Mac applications that are amazingly better than MS options?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by zartemis, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. zartemis macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2010
    I'm a soon-to-be new Mac user: I have new macbook air arriving next week. I'm a long time linux user (for servers) and windows user (personal desktops).

    The new MBA will be replacing my Dell Mini 9, that I've just loved to pieces. (and actually, I love them so much I have two: one windows and one ubuntu, and yes, I know they are hackintoshable, but I've not done it).

    I'm wondering if there is any software that Apple does just WAY better than MS that I should check out? And I'm not talking incrementally, or just because the user interface is more mac-like because you are used to it. And I'm also not looking for opinions from people who think that everything that Apple does is better than MS, I prefer opinions from people who can see the good and bad in both.
  2. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    • Exposé
    • Spring-Loaded Folders
    • Stacks
    • Multi-Touch Gestures

    First Party Apps
    • Automator (I Love This App So Much)
    • Preview
    • Mail (Seriously...)
    • Activity Monitor
    • Disk Utility
    • Time Machine

    Third Party Apps (Mac | Windows)
    • Adium | Any Chat Program
    • Cyberduck | WinSCP
  3. munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Can you provide specific examples of MS software to facilitate comparing and contrasting?

    What kinds of software do you need?
  4. zartemis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2010
    Fair question, but sometimes you don't realize you 'need' a type of software until you try it. And some things are just downright fun to play with (Corel Painter, oh yeah) whether you need them or not. I'm mostly just wondering if there's a you-gotta-check-this-out app or two I should investigate.

    These days there are fewer and fewer really great apps that aren't available on both platforms, and that includes most of my on-the-go most used apps (chrome, picasa, evernote, logmein, etc). If it gets the job done, I'm mostly okay with minor variations (safari, chrome, either is fine). But now and then there are really cool things that are unique to a particular app/platform (Nikon's U-points in capture NX are killer).

    I mostly use artistic and orgainizational/productivity apps. Sciral consistency is a unique productivity example (aging and only for windows, I believe). My main video editing program is powerdirector just because it's so darn user friendly (to me), although I doubt I'll do any video editing on the MBA since I have a much better computer for that purpose.

    I'm not really a gamer, so that would be one category that wouldn't interest me much.

    I'm looking forward to checking out GarageBand and OmniFocus though. And I KNOW there have been times when I've looked up whether there existed a type of application I wanted and found a interesting candidate, only to discover it was Mac-only. But I never kept a list.
  5. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008
    You should have, because usually there is no such thing as software that only exists for Macs. Windows still is BY FAR the largest software ecosystem, and if a certain application does not exist for Windows, chances are that it does not exist at all. Or you simply haven't found it.

    But you were asking about things that Apple does far better than Microsoft. Well, in areas why both companies actually compete - which would mostly be the operating system itself and their office suites - I don't think that Apple is really so much better than MS. Their stuff LOOKS better, so you could say that Apple's graphics design is far better than Microsoft's. But that doesn't necessarily make their software any better.

    Yeah, throwing in some nice graphics design is Apple's real strength. Their stuff just is nice to look at. But when it comes to raw performance and stability, Microsoft products kick Apple's ass. And whoever tries to tell you something different should check their calendar. It's the year 2010, not 1985. Since the first release of Windows NT back in the early 1990s, Windows has been technologically ahead of Mac OS (and now even OS X). A Mac might be easier and more friendly to use, and again, look so much better, but underneath the surface, OS X does not perform nearly as well Windows -- or has its feature set.

    You can say the same about the Office suites. iWork compares to Microsoft Office like Microsoft Works compares to Microsoft Office. It's enough for home users, but not nearly good enough for enterprise users. Furthermore, Microsoft Office is a platform that third party software developers can use to built their own software upon. You simply can't do that with iWork.

    So there you have another thing where Microsoft is MUCH better than Apple: Building PLATFORMS.

    Oh. You wanted to know what Apple does better than Microsoft, except for graphics design. Hmmm. Marketing? Yes. That's one of Apple's real strengths. Since Steve Jobs no longer wears business line (as he did in the late 1980s and 1990s), Apple really has learned how to sell its stuff -- to consumers.

    Anyway. You probably just want a justification why you bought a Mac - or want to buy a Mac. It's a nice piece of hardware. Really. But you don't need to run it with OS X. A Mac is perfectly fine with Linux and Windows. Because, you know, Apple's operating system isn't any better than Windows 7 or Ubuntu 10.10. It just looks different.
  6. zartemis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2010
    Not in a general sense, no. But sometimes there are features or combos of features in single programs that really just rock. E.g. Picasa doesn't do anything that Photoshop can't do, but it's lightweight and so much more user friendly for quick fixes that it's worth it as an additional program for me. Likewise with Capture NX -- I use this program for one feature only: u-points.

    Well, aren't you the partypooper. And it would be more accurate to say that I'm looking for new shiny buttons and baubles to play with in addition to the new hardware, not justification. :)

    In any case, I already found a few toys to check out when my new mac gewgaw arrives next week (in addition to the features Corndog mentioned). Skitch looks like fun, as does metasynth. Transit looks cool as a syncing program since it has integrated amazon s3 access (which I use).
  7. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    I don't think that your question is particularly well-defined. The black letter of your question appears to be about the commercial offerings from Microsoft and Apple. However, your subsequent comments appear to conflate Microsoft software with all Windows software and Apple software will all software on the Mac. Then, of course, there is the issue of what exactly do you mean by "better" or "best."

    Now to answer the question that you asked [rather than the question that you meant], there is little dispute that Keynote has it all over PowerPoint.

    Word to the Wise. You are not required to run Microsoft commercial software on Windows. You are not required to run Apple commercial software on the Mac. There is no question that there are many more software titles for Windows than for the Mac. However, you have sufficient choice for almost everything that you need to do on the Mac. Just about every available title is listed on CNET's and/or If you have plastic or a PayPal account, then you may purchase just about anything that you want. However, you also have just a wonderful selection of freeware to choose from. You will find that Mac shareware and freeware is often as good as if not better than commercial software.
  8. Bernard SG macrumors 65816

    Bernard SG

    Jul 3, 2010
    The iLife suite, is quite sweet and you have it out of the box.
    Video tools like Handbrake, Ffmpg and iSquint are absolutely great and free (I don't seem to find free Windows applications that are as extensive.
    System tools (Preferences, Utilities) are thousand miles ahead of what you get on Windows (from a user's POV - for functionality it's debatable, according to the user's focus).
    I prefer iWorks by far over MS Office, granted I don't have any use of the most advanced offerings of Office.
    Safari is my favorite web-browser.
  9. Epsilon88 macrumors 6502

    Oct 26, 2009
  10. therocket macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2010
    Well, you want some shiny new buttons???
    First of all, one of the best things about apple's laptops(and now desktops b/c of the magic trackpad) is their multitouch capabilities. IMO apple has done little to take hold of this great technology yet(OSX 10.7 maybe?) but for now it seems that they dont need to.
    I would recommend to download jitouch-from - and also bettertouchtool-from

    jitouch has a much better UI, as it is installed as a preference pane, and it is also much less work to start getting productive with because it has many gestures with default commands, whereas in BTT, you have the ability to create your own commands. BTT has a few more gestures available to use though.

    Both apps have their advantages, my favs are Jithouch and the 'character gestures' that you can create, and the limetlessness of BTT with the different trackpad tapping locations.
    With these two apps installed on you mac, you will find you productivity to increase a ton. after owning a MBP for a year without these, and then discovering them a month ago, i cant understand why apple did not include most of these things built into the OS...

    anyways, good luck with your new Air. Hope you find these apps useful
  11. calb macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2009
    Quicksilver and Skitch. Brilliant applications.

    There are plenty of Mac apps you will just enjoy using more than their Windows counterparts. The likes of Pixelmator and Coda won't do anything more than you can do on Windows, but you will probably enjoy the experience.
  12. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Free Apple Apps that are better:
    Garage Band
    iTunes for OS X
    Disk Utility
    Time Machine

    Pay Apple Apps
    Final Cut / Final Cut Express
    iWork (ymmv on this one - depends on your needs)
  13. exegete77 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 12, 2008
    Scrivener (writing tool unlike any other) has been Mac only, but will soon be offered for Windows (after the first of the year).
  14. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    Depends a lot about what you need and blow away is subjective. The video and photo editing packages for the Mac are very good. If you want pro tools, check out Final Cut Pro, DVD Studio pro, Aperture, soundtrack pro, garage band. They just work well together and blow windows products out of the water. iDive is a nice video catalog program. Filemaker Pro is a great data base program. Hogwasher does news and binaries well, if you still use them. Quicken 2007 for finance.

    iWeb is a decent drag and drop web tool, but, if you are a pro, not as good as some others which I don't know off hand. Time machine built into the OS is a wonderful backup solution, but if you have a lot of files to back up, you want to connect up an external drive for this, don't bother with wireless or a network backup drive. Network backup works fine for my laptops. Cyberduck is nice for FTP as whatever is built into iWeb does not work well.

    I do have a windows 7 home machine that seems to be working just fine, lots of apple GUI brought over and some improvements. But for the pro level graphics art, video and photo management and production you will be happy with the Mac applications. You also won't have the risk of viruses attacking your files. The stuff we have to do on our windows machines at work just kills productivity, frustrating.

    If you are a gamer, not so much but it is getting better.

    If you are not a pro, the stuff that comes in iLife is very good (iPhoto, iMovie), the iWork is OK.

    Not sure if any of this will work well on the air, however. They do work well on other mac laptops untill you get into processor intensive video encoding type work.
  15. zartemis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2010
    Very cool! I love and heavily use gesture search and the dolphin browser gesture shortcuts (which even lets you trace your own gestures) on my Android Evo phone, so this sounds excellent. Great way to quickly control the MBA with your left hand while, say, you are eating lunch.

    I appreciate all the recs so far!
  16. steveoc macrumors regular

    Nov 6, 2007
    Adirondacks NY
    I'd count DEVONthink as a great Mac program without a Windows counterpart. It's an amazing information manager that I regard as essential in my teaching, research, and writing. I plan to use it to manage business information in the future using the built in OCR to eliminate paper records.

    John Dvorak cited it as justification for buying a Mac.

    Tinderbox is another powerful information application that is Mac only.

    As mentioned before, Scrivener is an outstanding application.
  17. Avro macrumors regular


    Mar 30, 2008
    It is, but an Aussie is writing a Windows version . I am going to lose bragging rights! :(
  18. zartemis thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2010
    Looks interesting, seems like Evernote on steroids. I already use a Fujitsu Scan Snap to scan and OCR my papers, make them searchable, and upload to Evernote. DEVONthink looks like it adds automatic categorization features. Too bad they don't have an Android app -- I use Evernote on my phone (we're dealing with probate, and it's great for snapping pics of checks we write while on the road, which are then automatically uploaded and available on our PC when we get back, and which can then be sent to the lawyer via PDF from within Evernote). I'll definitely check this one out -- I do see some folks combine use of both programs to take advantage of the strengths of each (in comments at ).
  19. nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    I agree about Scrivener. There's nothing like that on Windows. I didn't know it was becoming cross-platform--that's a very good thing.

    Other Mac-only applications that are worth looking at if they strike an interest:

    Omnigraffle: flowchart, charting, etc.
    Omnioutliner: an excellent sophisticated outlining program
    Omnifocus: task management
    Things from Cultured Code: task management
    Keynote: presentation software
    Timeline 3-D from Beedocs: an amazing program for creating video timelines
    Ortelius: a program for working with maps
    BusyCal: a wonderful calendar program
    Bento from filemaker: a simple to design and use database
    Sente: a bibliographic program that might not be Mac Only, but I think it is
  20. Turian.Spectre macrumors regular


    Aug 31, 2010
    Check out this website.

    Good place for beginners looking for useful apps. And good for other to find something new they did not even know about. =)
  21. ksmith80209 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 15, 2007
    The cool thing about DEVONthink is that it's scriptable. For example, rather than using Evernote, I use DropBox (which I believe they have for Android), take a photo of something and save it to a folder I called "Send to DEVONthink." That folder then automatically sends everything to DT and deletes the original - all via a simple script provided by DEVONthink. I also use a rule to clip any email I forward to myself prefixed with "DT" right into the app. So far I haven't missed Evernote and its idiosyncrasies.
  22. Detektiv-Pinky macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2006
    Berlin, Germany
    Omnigraffle is far superior to Visio in drawing diagrams.

    I love the BSD-underpinning of OSX. It gives you all kinds of Unix power that has simply no match in the Windows world - like having a C-Compiler, Python and all the Unix-Tools available whenever you need them.
  23. baseline01 macrumors newbie

    Jun 16, 2009
  24. sunforce, Nov 3, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010

    sunforce macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2010
    What a load of crock, just because you say something with authority and conviction doesn't make it true. Its a different OS design paradigm so what compelling feature set are you talking about that one has and the other doesn't which is independent of the design principles of Unix versus Windows?

    BTW, since like to quote some history, In the 1990s MS had 3 Windows "products", Windows 3.1x -> Windows 95, Windows NT 3.1/3.5x Workstation and Windows NT 3.1/3.5x server and their later variances. So you compared Mac OS then with the non-consumer version of Windows (NT), which BTW isn't even a unique design since its based on VAX VMS with a virtually non-useable POSIX layer so that it can bid for US government business. Hmm was Windows 3.1x or Windows 95, the consumer version of windows better then?

    Anyway back to the original question, I think you're asking about Windows versus OS X application comparisons (instead of MS versus Apple, since MS makes software for OS X as well). Anyone with experience using the new MS Office 2011 for the Mac? I have MS office 2008 for OSX at home and have used MS Office 2007 (XP) and 2010 (Win7) at office. 2008 was a bit of a hog, 2010 seems better than 2007 (not just features), example outlook 2010 search is light years ahead of 2007 in speed/useability, almost don't need X1 or Google desktop anymore.
  25. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    I switched 4 years ago and the only applications I feel are better on Windows is Microsoft Office (shouldn't be surprised by that!) and Quicken. I use Parallels to run Windows Virtual Machines to run Quicken and some Windows-only applications. I'm much happier with iWork than MS Office when I don't need the compatibility.

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