. Brainstormer-in-chief. @maguay | Techinch.com

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There’s screenshot tools, and then there’s screenshot tools. There’s the apps that let anyone quickly grab something off their screen, mark it up to show what they mean, and share it simply. Then there’s the apps that help you capture anything, organize it, sort the shots into detailed libraries, and much more. I’m currently writing a comparison between the best pro screenshot library tools for the Mac, but truth be told, that’s not what most people need. Indeed, even for those of us who do need more advanced screenshot and image tools, it’s still the quick and simple tools that are often the most valuable even if they’re the cheapest.

So, whether you’re on a Mac or PC, or a Chromebook even, here’s the very best tools for simple and quick image annotations — the apps to circle something and add some text, and save without a hassle, whether you’re annotating a screenshot or any other image. These are the best image annotation apps for getting the job done quickly.

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Ever wanted to show off your iOS apps on the big screen, or stream Airplay content to your projector without an Apple TV? Or want to record a screencast of your iOS apps in action? Then you need an AirPlay server like the new X-Mirage.

X-Mirage turns your Mac into an AirPlay server that can mirror multiple iOS devices to your Mac at once. You can show off an iPad and iPhone app side by side, stream iTunes movies or Radio to your Mac over AirPlay, and more without having to install anything on your iOS devices. Just run X-Mirage, and you’ll see your Mac in your AirPlay settings on your iOS devices automatically. Seconds later, you’ll see your iOS apps in full quality on your Mac, and can record them in action in one click.

x-mirage

X-Mirage has everything you’ll need to put everything from your iOS devices on the big screen, record them in action, and more. Best of all, its one-click record and play/pause buttons make it equally great for recording your apps and just using X-Mirage to play media from iOS on your Mac. It’s simple, and works great.

We loved it in our recent review, and are sure you’ll love it as well.

Get X-Mirage 38% off This Week!

X-Mirage usually costs $16, but this week we’ve got an exclusive discount for our readers. You can get your own copy of X-Mirage for just $9.92 with the coupon code xm38deal. But hurry: the deal only is valid this week!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

Our giveaway is now closed: congrats to maj8614 and Dreamquest, our winners!

What better way to celebrate the internet’s own shopping holiday than by giving away a ton of apps? We’re already running a one-day-only giveaway of 50 copies of Airmail — be sure to enter that giveaway if you need a new email app. But how about another giveaway with a whole bundle of great apps?

Yup, that’s exactly what we’ve got. The StackSocial team is running a Black Friday Mac Bundle, with $419 worth of apps including tons of apps we recommend and use ourselves for just $49. There’s MotionComposer for making animated sites, PopClip to bring iOS-style text editing popovers and more to the Mac, Gemini to find duplicates on your Mac, iStats Menus to keeps tabs on your Mac, Numi to simplify calculations, and more!

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We’ve got two copies of the Black Friday Mac Bundle to giveaway — and once again, the giveaway is today only. Just leave a comment below and let us know which app you want most. Then, share the giveaway on your social networks and leave another comment with a link to your post for an extra entry in the giveaway.

Hurry and get your entry in — the giveaway closes midnight EST today!

Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.

Our giveaway is closed — Congrats to our winners!

The internet already had quite an amazing Black Friday, with incredible deals on Macs, apps, and more. But today’s Cyber Monday, and we’ve got something even better for you: 50 free copies new email app Airmail.

Airmail’s shot up the paid apps list on the App Store, and for good reason. It’s the most configurable email app on the Mac today, with themes that’ll fit every style, and the OS X Mavericks features you’d expect today like interactive notifications.

And, thanks to the generosity of their team, we’ve got 50 copies to giveaway today. As normal, leave a comment below to enter, then share the post on your favorite social networks and leave a second comment to get an extra entry. But hurry: we’re closing the giveaway at midnight EST Monday, December 2!

Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.

We’d like to say a special Thank you! to our weekly sponsors from November for sponsoring our site and for the great apps they make. If you would like to feature your app on our site with an advertisement, be sure to check out our available slots on BuySellAds or register for a weekly sponsorship for your app.

If you haven’t already checked out our the great apps that sponsored our site last month, be sure to check them out now!

Reflector

Reflector turns your Mac into an AirPlay receiver so you can mirror your iPhone or iPad on your Mac’s screen. You can stream videos and audio to a Mac, use your iMac’s large screen (or a Mac connected to a projector) to wirelessly stream a presentation from Keynote or other presentation apps, or just demo your new apps to your investors in the boardroom on the big screen, complete with the real look of the iOS devices they’ll run on. You can even mirror multiple devices at the same time to show off multiple apps, or differences between two versions. And if your company happens to run on PCs, you’re still in luck: there’s Reflector for PC as well that’ll give you the same great features.

And we’ve still got a discount on it, too: you can get 25% off Reflector with our coupon code macappstorm25.

MacX Video Converter Pro

MacX Video Converter Pro is designed to help you convert any video you want into the formats you want. You can convert videos you’ve downloaded, ripped from DVDs, or from your phone or cameras into any format you want, complete with the quality and aspect ration settings you’d expect if you want to tweak the settings. You can even download YouTube and other online videos and convert them to the formats you want, record video from your Mac’s FaceTime camera, and turn your photos into a beautiful slideshow, all from MacX Video Converter Pro.

Airmail

Airmail is the email app that works the way you want. It can look as clean as Sparrow, as professional as Mail.app, or anything in-between — your choice. It can use Gmail shortcuts, or your own favorite shortcuts, can send attachments with your favorite upload tool (Dropbox, Droplr, Google Drive, CloudApp, or even your own FTP server), use the language you want, and so much more. Everything in Airmail is configurable so it can be exactly the email app you want it to be.

7 Speed Reading

Whether you’re a professional trying to speed up your workday or a student trying to cram in your extensive reading list ahead of finals, learning to speed read is one of the best ways to speed up what you need to get done. 7 Speed Reading promises to teach you to read 3 times faster than before, with full reading comprehension. It does that by helping you remove bad reading habits and improve your reading focus using the app’s adoptive UI. With detailed tutorials and personalized training exercise, you’ll find your reading speed improving in no time.

And a special thanks to you, our Mac.AppStorm.net readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We couldn’t do it without you!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot and join the apps above.

Turkey Day 2013 is over, and now it’s time for the biggest savings of the year: Black Friday and its close cousin Cyber Monday. And, as usual, there’s more than enough incredible deals to go around. There’s Apple Store gift cards if you buy a new Mac, steep discounts on App Store apps, and much more. Best of all, the majority of them are open to anyone, anywhere — even if you’re not in the US, there’s plenty of Black Friday offers for everyone!

Here’s the very best deals for apps and gadgets we love and recommend — but hurry, most of the deals are only for today or this weekend!

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It’s US Thanksgiving today, the day we set aside to eat turkey, play (or, more likely, watch) American football, and hopefully spend at least a few minutes of reflection about what we’re thankful for from the past year. And so, why not think about the Apps you’re most thankful for at the same time? After all, they’re the tools that have freed you up this year, made your devices come to live in new ways, and perhaps helped you acquire new skills. Why not be thankful for them too?

The app I’m most thankful for this year won’t come as a surprise to faithful Mac.AppStorm readers: Ulysses III. That writing app — especially with its new full-library search — has changed how I write and save text, and holds everything from article drafts to notes to archived published writings. It’s awesome.

There’s so many more great apps that I’ve started using this year or become better acquainted with, from the newly-updated-but-notnew MailMate and Pixelmator to brand-new apps like Ember and ReadKit, it’d take forever to list them all. But then, that’s what our upcoming roundup of the very best apps of 2013 is for.

So today, we’d love to hear what brand new apps you’re thankful for in 2013. Tell us why you love the app, and how you use it – and it just might end up being featured in our best of 2013 roundup.

And while we’re taking about being thankful, hey: thank you for being part of our community!

Ever since Steve Jobs passed away and Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs was published — and then turned into a mediocre film — there’s been a constant onslaught of new books about Apple, its founders, its strategy, and more. There’s some great stuff that’s been published, but for Apple fans who’ve soaked up every bit of Apple trivia and folklore they can get over the years, most books end up just being repetitive.

There’s two authoritative books anyone who wants to learn more about Apple and its founders should read: Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, and Steve Woz’ iWoz. The former is obviously the most detailed book on Apple’s most famous cofounder, while the latter is a surprisingly interesting look at the life of Apple’s more recluse other Steve. And then, for more company lore, you can’t beat the incredible Folklore.org website that tells the stories of the development of the original Macintosh.

That’s obviously far from the only books on Apple out there, but they’re the most authoritative with first-hand accounts you’ll see elsewhere — and none of the hindsight analysis that fills so many other books on Apple and makes them seem more like university business course material. But that’s far from the only great material on Apple. In fact, there’s two new books about Apple that have surprised me with their access, in-depth coverage, and lack of preachy business analysis. They’re just stories about the people behind the Apple products we love.

Here they are, and here’s why you should add them to your collection:

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You can’t run iOS in a virtual machine, and you can’t run iPad apps on your Mac. But thanks to AirPlay, you can have the next best thing: iOS apps mirrored on your Mac. And Reflector, our sponsor this week, is one of the most polished ways to do that.

Reflector turns your Mac into an AirPlay receiver so you can mirror your iPhone or iPad on your Mac’s screen. You can stream videos and audio to a Mac, use your iMac’s large screen (or a Mac connected to a projector) to wirelessly stream a presentation from Keynote or other presentation apps, or just demo your new apps to your investors in the boardroom on the big screen, complete with the real look of the iOS devices they’ll run on. You can even mirror multiple devices at the same time to show off multiple apps, or differences between two versions. And if your company happens to run on PCs, you’re still in luck: there’s Reflector for PC as well that’ll give you the same great features.

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Reflector then makes it simple to record your iOS devices in action. Whether you’d like to show off your skills in an iOS game or record a demo video for your next app, Reflector gives you simple iOS recording that’ll leave you with beautiful footage of your iOS apps. And it works great with both iOS 6 and 7, so you can get the same features regardless of which version of iOS you’re using.

Get 25% off Reflector This Week!

Reflector usually costs $12.99, but from now until December 2nd, you can get 25% off Reflector, AirParrot (the Squirrels’ app for mirroring your Mac to your Apple TV with advanced features), and their t-shirts and other mercy in the Squirrels Store with the coupon code macappstorm25. That’ll let you pick up a copy of Reflector for just $9.74 — a great deal for mirroring and recording your iOS devices on your Mac or even a PC.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

No matter how much developers and users alike have hoped Apple would bring traditional upgrade pricing to the App Store, it’s not going to happen. Traditional upgrades — where you get a discount on version 2 if you already own version 1 — have been deemed too complex. In a world where simplicity rules and everyone is supposed to be treated the same, that’s one confusion too many for Apple.

So, they’ve opted to slash the prices on their own apps — all the way to free for most of their consumer products — and charge full price for new versions. 3rd party developers have been left to do the same, making the App Store the place where apps like Pixelmator get seemingly endless upgrades for free while other apps get full-priced new versions as we’ve seen with so many iOS 7 apps this year.

But that might not be the only way. The Omni Group has been the most bold at trying to find ways to offer traditional upgrade pricing with their OmniKeyMaster, a short-lived attempt to offer App Store customers upgrade pricing on their own store. And now they’re fighting again, with the most brilliant use of in-app purchases yet.

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