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Matthew Guay

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

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Since 2008, Apple has shifted the design of all MacBooks with a unibody aluminum shell, starting with the original MacBook Air and continued with the MacBook Pros. Today, if you buy a MacBook, you’ll have to get one with an aluminum unibody, as that’s all they sell now. Apple’s hailed the design as stronger yet lighter than previous designs. It’s certainly proved popular with customers. Every high-end PC, it seems, tries to one-up Apple’s unibody design.

Plastic cracks and scratches, and rarely would hold up to any heavy blows or falls. Aluminum is much more resilient, but is still susceptible to scratches from hard objects and even bends from hard falls. It’s far from the hardest or strongest material on the planet. Just search for bent MacBook Air, and you’ll find some horrifying pictures online (of course, if a plastic notebook took the same blows, it likely would have cracked and shattered instead of just bending … but still).

That’s why we’re wondering how your unibody MacBook Pro or Air is holding up. Have you gotten some small scratches and bent corners, or does yours still look factory-fresh? Is the unibody design working better for you than other laptops you’ve had in the past? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Our weekly sponsor this week is Pixelmator, the most beautiful image editor designed for the Mac. Its got more features than ever, has been designed for the Retina Display, and for a limited time, is available for only $14.99!

Pixelmator has been a leading Mac image editor for years now, and even won an Apple Design Award in 2011. The team hasn’t sat still since then, quickly adding new features and enhancements to the app. The most recent update brought a number of new features to Pixelmator, including iCloud support, a Retina Display ready interface, a ton of great new effects in a dedicated Effects Browser, alignment guides, and Mountain Lion native sharing.

That’s in addition to the great editing features that users already love in Pixelmator. With advanced layer support, drawing and retouching tools, file versions, web export features, and more, there’s something for everyone to love. Best of all, it’s built on the best OS X technology, letting it take advantage of your GPU to speed up your work and helping you work faster with Automator integration.

Go Get It!

If you’re ready to get started editing photos and creating beautiful digital art on your Mac in an app that’s designed to make the most of OS X, head over to the App Store and pick up a copy of Pixelmator before the summer sale ends! Pixelmator usually costs $59, but you can get it for just $14.99 right now. You can even download a free trial from their site to try out all of Pixelmator’s features for free for 30 days.

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

Macs may be used by everyone from NASA to the White House, but they can’t shake the perception that they’re designer goods. People readily accept that Macs are good for creatives, but not for real business work, no matter how many times they’ve been proven to simply be great computers for anyone that cares about a good computing experience.

But maybe it’s because Macs are really just so good for creatives. There’s so many little things in OS X that make it great for writing, for one thing, that I think you can easily say it’s the best OS for writers. (more…)

Our giveaway is now closed, and congrats to @Poporinful, @kgoworek, and @tmcalvin for winning a copy of Slidevana!

Have you ever struggled to find the perfect slide layout to show your business concepts, research information, marketing plans, and more in a simple, easily understandable format? Whether you’re a Keynote fan or a PowerPoint devotee, it’s often easier to spend more time tweaking your slides’ design than actually researching and putting together the info you’re supposed to be presenting.

That’s where Slidevana comes in. Their team has build what they call “the ultimate presentation toolkit”, designed to take the pain out of designing slides and help you focus on presenting your message in a clear way your listeners will understand. It includes slide designs for every business concept you’ll need to present, lists, charts, and tables, to layouts that communicate complex business concepts such as timelines, architectures, sales funnels, and common frameworks. Slidevana’s vast array of layouts means that creating a presentation is as easy as copying the perfect slide and pasting the content that captures your message.

Mac users have the choice of using Apple’s Keynote app for beautiful, cinematic presentations, or the industry standard PowerPoint, both of which are great options for making presentations. Slidevana is designed to work great in both Keynote and PowerPoint, and you can either buy it for the app of your choice or get the Slidevana bundle for $99 that includes all of their slide designs for both Keynote and PowerPoint. Best of all, though, we’ve got 3 Slidevana bundles for our winners, so you could get started making better presentations for free!

Tweet to Enter

If you’d love to win a free Slidevana bundle, including over 150 slide layouts for PowerPoint and Keynote, it’s easy to get your entry submitted. All you have to do is click the link below and send out the resulting tweet (or just copy and paste), then leave a comment below with a link to your tweet. That’s it! We’ll then randomly pick 3 winners of the bundle when we close the contest.

 

We’ll announce the winners next week on August 23rd, so hurry and get your entry in today!

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

iOS started off as OS X’s younger sibling, but it’s grown to dominate the world of technology more than OS X in many ways. Most new hit apps come out on iOS first, it seems, especially if they’re social networking or entertainment apps. Then, though, we’re seeing a return to the Mac, with Apple putting more iOS apps and features in OS X, and more developers bringing their iOS games and apps to the Mac. Some of the best productivity apps, such as Apple’s iWork and iLife apps, and the Omnigroup’s apps like OmniFocus, started out on the Mac, and have since then been recreated for iOS.

iCloud makes it much nicer having the same apps on iOS and OS X. When you use apps like iA Writer, iWork apps, and more, you’ll see your documents seamlessly pushed between your Mac and iPad or iPhone without having to do anything extra to sync. For apps that don’t have iCloud integration, such as OmniFocus and Things, most with OS X and iOS versions have their own sync system to keep your data up-to-date everywhere. That makes it that much nicer to use the same apps on both platforms.

That’s why we’re wondering: do you use the same apps on iOS and OS X? Do you feel bad having to pay for both copies? What’s your favorite app that runs on both platforms? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Our weekly sponsor this week is Onde iTunes Converter, a great tool to help you convert your DRM protected audio files so you can listen to them anywhere, on any device.

If you’ve purchased music on your Mac in iTunes for many years, chances are you have plenty of songs in iTunes that are still protected by DRM. You could listen to the songs on your iPod, iPhone, or Mac, but you couldn’t just put them on a generic mp3 player or different smartphone. You could burn them to an audio CD and then rip them as mp3, but that’d be a lot of trouble.

That’s where Onde iTunes Converter comes in. It makes it simple to make new unlocked mp3 and AAC files from the DRMed music you own, so you can listen to it anywhere. You can convert at up to 16x in a variety of formats so you can listen just as you want. It can even rip audio from your iTunes videos! All you’ll have to do is sit back while Onde iTunes Converter works its magic.

Go Get It!

If you’d like to convert your DRMed iTunes music easily, you should give Onde iTunes Converter a try. It normally costs $39.95, but if you enter the coupon code *ondesoft50* at checkout, you’ll get 50% off for a limited time!

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

We just closed our Macbundler giveaway, and our winners are Worbi, Zane, jkb, Luis Gallengo, and Tensou Honretsu. Congrats to our winners, and stay tuned for our next giveaways!

If you’re needing a way to edit and OCR PDFs, run Windows apps on your Mac, make invoices, create logos, design beautiful slideshows, and more, you’ll be excited to hear about today’s giveaway! No, we don’t have a new super-app we’re featuring. Instead, we’ve got 5 copies of the Macbundler bundle to giveaway!

The Macbundler bundle is one of the most exciting bundles we’ve seen in a while, with 8 apps for $39. It’s got several very nice apps, too, that you might have already had your eye on, including PDF Editor Pro, an app that normally costs $99 and lets you edit and OCR PDFs. It also includes CrossOver XI, a Wine-powered Windows emulator that lets you run many Windows app directly on your Mac, as well as Invoice 3, a nice invoicing app.

It’s a great deal, but best of all, 5 of our winners will get the entire bundle for free!

Quite a shelf of apps!

Tweet to Enter

If you’d love to win a free copy the Macbundler bundle, it’s easy to get your entry submitted. All you have to do is click the link below and send out the resulting tweet (or just copy and paste), then leave a comment below with a link to your tweet and the app you’re most excited about in the bundle. That’s it! We’ll then randomly pick 5 winners of the bundle when we close the contest.

 

We’ll announce the winners next week on August 15th, so hurry and get your entry in today! And if you want a chance to win an even bigger prize, head over to the Macbundler site, where they’re giving away 2 retina display MacBook Pros as well!

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

If you’ve used a Mac for any amount of time, you’ve surely heard of the Omni Group‘s popular Mac apps. OmniFocus, easily their most well known app, is the leading task management app for Mac users that want to keep up with everything about their tasks and get things done. Their other apps, including OmniOutliner for outlines, OmniPlan for project management, and OmniGraffle for creating drawings and diagrams, are all category-leading apps that have been popular for years.

The Omni Group got its start as a consulting company for NeXTSTEP, the predecessor to OSX by Steve Jobs’ second company, and later transitioned to making apps for OS X. Today, all of their major apps are on iOS as well, and are in many ways leading examples of the best iOS has to offer for productivity.

Back on the Mac, Omni’s apps are still popular, and continue to be some of the best ways to get things done, make outlines and diagrams, and more. They’re a big part of the Mac app scene, and a great example of the great software you can only get on a Mac.

That’s why we’re wondering: what Omni apps do you use? Do you rely on them every day? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Omni apps in the comments below.

…goes to check off this task in OmniFocus as I hit publish

Our weekly sponsor this week is ANTETYPE, an innovative design tool that focuses on the needs of user interface designers to optimize their daily workflows. Designers often have to waste precious time with repetitive tasks and imperfect tools that could otherwise be used for creativity and productivity. This is where ANTETYPE comes in handy.

ANTETYPE offers a comprehensive library of pre-designed, customizable UI elements for Windows, OS X, iOS, and Android that allow designers to create high quality mockups in no time. When the time comes for a custom UI or design, the application supports the designer with its unique layout system, intelligent widget concept, multiple screens and states, as well as comprehensive visual design features.

With a smart layout and widget system for a responsive design, UI elements can be modified on one screen and changes are promoted to other elements of the same type with just one click. There is no need to copy styles manually or to nudge elements back into the right position. ANTETYPE lets you create interactive prototypes and presentations of your designs that can be used for substantial user testing, or to simply show the design to clients via ANTETYPE’s own web viewer or iOS app.

Go Get It!

If you’re ready to get started designing better UIs with interactivity, you should give ANTETYPE a try. You can try ANTETYPE free for 30 days, or buy it just now during the summer sale, where ANTETYPE is available for $99 until August 17, down from its regular price of $289. You can also get an educational licenses for just $19 if you’re an educator or student.

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

We’d like to say a special Thank you! to our weekly sponsors from the past month, 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!

StackSocial

StackSocial is a site you should follow if you like getting great deals on Mac apps, training material, and more. They feature new deals weekly, letting you save on top apps. Best of all, they even feature free app giveaways, and bundles that let you get a ton of apps you’ve had your eye on at once. You’ll just need to signin with your Facebook account or create an account to start getting their exclusive deals.

Postbox

Sparrow was recently acquired by Google, and Mozilla recently announced that they’re stopping new development of Thunderbird. If you’re looking for an innovative new email app, you might be thinking that there’s not many options left. That’s why you should check out Postbox. For just $9.99, it offers dozens of innovative features that make email easier and nicer than ever before. Even if you’re used to using Gmail, Postbox includes Gmail-style keyboard shortcuts, as well as other innovative features like Dropbox attachments and social network integration.

Slidevana

Creating high quality Keynote and PowerPoint presentations can be time consuming and difficult. Slidevana just might be what you need to let you focus more on your presentation than on how you’ll present it. With over 150 slide layouts in two color schemes, it lets you make professional presentations that focus on your content quicker than ever. You can use their slides to communicate everything from complex business relationship to simple points without having to worry about how you’ll put your presentation together.

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.
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