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iOS is the favored child at Apple these days. Most new features in Mavericks — and, indeed, in OS X Lion before — were features that came first on iOS, and even the Darwin Kernel version in iOS is always one version ahead of its OS X counterpart. The Mac still doesn’t have Siri, the iPhone’s iconic chatty assistant, but it does have a leg up on iOS in one Siri-like feature: Dictation.

Dictation has its roots in Mac OS Classic’s PlainTalk Speakable Items introduced in the days of System 7 in 1993. That core is the tried-and-true VoiceOver and Voice Commands in OS X, but it never was perfect for dictating text. Then iOS and Siri came along, and Apple brought iOS-style server-powered dictation to the Mac with Mountain Lion. It was far more accurate, but far more limited, and required you to be online for dictation to work.

In Mavericks, Dictation on the Mac has once again pulled ahead of its iOS counterpart, with continuous, offline dictation that works as good or better than the version in Mountain Lion. And there’s still the voice commands, now in a reworked settings pane, that together make the Mac the most accessible computer out-of-the-box.

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It’s been nearly 4 years since Steve Jobs originally announced and demoed iBooks on the original iPad, marking Apple’s first steps into the eBook market — ones that’s cost Apple a DoJ lawsuit. iBooks is a great iOS eBook app, one backed by an extensive library of titles and great support for DRM-free ePub and PDF eBooks. The only thing that’s kept many of us from switching to iBooks for our book purchases is that there’s no way to read iBooks books on a Mac.

That ends today. With OS X Mavericks’ release, iBooks for Mac is finally a reality. It’s a best-in-class eBook app, though surprisingly is far less integrated into OS X than we would have expected.

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For IT departments and network administrators, keeping track of all the Macs on a local network can be a tricky business. Apple’s Remote Desktop app, one that hasn’t been updated in years, is showing its age. Keeping track of all the Macs on a local network, along with software they’re running, can often descend into a poorly-kept and rarely-updated spreadsheet.

Network Inventory Advisor provides some useful reporting tools to keep track of all the Macs on your local network. Combine its ease at which you can add new Macs to the app with some genuinely useful reporting tools, you’re left with an app that every network admin needs to check out.

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There are billions and billions of emails sent every single day and, while most of them are nothing more than lousy attempts at attempting to get access to our banking information, it’s still the most popular form of communication used today. If you’ve recently received an order confirmation from an online retailer or a weekly newsletter from your favourite coffee shop, it’s likely to have been very well designed and, in some cases, easy to read on a mobile device.

With Mail Designer Pro, it’s now possible to design great-looking email templates on your Mac that actually look really good and will work across many devices. While a little costly, the benefits and savings it provides make this an attractive alternative to dedicated design studios when it comes to jazzing up your email newsletters.

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This probably isn’t the first mention of Capo 3 you’ve seen. It’s probably not the first review you’ve seen. But this might be the first review you’ve seen from a guitarist with over a decade of experience with the instrument. I wanted to take my time to make sure that Capo 3 was adequately tested and given a legitimate and fair review from a gigging musician.

Capo has been around for a couple years now, and it’s a well-known and critically-acclaimed tool for learning music. Capo 3 comes with some new features, including automatic beat and chord detection — huge promises that should make guitarists both excited and wary. After all, most of us will know that the promise of an app that can essentially tab a song for us is an intoxicating, and maybe impossible, dream. Read on to find out whether or not Capo 3 does what it claims.

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Task and project management apps such as OmniFocus and Things aren’t just popular, they’re a necessity for anyone wanting to keep track of tasks and projects all the way from start to finish. While I probably spend more time trying out new GTD apps than actually getting anything done, I’d be completely lost without any sort of task management app that lets me track individual tasks and projects.

My latest GTD distraction is Firetask, a project-orientated task management app that promises complete and simple control of your tasks so you can spend less time procrastinating and more time, well, getting things done.

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There are a lot of people out there who aren’t exactly satisfied by iTunes 11, the release that overhauled Apple’s flagship jukebox last year and was built on with this year’s iTunes Radio release. For a lot of people — myself included, occasionally — the app is overly complicated and doesn’t easily do what it needs to: Let me play my music.

With that in mind, Vox aims to create a simpler interface that’ makes navigating and playing your music easier. It’s a free app, but is it worth making it a real personal part of your life? Let’s take a look.

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One of the many perks of owning a Mac is the fact that they require so little maintenance to keep running smoothly. Our Mac isn’t infallible, however, and they are still built from the same types of components as any other computer, meaning that hardware faults can potentially occur. In these instances, it’s best to try and find out if something is wrong before it’s too late, saving you the hassle of unexpected downtime.

Micromat’s Techtool Pro has been around for many years, with Apple even offering a variant called Techtool Deluxe as part of their AppleCare Protection Plan to Mac customers. Their latest iteration, Techtool Pro 7, is a comprehensive troubleshooting app with some powerful diagnostic features that is a must-buy for any technician, though this may not be the case for the average user.

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OS X is already powerful by itself, and it’s packed with a lot of built-in apps that can help you accomplish everyday life tasks. However, it’s only when you’re using something like Alfred, LaunchBar or Quicksilver that you actually unleash the full potential of your machine. Things that are already simple on your Mac turn into lightening-fast tasks with these apps.

Though Quicksilver has been available for 10 years, it’s been kept a bit too much under the radar compared to its alternatives like Alfred. By popular demand, here’s our in-depth dive into the original app that puts “Mac OS X at your fingertips”. Let’s give this gem of an app the love it deserves.

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When you’re a small business or freelancer, keeping track of invoices and estimates ensures an easier time for both you and the taxman. What’s more, poorly designed invoices can deter clients, both existing and potential, from future business. While Pages and Microsoft Word are certainly ways to create better looking invoices, there are more suitable apps available. One such app is Billings Pro, a tremendously popular app that takes invoicing to a whole other level. However, the app is subscription-based, something that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Enter GrandTotal, an app that offers much of the same functionality at a one-off cost. Despite its rather bland interface and seemingly overwhelming array of options, GrandTotal isn’t your traditional invoice generator. It’s a fully fledged invoice and client management app that not only creates some great looking paperwork but lets you keep track of payments and outstanding balances, as well as managing an inventory.

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