In OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple introduced Launchpad. Launchpad is widely seen by many as an early attempt by Apple to slowly introduce elements of iOS into OS X. Although a valiant attempt by Apple, many noticed all of the flaws within Launchpad immediately. The biggest concern with Launchpad is the lack of customization and what the user can change. Well now, independent developers are picking up where Apple left off.
Launchpad Manager is the genius creation of Attila Miklosi; its concept is to add increased functionality to an almost useless Launchpad. Launchpad Manager comes in two flavors, free and pro. The Pro version will set you back $7.99 but it will add cool features like group organizing, layout saving, and more! The developer has provided us with the pro version for review, so lets get to it!
Launchpad Manager simply is a useful tool for reorganizing and customizing your Launchpad interface. Instead of adding onto the interface of Launchpad directly, like say a plugin, Launchpad Manager is a completely separate app. When you launch Launchpad Manager, you are greeted with a complete likeness of your Launchpad layout. From here, you can go about changing and manipulating your Launchpad interface as you see fit!
Interface & Design
Launchpad Manager’s features are laid out in an easy to use format that gives you access to the core functions. Your functions are laid out across the top of the interface while the different Launchpad modes (i.e widgets, and etc) are located in pill buttons on the Launchpad interface.
The overall interface is clean, simple, and gives convenient access to the core functions of Launchpad Manager.
Arranging your icons, folders, and widgets using Launchpad Manager is fairly straightforward. Several of the features covered here are only available when using the pro version. The simplest way of arranging the icons is to simply grab them and drop them where you please. However just like it is annoying in iOS to move icons around individually, it is equally annoying having to manually move many icons around in Launchpad. Launchpad Manager has exactly the feature that will eliminate the need to manually relocate icons around the interface. To activate this feature all you need to do is hold down the Command button and select as many icons as you would like!
Free vs. Pro
The pro version also offers the ability to quickly do other icon moving tasks in Launchpad Manager. Want to easily group icons into manageable folders? Launchpad Manager contains two totally useful buttons, group and ungroup. These buttons allows for the easy grouping of icons into folders and the ability to batch remove icons out of groups or folders. There are also a few other cool buttons included in Launchpad Manager you have the capability of selecting and deselecting all of the icons. Also once you rearrange the icons and place them into your desired order, you can use the save layout feature to save your layouts. Once saved, all you simply need to do is open the saved layout and you are back in business! The pro version also includes sorting options, move to new page, and the option to add missing applications to Launchpad. While these features do not effect the core functionality of the app, you may want to consider upgrading just to make your tasks that much easier.
Launchpad Manager vs Launchpad Control
Launchpad Manager is not alone in the fight to control the sometimes-unruly Launchpad. Launchpad Control is one of its biggest competitors. Both apps essentially offer the same functionality. Launchpad Manager and Launchpad Control contain similar interfaces and design cues. However according to my standards, Launchpad Manager is slightly cleaner and less jarring.
Launchpad Control contains almost cartoonish large icons adorning the top of the main window, which is a turn off. Also smaller things are better in Manager such as renaming icons; Manager allows you to rename an icon just like you would rename it in OS X, by simply clicking the title and renaming. In Control, you are taken away from the Launchpad interface and move into a completely unnecessary screen just to rename an icon.
Other than design and interface choices that tilt the scale toward Launchpad Manger, Launchpad Control is $3 cheaper for essentially the same functionality. So as many often do, you can overlook quite a few quirks when saving money.
Launchpad Manager is definitely a much-needed companion to Apple’s Launchpad application. The added ability to group multiple apps, rename and remove apps, add missing apps, deleting apps not from the Mac App Store, and alphabetical ordering easily makes Launchpad Manager worth the price. What draws questions on the value of Launchpad Manager is main rival Launchpad Control. They both have the same functionality with minor interface differences; however, Launchpad Control is $3 cheaper, which easily makes it a better value and thus reduces the value of Manager. I rate Launchpad Manager a 7 out of 10 and I also give a nod to the cheaper competitor, Launchpad Control, if you are looking to add more customization to Launchpad.
Do you use Launchpad Manager? What are your recommendations on improving Launchpad? Let your voice be heard in our comment below!