Buying software used to be more of an experience. For PC software, typically buyers would receive a hefty box, user manuals, and a host of disks. Then, the industry migrated to a thinner experience: a CD-ROM or a DVD-ROM, often packed with just a paper card possessing a registration key or a product code. Apple's App Store normalized creating a user account, making a payment via credit card, and downloading applications.
I can't remember the last software application I purchased as a boxed product. My last couple of Macs haven't even possessed an optical drive. My business and personal software purchases have largely been online or via Apple's App Store, but that's beginning to change.
SEE: Software Usage Policy (Tech Pro Research)
Subscription software sales, which typically involve businesses and users creating an account with a software manufacturer, such as Adobe or Microsoft, and making a monthly payment automatically by credit card in exchange for being able to access a personalized portal providing download files and product licensing, are the future. Or so I thought until I discovered Setapp.
For $9.99 a month, Setapp provides Mac users licensing rights to use any or all of the subscription service's 67 applications. Associating one's Setapp account with a Mac enables using all programs and utilities collected within the plan on that computer. If you buy a new computer, no worries—just deactivate Setapp on the old system and load it on the new machine.
Included applications cover a spectrum of categories, including productivity, coding and development, system utilities, finance, graphics, and audio and video file conversion. Here's the complete list at the time of this writing:
- Aeon Timeline
- App for Whatsapp
- Be Focused
- ChronoSync Express
- Cloud Outliner
- Disk Drill
- Elmedia Player
- Forecast Bar
- Get Backup Pro
- Home Inventory
- iStat Menus
- Jump Desktop
- My Wonderful Days
- PDF Squeezer
- Remote Mouse
- SQLPro Studio
- WiFi Explorer
- World Clock Pro
- Yummy FTP Pro
Already own a few of the programs? That's OK—you can keep using those, and Setapp ensures you receive access to all program updates and upgrades. Plus, the service promises to add additional offerings down the road. Even if you cancel your Setapp subscription (which you can do at any time), you retain ownership of the programs you already purchased before you began the subscription.
With a no-credit-card-required free trial available, and the fact a program can cost as much as $99 purchased independently, there's little to lose, so give Setapp a try.
- How to license and install Photoshop and other Adobe apps on Macs (TechRepublic)
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- Fix your Mac with these simple troubleshooting tips (ZDNet)
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.