When it’s worth pay­ing

Af­ford­able paid apps can re­turn many times your in­vest­ment


Although we’ve been singing the praises of free soft­ware in this fea­ture, that isn’t to say you should ig­nore ev­ery app that has a price tag at­tached. These days you can buy highly ca­pa­ble apps of all kinds at af­ford­able prices; some­thing that might be at­trib­uted to Ap­ple’s app stores skew­ing prices down­wards. Many of these apps are far more am­bi­tious than their price and your

pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of low-cost soft­ware might sug­gest.

We’re talk­ing about the likes of Affin­ity De­signer, Pix­el­ma­tor

and OneNote, which are strong, ca­pa­ble ri­vals to big names such as Adobe Il­lus­tra­tor, Adobe Pho­to­shop and Ever­note. Spend­ing a rel­a­tively small amount en­cour­ages de­vel­op­ers of these apps to con­tinue in­vest­ing ef­fort in new fea­tures, which these days of­ten come at a steady pace, and of­ten with­out hav­ing to pay for a whole new ver­sion.

Affin­ity De­signer (£39.99, Mac App Store) was a great app even from the start, yet fea­tures added since ver­sion 1.2 have added sig­nif­i­cantly to its ap­peal. That ver­sion brought the abil­ity to set text on a path, dashed lines, a cor­ner tool, and vec­tor slice ex­port. It en­ables your undo history to be saved with doc­u­ments, and fea­tures a new pixel align­ment mode to aid user in­ter­face and web de­sign. Ver­sion 1.2.1 added sup­port for Ap­ple’s Force Touch track­pad on the new MacBook and MacBook Pro, en­abling you to paint with

pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity with­out buy­ing spe­cial­ist hard­ware.

Mi­crosoft’s OneNote (free,

onenote.com) may not be as pop­u­lar as Ever­note, but it still has a great deal to of­fer. For a start, it doesn’t im­pose a 60MB monthly limit on up­loads, as Ever­note’s free tier does. Its latest ver­sion has the abil­ity to search hand­writ­ten notes, and can record and play au­dio notes. Djay (al­go­rid­dim.com) gained a ton of new fea­tures in ver­sion 1.1, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to cre­ate video mixes, not just au­dio. It also sup­ports an ex­tended range of hard­ware

con­trollers, and its media li­brary has been beefed up by

in­te­gra­tion with iTunes and Spo­tify and video im­port­ing.

Pix­el­ma­tor (£22.99, Mac App Store) goes from strength to strength, with ver­sion 3.3 adding sup­port for Hand­off so you can switch be­tween edit­ing an im­age on your Mac and your iPad. It sup­ports Yosemite’s Ex­ten­sions too, boost­ing its value by mak­ing its Re­pair tool avail­able within other apps.

When it comes to an­no­tat­ing im­ages, Nap­kin (£29.99, Mac App Store) is a good al­ter­na­tive to Ap­ple’s Preview. Ver­sion 1.5 adds two new vis­ual styles when redact­ing in­for­ma­tion, with a choice of blur­ring or pixel­lat­ing an area for a sub­tler aes­thetic, rather than sim­ply fill­ing it with black. It also en­ables im­ages to be cropped within the app, so you no longer have to open them in another tool to do that, and it fol­lows the lead of many other good Mac apps by en­abling you to match the style of sur­round­ing text

wher­ever you paste.

Fi­nally, ver­sion 5.3

of 1Pass­word (£25.99, Mac App Store) is more tempt­ing than ever as a re­place­ment for iCloud Key­chain, with im­prove­ments to the ac­cu­racy of fill­ing out your iden­tity in online forms, and new field types to store more var­ied data in your key­chain.

These days, apps of­ten add

new fea­tures at

a steady pace at no ex­tra cost

1Pass­word stores a wider va­ri­ety of in­for­ma­tion than iCloud Key­chain yet still syncs it be­tween your de­vices.

Pix­el­ma­tor is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of OS X Yosemite’s Ex­ten­sions fea­ture, which makes the app’s Re­pair tool avail­able from within other soft­ware.

Al­ready a ca­pa­ble app for de­sign­ers in its ini­tial re­lease, Affin­ity De­signer con­tin­ues to de­velop at a pace with new cre­ative tools and lever­ag­ing Ap­ple’s Force Touch track­pad.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.