My Top 9 Favorite Premium Apps for Mac OS X

If free apps just aren’t good enough for you on Mac OS X, there are also plenty of premium apps to consider. Many of them are well worth the money, so I decided to round up all of my favorites that I think are worth your investment.

So, without further ado, here are my top nine favorite premium applications for Mac OS X.


Coda is a text editor aimed primarily at Web developers. It’s different in that it offers a complete interface to that allows its users to manage sites, transfers, CSS formatting, and more.

My Thoughts

Coda is one of my most-used tools for Web design projects. It really is an amazing piece of software that gives total control of the Web-development process. It also makes managing files easy, and it also helps with the annoying task of transferring files to a server by keeping doing it from within the application itself. It’s an invaluable tool for Web designers.


TextMate is a minimalistic text editor aimed at programmers of all types. It is unique in that it is a fairly bare bones editor on the surface, but it has deep customization options. There are also bundles that users can create and install that will extend the interoperability with a programming language.

My Thoughts

When I’m not specifically doing Web design, I turn to TextMate instead. This is one of my favorite no-frills text editor for the Mac. I enjoy the minimalistic interface but I also enjoy the fact that I can harness the power that the application has. But the bundles, which are packages that enhance TextMate, are really what make TextMate shine. Plus, it supports an incredible amount of languages from the start, and can be extended if it doesn’t.

iShowU HD Pro

iShowU HD is a screen capture/recording software that allows users to record their Mac desktop. It offers plenty of customization options for how to record your screen, and it also has many predetermined formats that you can record video for, which makes it ideal for those creating screencasts and more.

My Thoughts

If you are interested in recording your Mac screen, iShowU HD is a winner, hands down. I’ve tried numerous screen-capture applications, and this one is, by far, the best one out there. It is simple enough, but offers plenty of customization too. I would have liked to have seen some basic effects, annotations, or video editing features, but I guess that is why we have iMovie, right?

Mental Case

Mental Case is an educational tool that helps users to memorize information. It allows users to create flash cards; Mental Case will then quiz you on the flash cards and keep track of how well you are doing. It then modifies when you will be retested on this information for the optimal chance to memorize it.

My Thoughts

Mental Case has quickly become one of my favorite applications. I only purchased it a few weeks ago, but I have been using it on a daily basis to expand my vocabulary (and no, I’m not in school anymore). It has actually worked quite well. So now I can use a word like “pithy” and, apart from sounding like an intellectual genius (or maybe something else), I also actually understand what it means. I could also see this is a no-brainer for anyone learning a foreign language or studying for tests.


Pixelmator is a photo manipulation program. It offers a no-fluff user experience and is very lightweight, but it also has powerful editing features. It might just be the best alternative to Photoshop available on Mac OS X.

My Thoughts

Whenever I reinstalled a computer OS, I used to install antivirus software and then I would install Adobe Photoshop. But let’s just say that since I purchased Pixelmator, my Macbook no longer has Photoshop on it at all. Pixelmator is the perfect replacement for light image editing on the Mac. It will be more than enough for many, but just right for most. But if you need Photoshop, by all means go get Photoshop.


Scrivener is a writing tool that enables writers to plan, organize, and create long-form content. It is primarily aimed towards those writing long books, articles, screenplays, and more. It also has plenty of tools to help do research, plan characters, create scenes, and more.

My Thoughts

Scrivener is a tool for the modern-day writer. If you are writing a book, a long essay, a research paper, a screenplay, or anything else that requires more than a few pages, this application is sure to help. But it really differentiates itself by offering a unique way to organize information. You have folders, sure, but there is also a cork board that and unique outline feature that enables you to easily organize and reorder things. It just works.


Sparrow is a complement to Gmail on the desktop. It takes the Web-based Gmail experience and brings it to the desktop with many features that keep the e-mail program lightweight but also offers the power that Gmail provides.

My Thoughts

While I have a tendency to simply open up Gmail and leave it open all day, I really enjoy Sparrow for the notifications and quick access to my e-mail. It is a minimalistic application that offers you the bare essentials to read and reply to e-mail, but it also supports some of Gmail’s more intricate features too. I really like it.

Angry Birds

Angry Birds is a game that has you hurl “Angry Birds” with a slingshot at pigs to score points. You are offered hundreds of levels to complete, and along the way there are many hidden surprises.

My Thoughts

Chances are you have seen a commercial, read an article, or played an application that featured the “Angry Birds.” If you have, then you probably already know how fun flinging birds at pigs can be. If not, there is no discussion even needed — go download this immediately. It’s just great fun.

Flight Control HD

Flight Control HD is a game of strategy where quick thinking is required to manage and direct the plethora of aircraft that will need direction to land at your airport. If you’re not fast enough, an aircraft might crash and that means game over.

My Thoughts

Flight Control HD is a really fun time waster that has unlimited replay value because each game is never the same. It works by directing air traffic by using a pattern to which they will follow to land. It starts out easy enough, but quickly becomes more complicated as more aircraft fill the screen. It’s also great because it is available for so many platforms.