As we bid farewell to 2011 and greet 2012, we always like to take a look back and see which apps really stood out over the last year. There’s never a shortage of amazing apps to discuss, the hardest part of this post is simply narrowing down the options to something manageable! We put out a call to all our contributors and Twitter followers and asked for your favorite apps from the past year. The votes are in and the results were loud and clear.

Before we begin, let’s go over the rules. The idea here is to take a look at apps for which 2011 was significant. Perhaps they were released in 2011 or had a totally overhauled new version that blew us away. For instance, in last year’s post, Transmit 4 was a clear and easy choice. However, this year Transmit 4 won’t be on the list. It’s still an amazing app, but 2011 wasn’t really that significant in the Transmit story. Now that you get the idea, let’s jump in and take a look at some awesome apps that made big waves in 2011.

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We’re at the beginning of a brand new year, which means there’s no better time to look ahead and start planning your upcoming hardware purchases. If you’re like me, you’ve got a few pieces of aging hardware that you’ve been putting off updating and it’s just about time to give in and make a trip to the Apple Store.

In today’s poll, we want to know which Apple product is at the top of your list. Is it time to finally give in and pick up the MacBook Air that you’ve been drooling over or are you tired of working on a tiny screen and ready to switch to a 27″ iMac?

After you leave your vote, tell us about your purchase timeline in the comment area below. For instance, if you’re going to pick up a new iPad, will you wait for the iPad 3 or grab an iPad 2 sometime in the next few months?

Our featured sponsor this week is Chronicle Mini, the best free way to keep up on your bills from your menu bar.

Chronicle Mini is an amazing little app that sits in your menu bar and helps you stay on top of your reoccurring bills. In just a few clicks you can set up a new bill (say a mortgage payment or a cell phone bill), create a reminder in iCal and set the bill to repeat on the first of every month. When it comes time to pay the bill, Chronicle Mini can take you right to the appropriate website and upon payment will change the status of the bill to completed.

This app is incredibly helpful and is so simple that anyone can use it. Given that it’s completely free, there’s absolutely no reason not to download it. You can use Chronicle Mini perfectly as a standalone app, or if you really want to master your bills, it will work in conjunction with the full version of Chronicle.

Go Get It!

Go grab your free copy of Chronicle Mini from the Mac App Store today and never forget another bill payment again!

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


Let me put you in a situation: you are browsing around, perhaps a music site, and you hear an amazing review of this new up and coming artist that just makes you want to hear it now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a smart app that could help you find that album on the iTunes Store, right from your menu bar, and without having to go into iTunes and accessing the Store?

Well, the app that we are reviewing today is called Tunesque, and it works just like that. I like to refer to it as “Spotlight for the iTunes Store.” Let’s take a look and see how it can simplify music search.

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Recently, I looked at Checkout, a straightforward, easy-to-use POS software for small businesses. However, Checkout can have its limitations and if you are a large retail business with several different stores operating, Checkout may not help you entirely. This is where Lightspeed comes in. It is aimed towards much larger businesses who are already well established in the retail sector.

I downloaded the trial (more information below) and had a look at it for myself. Here are my thoughts…

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While Apple hasn’t had the best history with cloud computing services, their new iCloud platform promises to bring something completely new to the space. Instead of offering their traditional mix of Google Apps and Dropbox, Apple has reinvented the way they see the Cloud.

That being said, the platform hasn’t seen the rapid adoption of some of Apple’s other products, but we’ve still been able to round up a variety of great “hidden” features, newly-compatible apps, and other little tweaks to help you get the most out of your iCloud experience.

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These days news articles about Apple are anything but scarce. Every day there is a fresh new crop of speculation, rumors and discussion regarding the future Apple’s product line and how it will continue to shape the way that we interact with technology.

However, the media hype is largely centered on the exciting and revolutionary products: iOS and its supporting devices. Google “iPad 3″ or “iPhone 5″ and you’ll find no shortage of juicy gossip. If the media gives attention to any Mac, it’s likely going to be the MacBook Air. But what about our favorite desktop machine? Where will the iMac go in 2012?

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Many of us have had to learn a foreign language at some point, whether it was in school, in preparation for travel, or out of personal interest. We all know that learning a new language can feel like a never-ending process of skimming dictionaries and memorizing vocabulary, and without the proper tools, many learners end up getting frustrated.

One of the most essential tools for language learning is a quality bilingual dictionary. While people often head to the bookstore and look for a nice print dictionary, a dictionary app can be a good idea because of how fast and easy it is to look up words by typing. As far as dictionary apps go on the Mac, Ultralingua is one of the few solid, comprehensive choices. Read on to see how it can benefit your language studies.

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Dribbble is a delightful little online community specifically created for designers to share bite-sized previews of what they’re working on. Each “shot” is a 400px by 300px image that a user has chosen to share with the Dribbble community, often for the purpose of feedback (and a little showing off here and there).

Whether or not you’ve scored an invite to participate in the exclusive community, it’s a great place to stop by and browse for loads of gorgeous visual inspiration. Today we’ll be taking a look at the Dribbble community through the eyes of Play by Play, an awesome new Mac application that lets you check out all the latest Dribbble action without venturing into the browser (and without having an account). Let’s see if the app lives up to its awesome icon.

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At AppStorm, when we get excited about great Mac software, we love to give the developers who worked hard to bring it to us the credit and recognition they deserve. Back in 2010, we ran a post highlighting some awesome software developers and the apps they make that we love to use.

As you may be aware, the Mac App Store has launched since then, providing a grand stage for even more rockstar devs to strut their stuff. Today I’m going to take a look at another handful of these developers. Hit the jump to see what I’ve rounded up this year!

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