20 More Rockstar Mac Software Developers and Their Apps

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!

For clarity’s sake, developer links will take you to their webpage, while app links will link directly to the Mac App Store. The exception to this is apps that aren’t available on the app store, which will be marked with an asterisk.

Acrylic

I assure you, Acrylic will be the only developer I cover today that we also covered last year. There are two reasons I decided to mention them again, the first being that I’m absolutely in love with everything they develop. They have a gorgeous style and UI design in everything they do. The second reason is because last time we ran this type of post, Acrylic’s unique RSS reader was called Times, which has since been updated to Pulp and expanded to an iPad version. Likewise, Wallet has been improved dramatically, and has also spread to more devices since last year.

Rovio

Some might suggest that the Angry Birds craze is played out, but I’d be willing to bet I’m not the only one still killing a few minutes here and there with our vengeful, winged friends. While Rovio is predominantly known for their success on iOS, I have to point out that they are clearly doing something right. Angry Birds and it’s various flavors are successful games on virtually every platform you can think of, from Mac to iOS, Kindle, Nook, Android, and even Google+ Games.

Pixelmator Team

I tried to limit the number of developers that I included on this list who only had one app to offer, but I simply couldn’t ignore the rockstar status of the Pixelmator Team. If you haven’t heard, Pixelmator received the “App of the Year” award on the MAS. With a $30 price point, people are almost unanimous in their support for this Photoshop alternative. While I’m not a graphics person by trade, I do admire the elegance of Pixelmator, and I hope these folks develop more software soon.

Rocket

Rocket is the developer of a great app called Concentrate, which allows you to define profiles that you can activate for time periods of productivity, limiting your access to websites and apps that will just hold you back. Due to the nature of the app (read: root access), Concentrate isn’t available in the app store, but Rocket’s other apps–Galleried and Launch It–are. As a developer, they seem to focus on inspiration and productivity, which is something that I can personally identify with.

Logan Collins

I began using Schoolhouse back during version 2, when Logan Collins was a student himself, and developing this free app during whatever spare time he had. I couldn’t have possibly been as organized during my college years without it. Schoolhouse has since entered version 3, and while it now has a price tag attached, $4.99 isn’t a lot to pay for the impressive work of this rockstar independent developer.

Red Sweater Software

Red Sweater software is probably best known for it’s versatile blogging app MarsEdit, but they are also the creators of Black Ink, one of the most refined crossword apps I’ve used. Additionally, they produce a series of utilities such as FlexTime, FastScripts, and Clarion, and every single one of them is implemented thoughtfully. I admire the work of Red Sweater, and the fact that founder Daniel Jalkut is a former Apple Software Engineer might have something to do with it.

Agile Bits

The minds at Agile Bits are responsible for what is arguably the most popular password manager for Mac: 1Password. With a gorgeous UI and intelligent integration with your web browser, it’s no wonder people prefer 1Password to the alternatives. Less well known is the aptly-named file encryption utility Knox, which is said by Agile Bits to be the perfect complement to 1Password.

Bloop

Bloop is a development firm that, prior to the launch of the Mac App Store, focused almost exclusively on iOS development. Since the MAS launch, however, Bloop has hit the ground running and now has more than a handful of Mac apps under it’s belt. Everything from social media to project management and finance is tackled by these guys, and they are showing a lot of potential for developing graceful apps to make doing your everyday activities that much easier and more enjoyable. I’ll only list a few of their apps here, but make sure to check out their website to see the entire catalog!

Indeeo

Indeeo is responsible for one of my favorite graphics apps, iDraw. While it’s popularity pales in comparison, I see iDraw as the vector version of Pixelmator, and I wholeheartedly believe they deserve recognition on the same scale. iDraw even has an iPad version, which makes vector illustration on the go that much more pleasant. In addition to the Illustrator alternative, they also develop a versatile app for customizing your menu bar called MenuStrip.

PoweryBase

I have been given the opportunity to test and write about both apps produced by the folks at PoweryBase, and over the course of the last few months, I’ve grown quite fond of them and their products. NotifyMe is a free, cross-platform task manager that syncs with a cloud server at no additional cost. Take that, Hit List! Bills, while offering no Mac version, is also worth mentioning, as an elegant financial aid for iOS. Frankly, I wouldn’t be upset if these guys decided to write more software.

6Wunderkinder

6Wunderkinder is the brilliant developer behind the wildly successful task management app Wunderlist. Like NotifyMe, Wunderlist boasts a simple and beautiful design, cross-platform compatibility (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, Linux, Web, you name it), and free cloud-sync. What is most exciting for me, however, is that the Kinder are currently working on a follow-up called Wunderkit. From the very limited information they’ve released, Wunderkit looks like it could be the be-all, end-all of all productivity apps. Keep an eye on it, as they currently plan to go public-beta in early 2012.

Sparrow

Okay, so this is another developer who only has one app at this point. Less of a formally-named development company, in fact, and more colloquially known as “The Sparrow Team.” Regardless, I simply had to include one of the fastest growing mail apps in recent memory. Anyone who’s used this attractively priced and gorgeously designed app knows that Sparrow completely changes the way you do email, and for good reason: it adopts a UI similar to the Twitter app and makes email feel more social and less mundane.

Mariner Software

Mariner Software is another “jack of all trades” type developer. However, don’t let that make you think they’re cutting corners. Mariner designs beautiful apps for all sorts of uses: MacJournal for your diary keeping and blogging, MacGourmet for your recipes, and a series of apps dedicated to helping creative writers with script development, screenwriting, and novel construction.

Eternal Storms

Eternal Storms is a developer who focuses on small, handy utilities to make your day to day a bit easier. First and foremost is Yoink, which fits your Mac with a contextual shelf for dragging and dropping files between apps and spaces. Upon upgrading my Mac to OS X Lion, I must confess that I found Yoink to be a godsend. Additionally, Eternal Storms also develops a Flickr app and a screenshot utility.

Apple

Call me a fanboy if you’d like, but I simply couldn’t ignore Apple when considering rockstar developers. Aside from the digital distribution of OS X Lion, Apple has used the launch of the Mac App Store to push their other office and creative software to new heights. New (lower) price points and digital downloads have made purchasing and using apps like Logic, Final Cut, Aperture, and the iWork suite easier than ever. And it’s clear that it’s working out for them, since (at the time of this writing) 9 of the top 10 highest grossing apps on the app store were developed by Apple. (For those of you wondering, the outlier on that list is actually Pixelmator, MAS App of the Year.)

Silvio Rizzi

Ah Reeder. Arguably the app store’s most popular RSS feed aggregator, Reeder was released earlier this year, and was designed to be a Google Reader front end for your Mac. As a user of the app, I can say that it is one of the most pleasant RSS readers out there, and the consistency between the Mac version and both iOS versions is refreshing. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. Silvio Rizzi has struck gold, here.

Algoriddim

Algoriddim is the developer of one of the best music apps I’ve ever used: djay. djay, like Reeder, has the fantastic quality of being fluidly and consistently functional on all Apple platforms including Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It imports the music from your iTunes library and lets you DJ just about any event using any of the previously mentioned devices. I’ve used several of the DJ applications available on the App Store, and djay is by far the most Mac-like experience. It also received App of the Year Runner Up!

AutoDesk

AutoDesk, the developers of the world-renown design software AutoCAD, has developed a line of Mac software for the app store. In addition to the uber-powerful AutoCAD for Mac, they’re also the minds behind the popular drawing app Sketchbook Pro, which I happen to know is a favorite of my brother, a graphic designer and fellow Mac enthusiast.

The iStudiez Team

One final entry from a single-app developer (by which I mean “developer who should make more software”), iStudiez is another app geared toward students. Sporting a beautiful design and cross-platform cloud syncing, iStudiez has made more than just a few students successful in academia. Part task manager, part calendar, part grade book, iStudiez Pro is a perfect solution for anyone going to school, or even teaching a class.

SuperMegaUltraGroovy

Last, but certainly not least, is SuperMegaUltraGroovy. Aside from what is quite possibly the single most awesome company name in software development history, SuperMegaUltraGroovy sports a lineup of great Mac applications dedicated to Mac-native musicians. Using advanced audio technology, Capo can slow your music down without affecting the pitch, Fuzzmeasure can analyze an audio signal, and TapeDeck recreates the classic experience of a tape recorder on OS X. And not to mention, the interfaces are beautifully designed.

Conclusion

Phew. We’ve covered a lot of ground here today. Hopefully you’ve learned about some new apps. Perhaps you’ve been reminded of some that you had forgotten. Whatever the case may be, I want you to leave here with an elevated appreciation for the work that the developers of our favorite apps put in. Sure, they create apps because they’re driven to create. It’s the same as any other creative profession. But I’m willing to bet that it makes it all worth it to know that the end user is enjoying the final product.

Whether or not I mentioned you here today, if you’re a software developer for any platform, I want to extend a “Thank You,” on behalf of all of us here on the AppStorm network. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without you. Keep doing what you’re doing, and we’ll keep appreciating you for it. Promise.

As usual, let us know if you have any favorite devs that didn’t get a mention here!


  • http://cansurmeli.com C@N

    Really nice article! :D

  • Trevor Williams

    Running With Crayons – Alfred. Best. Mac. Launcher. Ever.

  • http://twitter.com/chairmanbrando Brando

    Wunderlist is not good. It looks nice but that’s about all it has going for it.

    A key part in to-do apps’ usability is its capability to (a) figure out times based on real language and (b) easily set up repeating events. Wunderlist can’t do these things, so it’s little more than a glorified todo.txt synced via Dropbox.

    As such I use Remember the Milk, which as far as the web app is concerned, is much more poorly designed. However, it *works* — and that’s what really matters. You can tell it a task is due “two Tuesdays from now” and to repeat “every three weeks” and it’ll know what to do. Simple and effective. Wunderlist can’t touch it.

    Also, stop saying “rockstar.” It’s not cool and makes you guys look like clueless trend followers.

    • Liam

      Just so you know, Wunderlist can “figure out times based on real language” (it was added in the latest major update). I love wunderlist but wish it worked better with Projects. That’s why I’m so excited for Wunderkit, it adds project support and so much more.

    • Filip

      I would argue that the fact it’s on almost every device and free means it has a lot going for it. I use it on my Nexus and Ubuntu machine (natively), so it’s definitely nice to see support there. So while it may not fit your needs, I’m sure it fits the needs of many others who don’t always need more “pro” features like you are after.

    • Filip

      But yeah, sort of agree on the ‘rockstar’ comment. Reminds me of a job recruiter *shudder*

  • http://www.exploringhanako.com Jeff

    It’s really great to see fresh new (and not so new) apps out there, and it seems like you’ve put together a pretty comprehensive list. I definitely plan to check some of these out (at least the ones I don’t own yet!).

    I personally found the label “rockstar” amusing, but I would like to make a suggestion regarding your use of links. I’m accessing this page on my iPad, and when I tap the links that go to the Mac App Store, I have to wait several seconds until I’m taken to a placeholder page, since obviously the iPad doesn’t offer the Mac App Store. Since the links themselves don’t immediately tell you whether they go to the Mac App Store or to the developer’s site, you have to click and find out… which involves a lot of the above-mentioned frustration, going back and forth from the placeholder page when accessing using anything but a Mac.

    To improve this, I might suggest that for each app, you include (1) a link to the respective app’s page on the Mac App Store (when available) and (b) a link to the developer’s site. This way, your readers can learn about the apps when accessing your site on any device, not just a Mac. :-) I know it’s a little more trouble, but users like myself will thank you immensely… and the usability of your site (and possibly even SEO) will improve as a result.

    Just some ideas! Keep the great app reccomendations coming!

  • drking

    Running With Crayons —- Alfred app launcher should be on the list.

  • Tim

    I would agree with Brando’s assessment of Wunderlist.
    I am also wondering why Panic is not listed?

    • http://alexarena.com Alex Arena

      I second that notion.

  • Cedric

    As the author mentioned in the first paragraph, developers from last year were intentionally excluded from the list; so there’s no need to Panic.

    As for Alfred, I use a Mac daily, at home and at work, and can’t find a use for it. Everyone here seems to love it and I can’t understand why.

  • Olga

    Love iStudiez Team as well. BTW, they have also developed an app for teachers :)
    It is called iTeacherBook and I think it’s terrific (only for iPhone so far, however)…

  • http://smokingdesigners.com evan

    Loved the article and of course the reviews. Well done!

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