10 apps to turn your Mac into a productivity champ


Apple's new battleground is the enterprise, and it's primary weapons are the iPhone and the iPad. According to Good Technology's Mobility Index, Apple is leading activations for both smartphones and tablets.

But, Apple's growth in the enterprise isn't limited to mobile devices.

Once merely the machine of choice for creatives, Macs are gaining a foothold in business as well. With compatibility for most common business software, all professionals can have the user experience they want without sacrificing productivity.

The "App Store" for Macs gives users easy access to a variety of tools and services. Here are 10 applications to will help turn your Mac into the business machine you need it to be.

1. Alfred

If you are the kind of user who values keyboard efficiency and touching your mouse or trackpad as little as possible, productivity app Alfred could be a good fit for you. Quickly launch apps or files, search the web, or create custom workflows. Alfred also syncs with other apps, such as Dropbox, to help you better access all of the files you need for work. You can download it for free and upgrade with the optional powerpack starting at £17.

2. Evernote

The classic note-taking app for almost any platform is Evernote. In addition to creating notes and lists, it also makes a good tool for organization. You can store and access clippings from web articles and notes you've written by hand. The app is available in a tiered pricing model that starts with a free version.

3. Postbox

Postbox is a great replacement option for the standard Mail app for Mac. It integrates with any POP or IMAP email provider and gives users the option to tag emails for better organization. Other useful features are the ability to send a "quick reply," and the ability to drag and drop Dropbox links to quickly send large files. Postbox is roughly $10, but you can try it for free for 30 days.

4. Pixelmator

If you need to quickly edit images on your desktop, Pixelmator is a great app. The app works seamlessly with the iPad version and you can start working on an image on your desktop and complete it on your iPad. Users get access to all of the standard editing tools -- layers, color correction, and the ability to add text or shapes. Pixelmator for Mac is $29.99.

5. Fantastical 2

The follow-up to the wildly successful calendar app, Fantastical, is Fantastical 2. The mini window view makes your calendar glanceable from the menu bar, and you can sync your calendar account, whether it's iCloud, Google, Yahoo, or any other CalDAV account. Fantastical is a little pricey at $39.99.

6. Bartender

Bartender is a tool that gives your the ability to customize the icons on the menu bar on your home screen. Minimalists can hide the bar completely until they need it, or pick and choose which apps are available in the bar. Bartender is $15, but is available as a free trial.

7. Skitch

Skitch is a screen capture tool that allows you to quickly take a screenshot and annotate it accordingly. Users can add highlights, boxes, arrows, and text, among other things, to mark up a particular image. Skitch is free to download, but offers in-app purchases.

8. Caffeine

While simple in concept, Caffeine is a useful tool that allows users to keep their Mac from automatically going to sleep. Caffeine creates an icon in your menu bar at the top of the screen and, once you click it, keeps you Mac from falling asleep. Click it again and you'll revert back to your normal settings. It's a great compromise for someone who is energy conscious but needs to keep their machine up for longer periods of time. Caffeine is free to download.

9. FilePane

If you're obsessive about file management, you might consider downloading FilePane for your Mac. The app gives users a "Drop Here" panel where they can quickly drag and drop files to edit, share, copy, or convert them. FilePane costs $6.99.

10. The Unarchiver

Another simple tool that will save you a lot of time is The Unarchiver, an app that unarchives a plethora of file types. The app works with common file types such as Zip and RAR files, but also with older and uncommon file types as well. The app is free to download.

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