Best Mac apps of 2013: Talkcast recap

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On this Sunday's TUAW Talkcast, several Mac pundits picked out their favorite Mac apps of 2013. Our own Michael Rose convened the panel, including GeekBeat TV host Benjamin Roethig; TUAW TV Live host Shawn "Doc Rock" Boyd (who hates snow); longtime TUAW contributor, app developer and podcaster Brett Terpstra; and the managing editor of The Mac Observer, Jeff Gamet.

The show will be available on iTunes momentarily (and streamable from Talkshoe), but in case you want to speed up your app sampling, we've recapped the app list here. To best highlight these apps, I will list them alphabetically with links and relevant quips contributed by the host and guests. All of these apps are compatible with OS X 10.8 and 10.9, and reasonably priced. Some of them work with older systems, also.

Also, be sure to read Brett's own list of his favorite apps of 2013, over at

Best Mac Apps of 2013

1Password 4 from AgileBits Inc. (On numerous people's lists.) Jeff called it "magically awesome." Brett notes that it stores your passwords and personal information (including credit card numbers, software license keys and more) and "makes storing and generating [the items] just simple." The popup that used to only work in browsers now works anywhere on your Mac; that way, you don't have to open the main 1Password app nearly as often as before.

AirServer 5 from App Dynamic. An AirPlay receiver for Mac and PC. Can mirror your display from iOS devices. "Great for demoing iOS apps, and a more professional feature set than Reflector" -- Mike Rose.

Alfred v2 from Running With Crayons. A free, hotkey-based launch controller that also can initiate a quick web search and offers a number of other capabilities (offered by Doc Rock; he referred to it as one of his household servants). This one received a TUAW Best of 2011 for Mac Utility apps.

Adobe Edge Code and Edge Inspect Combo. Doc Rock uses these programs with his Creative Cloud subscription. Edge Code is a HTML and CSS editing tool. Edge Inspect is an inline editor of code, which while working on a line, the meta key will open up accompanying files in a modal box, so they can be adjusted without leaving your main HTML file. "It's amazing," according to Doc.

Bartender from Surtees Studios Ltd. (Offered up by Brett Terpstra and Jeff Gamet.) "Bartender is a lifesaver." It lets you control which menu items show up on your menu bar, and lets you rearrange them at will. Bartender was also written up on TUAW as a Friday Favorite while it was still in beta.

BeamApp from BeamApp UG. Brett noted this Mac and iOS tool for quickly sending phone numbers, songs, maps and more between your devices and your Mac. Mike pointed out DeskConnect, which has some of the same functionality but also allows you to send files (PDFs, presentations, Word docs) between the Mac and your iOS device in a jiffy.

BetterTouchTool by Andreas Hegenberg. A free utility for OS X 10.7 and above that lets you configure gestures for your mouse and trackpad. Brett says he uses two Magic Trackpads and can set them up to do just what he wants.

CheatSheet from Media Atleier. This free utility uses the command key to show you all available shortcuts for an app. Not available in the Mac App Store because it cannot be sandboxed. See Media Atelier's blog for the explanation.

Clarify 1.1.3 from Blue Mango Learning Systems. A great tool for quick and easy documentation. You can capture an image, edit it and add text, all on one place. You can read about Clarify's first iteration in TUAW's Daily Mac App feature from 2011.

Clef and Waltz. Mike Rose pointed out this new take on password and authentication management; just point your iPhone at an animated barcode patch and it lets you into the target site, removing your need to remember passwords. Although relatively few sites work with Clef, the new, independently developed Chrome plugin Waltz expands it to work with Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox and more.

Clyppan by Ole Morten Halvorsen. It stores all your clipboard clippings, letting you recall them with a quick keystroke. Not new, but very useful.

Coffitivity from Both Jeff and Mike called out this menubar tool. A certain amount of ambient noise can help stimulate creativity, so folks who work in silence may benefit from running Coffitivity, which adds background and ambient noise from a coffee shop.

Downie by Charlie Monroe. Web video and YouTube downloader "that actually works." Downie actually suports 120 different sites, and Mike noted that it's replaced older tools like Grappler and EVOM for him.

Everpix. This made the list despite the photo storage service closing shop earlier this year. "It was a fantastic app while it lasted." You can read the story of Everpix's closure from Megan Lavey-Heaton on TUAW.

Evernote from Evernote Corporation. It's a note taking app that can do many things and Michael notes that it "keeps getting more useful." Jeff Gamet also notes that the Jot Script Evernote Edition (US $75) is more like writing with a real pen as opposed to a stylus. It's got a hard tip and clicks on the iPad, which is his only complaint.

Fantastical 2 from Flexibits Inc. This is billed as "calendars and reminders done right." Jeff notes that additional plain text entry options, multi time zone and dictation support have been added. You can read TUAW's review from Victor Agreda to learn more.

Final Cut Pro X from Apple. Listener John Brown suggested Apple's flagship 64-bit video editing application. John noted they've made it quite simple for most people to use and refers to it as "remarkable." Doc Rock also notes that it is "a major step forward" and "a great application." This week's 10.1 update added optimizations for Apple's new Mac Pro desktop.

Hazel from Noodlesoft. Doc says this pairs up with Alfred as his "domestic help" and notes that "it does a really good job of keeping icons on desktop organized," plus it can move files around based on a variety of file attributes that you set.

MailMate from Feron. An IMAP email client with an impressive array of features. "It does everything I need it to," says Brett, who describes it as "the TextMate of email."

Marked 2.2 from Brett Terpstra. We couldn't let the show go by without a hat tip to Brett's own Markdown preview tool, very much improved in the 2.x version.

MindNode Pro from Ideas On Canvas Ltd. Both Mike and Brett called out this Mac and iOS mindmapping tool for its speed, easy interface and good-looking output.

Mouseposé 3.2.4 from Boinx Software Ltd. Updated in December, it's a useful mouse pointer highlighting tool for demos and presentations. "A lot of my colleagues use tools like OmniDazzle or Zoomit for remote presentations," says Mike, "and whenever I pull out Mouseposé everyone on the call goes 'oooh, ahhh.'"

OmniPresence from The Omni Group. For users of OmniGroup's apps. It's a free service and menu bar item that offers file syncing between devices. "It makes all of the changes between your files appear everywhere," says Jeff, but without the limitations and aggravations of iCloud.

PollEv Presenter app from Poll Everywhere. SMS-based polling service that works with PowerPoint or Keynote to show live polls in real time. Mike calls it one of his go-to tools.

Popclip from Pilotmoon Software. (Offered by Doc Rock and Brett Terpstra.) A $2 app that shows up when you select text with your mouse or trackpad -- simulating the iOS text selection experience..

ReadKit from Webin. RSS reader; Brett says it's "simplistic and powerful, and it supports every RSS system you can think of, and makes my life easy."

RocketDocs. This single-session browser tool is specific to the Google Drive/Google Apps productivity tools. Mike says it's often easier than setting up Chrome for Docs use, and keeps your editing sessions away from general browsing.

Shush from Mizage. A cough button for your Mac, so that you can mute yucky noises when recording audio. Works in FaceTime, iChat, Skype, Podcast Capture and more. Both Mike and Brett enthusiastically recommend it -- Mike even used it during the show, and blocked every snuffle and cough!

We welcome your suggestions for the best Mac apps of 2013 -- let us know in the comments or on Facebook.