About five years ago I made the jump to the Mac world. It took me about a day to unlearn Windows and get into the flow of the Mac, but now I look back and wonder why I didn't switch sooner.
I've become the first call Apple support person for numerous friends and collegeaus and regularly help them make "the jump". One question I always get is "What apps should I get?". Well here's my list....
Time Machine - included with OS X
This is one of the most overlooked values of the Mac universe. Connect a $125 external hard drive and you'll never loose a file or a version of a file again. As an added bonus,it makes migrating to a new machine a breeze. Connect the external drive to a new Mac, hit restore and all your files, setting and apps are loaded automatically.
Google Chrome - free, www.google.com/chrome
My prefered browser. I find it faster and more user friendly than Firefox or Safari, which are both good.
DropBox - free 2GB storage, www.dropbox.com
This is a must have app! DropBox provides cloud based storage which is great for both disaster recovery and multiple device access to your files. I have my DropBox synced to my laptop, iMac, iPhone and iPad.
VLC - free, www.videolan.org/vlc
VLC will play any video file you can find with incredible clarity and performance. I've replaced Quicktime with VLC and never looked back.
Handbrake - free, www.handbrake.fr
If you need to convert the format of audio or video files, this is the app you're looking for.
App Zapper - $12.95, www.appzapper.com
When you drag an application to the Trash Can to delete it, you're not guaranteed to remove all the hidden files from the app. AppZapper is a well crafted app that makes everything get cleared away and your hard drive stays clean.
Pixelmator - $29.99, Apple App Store
This is the program that should be scaring the hell out of Adobe. For $30, Pixelmator does 95% of what a $695 copy of Photoshop does. Unless you're a graphics professional, Pixelmator will server you well. They only caveat is that creating a drop shadow with Pixelmator is a multistep, manual process..... there's no one-click option like Photoshop. It's totally annoying and the only reason I still have Photoshop on my machine. Hopefully the company reads all the message boards and listens to the masses and adds this feature soon.
Gelatin - free, Apple App Store
Great app for combining multiple pdf files into a single file. With Gelatin, Preview & OS X's print to PDF functionality, there's no reason to spend $139 or more for an Acrobat product. Let's just say that I'm not bullish on Adobe's viability based on their current price points.
Growl - $1.99, Apple App Store
Growl is a good app for notifying you of activity from other applications running in the background. When using my laptop, I'll have only one app visible and get pop-ups from Growl when new emails, twitter entries, skype calls or dropbox files change. With Apple's launch of OS X Lion, Growl updated the application and let's just say it hasn't been a great experience. I loved the old version, and am ok with the new version. Hopefully there's an update on the way soon that makes things better.
PathFinder - $39.95, www.cocoatech.com
If you do a ton of file copying, manipulation or acess, PathFinder is a big improvement over Finder. Not cheap, but if you spend a lot of time in Finder, you should check out PathFinder. 30 day free trial.
Disk Warrior - $99.95, www.alsoft.com/diskwarrior
Disk Warrior is an expensive utilty but worth every cent. If you've had your Mac for a while or are having disk problems, you need to run Disk Warrior and let it fix things. I thought my 2006 iMac was a goner as the system got slower and slower, and started crashing on a daily basis. One run of Disk Warrior identified a couple of disk errors, patched everything up and now its running like a champ again. Highly recommended.
Vuze - free, www.vuze.com
If you're looking for a great BitTorrent client, look no further. Fast search and download of files, plus interfaces with iTunes and TiVo for viewing videos on your TV.