Thursday, March 10, 2011

App Corner: The New Mac App Store

The main success of the iOS (mobile operating system) on every iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPd can be drawn back to the App store where you can find countless low cost appliations to run on your mobile device.  In early January 2011, Apple launched the App Store for the Mac creating a one stop spot for Apple users to buy and download their favorite Mac programs.  Developers for the iOS are also releasing desktop versions of their popular mobile apps.  So now you can have your favorite app as a software application on your Mac desktop.

In order to access the new Mac App Store you need to be running OS 10.6 Snow Leopard, the latest version of the Mac operating system.  The good news if your computer meets the minimum system requirements the upgrade from 10.5 to 10.6 only costs $29.  To find out more and to check the system requirements visit:

If you have Snow Leopard installed on your computer but don't see the App Store on your dock, just click on the Apple in the top left corner of your screen and choose "Software Update." Once you update to the latest version of Snow Leopard the Mac App Store will automatically appear in your dock at the bottom of your screen.

Prices and availability sometimes change daily so check back often for sales.  The Mac App Store is filled with apps but here is a quick highlight of a few that are relevant to assistive technology:
Speak it!
Speak it! is a simple text to speech application for the iOS that is now available on the Mac.  It allows you to type or copy and paste text into the program and have it read out loud by 4 high quality computerized voices that come with the program.  ($9.99 currently on sale for $4.99; 3 out of 5 stars from a total of 8 reviews from Mac App Store 2/1/11)
Read4Me is also a simple text to speech program.  It uses the built in computerized voices that come with the Mac to read text that is typed or copied into it.  Text can also be exported to an audio file.  ($3.99; 5 out of 5 stars from a total of 2 reviews from Mac App Store 2/1/11)
iProcrastinate has been on the Mac for a while but the latest version is available exclusively from the App Store.  iProcrastinate is designed to be a simple, easy to use task management program for students.  It allows the user to create a project with multiple steps that helps break a large project into smaller more manageable pieces.  The Mac app wirelessly syncs with the iOS app. (Free for a limited time; for more information about iProcrastinate check out
MindNode for Mac is a simple mind mapping program that allows the user to visually organize their thoughts. This can be a great tool for outlining a project or report.  (Free; 4.5 out of 5 stars from a total of 485 reviews from Mac App Store 2/1/11.  MindNode Pro a more robust mind mapping tool is available for $19.95)
Typ-O is an inexpensive word prediction program.  It gives on screen suggestions as you type based on a prediction engine and possible spelling errors.  It also integrates text to speech so you can hear the suggestions read out loud.  ($9.99; 5 out of 5 stars from a total of 1 review from Mac App store 2/1/11)
AudioNote - Notepad and Voice Recorder
AudioNote is a notepad and voice recorder that allows you to record audio through your computer's microphone while you take notes.  You can later click on your notes to hear the audio that was recorded while you were typing.  it works similar to the Livescribe SmartPen, but with your keyboard.  You can even use the drawing tool to doodle notes as well. ($9.99; 3.5 out of 5 stars from a total of 12 reviews from Mac App Store 2/1/11)

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