The Apps And Updates to Look Forward to in 2013

The new year is here, and with it should come a ton of exciting new apps and app updates. A number of our favorite app developers have already announced major updates coming this year. Throw in the countless new apps that will come out, and perhaps an as-yet-unannounced app upgrade from Apple or Adobe, and it should be yet another exciting year for apps on the Mac.

Here’s some of the apps we’re most excited about in 2013.

Omnifocus 2 and Omnioutliner 4

The Omni Roadmap

Omnifocus seems like it’s been with us forever, yet it was actually only released 4 years ago. It’s still on its first major version, despite all the updates its gotten over the years, but that’s all about to change. The Omni group has Omnifocus 2.0 first and foremost on its 2013 roadmap. In fact, it’ll be demoing the new version during Macworld the end of this month. The new version promises to bring all of the Omnifocus for iOS features back to the Mac, including new forecasts and review. It’ll also sport a new design. And that’s not all: Omnifocus’ older brother, Omnioutliner, has gone 7 years without a new version, and it’s also due for an upgrade this year. Should be a fun year if you’re an Omni fan.

Alfred 2

The new Alfred’s Workflows

Our favorite productivity beast, Alfred has become the launcher of choice for millions of Mac users, taking the throne from Quicksilver and more that have come before. It’s quite amazing today with the power pack, but the Alfred team is ready to impress us again with Alfred 2.0. The new version is being re-written from the ground-up to be faster and more powerful than ever. The team is sharing previews of Alfred 2 on their blog, showing off the new theming engine, powerful workflows, reworked preferences, and more. You’ll be able to be part of the beta if you’re a mega support, and otherwise can look forward to the new final release later this year.

1Password 4

And we’re still waiting what 1Password 4 has hiding behind its lock…

Password management may not be exciting, but it sure is essential. It’s always important to keep strong, unique passwords on your online accounts, and even with the App Store, there’s still a lot of app keys you need to keep up with, along with tons of other private info like bank details. 1Password is the Mac app most of us use to keep up with our passwords, and it’s continued to impress with updates over time. The current version 3 was released in late 2009, though, and it’s due for a new version. iOS got the upgrade first, so it looks like Mac users should get the upgrade this year. If you’ve purchased 1Password on the App Store, you’re already ready and will get the upgrade for free when it’s released. It’ll be fun to see what they do this time to make managing passwords easier and more fun!

Simplenote for Mac


With so many great note apps for the Mac, about the last thing most people would be looking forward to is yet another notes app. And yet, when Simplenote announced that they’ll be making a native Simplenote app for the Mac sometime in 2013, it got us excited about notes apps again. That’ll come along with native Markdown support, even better syncing, and more. It’ll be interesting to see if the official Simplenote app turns out similar to Notational Velocity and nvAlt, or if it’s a totally different take on Simplenote for the Mac. Either way, it should be one of the more exciting notes apps to come out this year.


The upcoming .Mail

Email has been with us forever, and yet it seems that almost no one can make a perfect mail app. Sparrow seemed the perfect app for email on the Mac, especially for dedicated Gmail users, but it’s been mostly neglected since Google bought it out last year. You can still use Sparrow – I actually still use it as my daily driver to stay on top of my work email – but it’s wise to be looking for alternates. There’s plenty of other email apps out there, from to Outlook, Postbox to the brand-new Inky, but none quite captured the Sparrow spirit and pushed it to the next level quite like .Mail. Starting life as a design project without real plans to turn it into an app, .Mail is now in active development and should be coming to our Macs sometime this year, or at least we hope. With a Sparrow-inspired design, better notifications and attachment support, and the GTD-inspired Actionsteps for flagging messages, it looks like quite the exciting Mac email app. We sure hope it lives up to its promises.

Light Table

Light Table Alpha

If you’re a coder, chances are you used Sublime Text or at least tried it out in 2012. If not, you should go try it; it’s easily the most exciting code editor (or even plain text editor) on the market right now, with quite the community of users behind it. But there’s another app that just might end up being more interesting for developers this year: Light Table. A new IDE that began life with a blog post, then a Kickstarter campaign, Light Table is a new twist on an IDE that aims to take coding beyond static text. It tries to turn the text editor into a work surface that lets you code without getting in the way, but at the same time brings you built-in documentation that opens as you need it, and lets you run code right in the IDE and make changes while its running. It’s currently in alpha, and is the IDE you should try out this year.

New iWork?

Yup, we’re still using iLife ’09. Starting to sound rather old…

iWork is one of the selling points of the Mac, in my opinion. It’s very reasonably priced, has most of the features that most people need from an Office suite, is easy to use, and actually interoperates with Microsoft Office fairly well (better than OpenOffice in my experience, at least). It’s gotten a ton of updates over the years, most recently with Retina Display and iCloud support, but oddly, the last major upgrade was released in 2009. That’s right: the iWork in the App Store was initially released over a year before the iPad was announced. If you clean-install it today, it’ll still include a Share button that theoretically will let you upload and share documents via – only was shut down in lieu of iCloud last year, and no one thought to remove it from iWork.

Apple hasn’t announced a new version of iWork, so we can only hope that the most Mac friendly Office suite will get a major upgrade this year. It’s sure time for one.

Anything Else?

That’s the apps we’re most excited about this year, but we’re sure we’ll still be surprised with new apps from old and indie developers alike over the next 11 months. Hey, we’ll likely be running a new version of OS X (or could it be the fabled OS Xi?) by the end of 2013. Software always manages to stay interesting, and it’ll be fun to see what happens in the app world this year.

Any apps you’re especially excited about this year?


Add Yours
  • Great list. Alfred 2 is looking fantastic, and I’m especially looking forward to a new email client!

  • Definitely looking forward to .Mail. I’m also gonna keep my eye on Inky to see how it improves. To bad about Sparrow, like you said, it’s still the best!

    I’m also going to watch and see what kinds of features and updates iDraw and Sketch 2 make, because I’m looking for an affordable alternative to Illustrator. However Pixelmator is always adding new features, so it might meet all my design needs one day.

  • Aperture 4 ! Way over due. With lense/distortion correction, HDR, panoramic stitching and the ability to use the same mask for multiple adjustments.

    • +1! Bunch of photographers moving to Lightroom already; Apple is losing this market.

  • Outline+ coming to Mac.

  • Instacast for mac. For syncing podcasts between my home macbook and my work iMac.|17

  • keep up your report about note-taking apps, even evernote still sucks lots points…

    soho notes, cp notes, … none of them are perfect… all-in-one solution…

    • If you haven’t already tried them, Wunderlist and NotesTab Pro are among my favourite note taking apps. But I know what you mean, a good note-taking app is hard to come by.

  • AirMail is another email client under development and promises to be a real contender. It is in public beta right now.

    Adobe Muse must get exciting additions during the year, with a number of new features constantly implemented. Its 2012 releases shown an impressive improvement.

    A Retina-enabled version of InDesign is also expected to 2013, although there is no official schedule.

    FontLab Studio 5.5 is also a much-awaited release which can become reality this year.

    • Oh, I had forgotten about AirMail. Neat.

  • Great list. I’m looking forward to OS X 10.9 – Apple is moving to yearly update cycles, and the beta is due to come out this month or the next (January or February).

  • Hoping for a new version of iWorks this year. Again.

  • iWork is long overdue, I hope they release the new version asap!!!

  • Signed up for the .Mail mailing list!
    It seems like a gorgeous concept.

  • Keeping my fingers crossed for major updates on iWork, Alfred, and Omnifocus. I’m also revving up for .Mail (lovely email client) and a much more functional Inky. It would be interesting to see how these two fair against or alongside one another.

    Another app to look forward to is Ulysses 3. I’ve been dropping in on their dev blog and all the sneak peeks are really exciting. Can’t wait to use it, especially now that I’m at my final semester in uni.

    • If they ever get the bugs worked out of Inky and give the user things like a link to Google Contacts and default font customization, they will start to have a following. Also, they’ve promised a major update now “this week” for over a month. Even when you like a product it’s hard to stay excited when you’re dealing with bugs and infrequent updates. Part of software development in this phase is to keep your users excited…and promises aren’t nearly as valuable as more frequent updates…even if minor.

  • Tried the LightTable. On initialization it just opened 70 threads. 70, threads. That’s even more than DropBox, Safari and iTunes, all combined. That’s just crazy.

    • Well, on my system (Mac mini (Late 2012)), ‘Safari Web Content’ alone is using 150 threads (just 2 windows and 12 tabs open in Safari too), so your comparison definitely isn’t particularly accurate. Incidentally, while the ‘Safari Web Content’ process is currently using 150 threads on my system, the ‘Safari’ process is only using 24. Perhaps that’s the process you were referring to when you mentioned Safari?

  • Microsoft office 2013?

    • Seeing as Microsoft Office 2013 is the Windows version that just came out, I’m inclined to think we won’t see Microsoft Office for Mac until late this year or early next year as Office 2014.

  • “Notebooks” by Alfons Schmidt, already an iPhone and iPad app should be coming out with their dedicated Mac app this year. It’s been in public beta for awhile and its really coming along. They have web clipping, markdown for rich text notes,task lists, and nested books. There’s no limit to the nesting…its great. It also works well with other apps, featuring the “Open In…” option.

  • i´m waiting for Gradient 2.0 from “Jumpzero
    and Charge from “Menial