Amazon jumpstarted the eBook revolution with its Kindle devices and companion apps for every platform, and Apple’s kept up with the trend with its polished iBooks apps for iOS. The Mac has lagged behind mobile devices with eBooks reading, but there’s at least been the Kindle app and a number of half-way decent apps for DRM-free eBooks.
This year, though, that’s all changing. There’s the new Clearview that’s a very nice app for DRM-free eBooks, and Apple’s finally bringing iBooks to the Mac with OS X Mavericks. And for tech eBooks, the new Safari Flow web app makes it easier than ever to learn from eBooks without spending all day reading. It’s an exciting time for eBook fans.
That’s why we’re wondering how many eBooks you read per month. I tend to read at least 2 or so a month, more some months, but how about you? Leave your answer in the poll, then let us know if you’re excited about iBooks coming to the Mac this year in the comments below.
‘Tis the season for design-friendly web tools, with Google making a free Web Designer app and Hype 2 making it simpler than ever to create beautiful HTML5 animations. But several weeks ago, a preview of an app caught my eye with its attempts to make normal web design simple for anyone with an eye for design: Macaw.
Advertised as an app with the flexibility of an image editor but designed for making clean CSS and HTML code, Macaw looks like the web design tool we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the simplicity that tools like Frontpage advertised years ago, but with the clean, modern code that otherwise would take hours in a text editor. Pulling off such an auditions project, though, isn’t so simple, which is why they started a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to fund their efforts to make Macaw and bring it to the Mac and PC.
Adobe and Microsoft — along with Evernote, Wunderlist, and other web app companies — think the future of software is subscriptions. Apple seems to think the future is lower priced pro apps without upgrades on the App Store, and free bundled apps for everything else. Game developers think the future is free apps with in-app purchases. And traditional developers with paid apps and discounted upgrades are being pushed to the side.
Is paid indie software doomed, perhaps by the very App Store that pushed so many developers to prominence?
We’re used to Google launching free new web services (and shutting them down) on a whim, so it was rather odd yesterday to see that Google had released a new free desktop app: Google Web Designer. Designed for Mac and PC, without even a version for Google’s own Chromebooks or perhaps Android tablets, Google Web Designer looks like an Adobe app and feels like a blast from the past.
Actually, though, it’s intended to blast away a technology who’s time is long past: Adobe Flash. It’s free, and it’s called a Web Designer, but it’s directly designed to help you make animated and responsive HTML5 ads for Google’s DoubleClick ad platform, presumably both to cure the web from the last vestiges of Flash and to help ads on Google’s platforms get clicks on mobile.
But hey: it’s also essentially a basic free version of Hype that you could use to make animations for your site, even if you’re not advertising with Google.
We’ve just closed our giveaway; congrats to our winners Luke, feedpuppy, ca01ei, Alexander, and Ngoc!
Mac app bundles are a great way to get a ton of apps on the cheap, but usually they’re filled with aging apps that are ripe for an update. Not this time. Paddle’s Cheaper by the Dozen bundle this week includes 4 debut apps that just launched — and you can get them and the other apps in the bundle for just $34.99 right now, or possibly for free with our giveaway.
This bundle includes Bluetail, the brand-new vector app we gave an 8/10 last week, and the just-launched Marked 2 that’ll help you proof and export your Markdown writing that’s nice enough to get a 9/10 in our review. You’ll also find the somewhat older Raskin for viewing your Finder files in unique ways, MenuMate to make menus more accessible in your apps, the new GoodDay that brings mobile web apps to your Mac’s menubar, and the beautiful EarthDesk to turn your Mac’s background into a stunning dynamic image of the Earth. And more!
Best of all, we’ve got 5 copies of this great bundle for our readers. For a bundle with this many great apps, though, it’s going to take a tiny bit more effort to enter the giveaway. You’ll need to signup for the Paddle team’s email newsletter first at paddle.com/signup, and then leave a comment here letting us know what app you want most from this bundle. Finally, for an extra chance to win, share the giveaway post on your social networks and leave a second comment here with a link to your social post for an extra entry.
Hurry and get your entries in; the giveaway closes on Friday, October 4th!
Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.
YouTube’s started letting you queue videos for offline viewing in their mobile apps, but if you want to watch YouTube videos on your MacBook or a non-smart device when you’re offline, you’re going to need more than what Google offers you. That’s why you should download a free copy of 4K Video Downloader this week.
4K Video Downloader is the simplest way to save videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and more to your Mac. Just copy the video’s link from your browser, paste it into 4K Video Downloader’s app, pick the quality and format you want to save, and start it downloading. Minutes later, you’ll have a full-quality copy of the video for your offline video viewing pleasure. It’s like Instapaper or Pocket for the videos you want to watch later.
There’s more, too. If you want to download Instagram pictures to your Mac, extract audio from any video file, or turn your photos into a slideshow, there’s a free 4K app to help you out. Every one of the 4K apps are free, open-source, and run on OS X, Windows, and Ubuntu, so you can use them wherever you work — and if their free tools become an important part of your workflow, you can contribute to their development and make sure there’ll be free tools for you to use whenever you need them.
Whether you’re making a flow or org chart for a report, sketching the changes you want done to your front yard landscaping, or drafting an interactive mockup of your next iPhone app, OmniGraffle is the professional tool on the Mac we’ve come to love and trust. It’s powerful — and yet, it was beginning to feel a bit more than dated, along with the Omni Group’s other apps. They’d already promised revamped versions of OmniFocus and OmniOutliner, but before either of those hit the market, we’ve got a new version of OmniGraffle to try out.
OmniGraffle 6 is a sweeping redesign of the app that reimagines how modern Mac apps should work, while making the popular diagramming app work with Photoshop, Retina Displays, and more.
Firing up iPhoto just to pull a few pictures off your iPhone is too much trouble. So is emailing a voice recording to yourself. Videos? Well, they’re big enough, you’ll likely have to sync with iPhoto to get them.
There’s a whole market of tools to help people get files off their iOS devices, and Macroplant — the people behind iExplorer — have just made a free Finder for your iPhone: iBrowse. It’s a simple app that lets you get pictures, videos, recordings, and books off any iPhone or iPad just as easily as you could copy a file off a flash drive.
Minimalist writing apps have taken the App Store by storm, from the extreme of iA Writer’s entire lack of settings to full-featured writing environments like Ulysses III. It’s great to write without worrying on your final formatting, focusing instead on your actual words. Eventually, though, you’ll need to export your work to publish it on the web or in print. Your writing app likely includes a number of basic export tools, but for serious writers that want the best export options, Brett Terpstra’s Marked app is the best tool in town.
Today, it gets even better, with the just-released Marked 2. It’ll preview anything from a draft blog post in MarsEdit to a whole folder of Markdown documents, show you your overused phrases that’d be best cut out of your document, and give you the best exports with MultiMarkdown 4.2 support and the option to save in DOCX, paginated PDF, and much more.
Flash died in 2007, and everyone’s been catching up since then. It’d long since been the worst part of the web, responsible for buzzing fans and auto-playing audio, but it took the advent of modern touch devices to make it outdated for good. That didn’t mean animated websites were gone along with Flash, though — it only meant we’d need more creative solutions.