FRESHLY SQUEEZED REVIEW
Setapp: There’s A New Kid In Town
By Frank Petrie
No one has been particularly happy with the layout and lack of certain features in the App Store. But one company is hoping to rectify this.
When Apple first introduced iTunes, we were all majorly impressed. There was nothing to compare it to. A place where you could purchase songs digitally, place them on your computer, and not concern yourself with carving out space in your dwelling to store all your accumulated physical media. The future had arrived (albeit without flying cars).
But as time grew on, Apple started adding other ‘departments’. Movies, videos, podcasts, ringtones, and more. The store began buckling under its own weight. It became a frustrating maze where you would have to leave a trail of peanut shells to find your way back to any particular item of interest.
Then Apple decided that they wanted to sell apps online. Someone was bright enough to realize that it would be a much better experience for the consumer if they created a separate online store dedicated solely to app sales. Hence, the App Store was born.
While not perfect, it didn’t require a GPS. But it could definitely use a bit of tweaking. Hence, a new service has popped up with a different approach.
Introducing Setapp (https://setapp.com) from Macpaw (https://macpaw.com).
“Setapp is a unique store for macOS users that unifies numerous best-of-breed applications of the highest quality and value. It is not a ‘store’ in the traditional understanding where you have to pay every time you need one more application. With Setapp, you pay a fixed price once in a month to get all applications on the store. Without any limits, ads, extra charges, in-app purchases, or paid upgrades.”
Setapp’s monthly subscription price is $9.99. You begin with your 30-day free trial, during which you can use all applications for free and without limitation. Your account will only be charged after 30 days and you will be emailed in advance of the end of your trial period, which starts after you install Setapp on your Mac and log into it. If you’re not satisfied, cancel your subscription at any moment, no penalties.
The apps are fully functional and available without trials or in-app purchases.
Macpaw has brought onboard some of the best software vendors that you can find in the App Store and their app selection continues growing. (Naturally, you can find Macpaw’s offerings, such as Gemini 2 (http://macpaw.com/gemini), Clean My Mac 3 (http://macpaw.com/cleanmymac), and others amid the collection.)
And the collection is continually growing rapidly. During my beta testing, numerous times I’ve received on-screen notifications that a new app had been added to the Setapp folder. Even several times while composing this review.
Entering Setapp is simple as there are several ways. First, you can enter Setapp’s folder through your Finder window’s sidebar. Second, you can view your collection through your MenuBar by clicking on the Setapp icon and clicking on ‘Open Setapp Folder.’ And if you know the name of the particular app that you’d like to access, simply type its name in the search field.
The apps themselves don’t reside on your computer. That would consume too much hard drive space. Instead, all apps are accompanied with a ‘teaser,’ a small preview of the application, reminiscent of the way an app is presented in the App Store. To learn about the app, you click on the “+” symbol if in Column View or double-click the app if in Icon View, and you’ll be presented with a preview of your chosen app. It informs you about the application, helping you to decide whether or not to download the full version. If you decide on a purchase, at that point the app will be downloaded.
This is what impressed me most. Yes, you are paying a subscription, as with Netflix, to have access to all these apps. But with this approach, you can try any app you would like. That’s as close to a free trial as you can get. And buyers have been clamouring for that feature on the AppStore since its inception!
The apps are constantly updated with new ones added regularly. In the few weeks that I’ve been testing Setapp about a dozen new apps have been uploaded.
I’m writing this review after testing a private beta of the app for a couple of weeks now. And now you’re in luck. The beta stage is over and Setapp is available for you to test-drive and subscribe.
And please remember, the developers welcome your feedback. As a result, the app is in constant flux. For example, in the short time I’ve used it, the UI has undergone several welcome changes.
The lone thing that I hope that they add is ‘Categories’ such, as Photography, Word Processing, et al. This would make honing in on what you’re in need of simpler. (Hint, hint.)
Will Setapp be of use for power users? I don’t think so, as they require specific pro software. I wouldn’t think that they would begin their search here. Most likely, they already know which specific app they’re interested in. Then again, we’ll see how things evolve.
But if you’re looking for some solid productivity apps and such, this may be your ticket. There are two major bonuses that I can see. First, the ‘teasers’ for the apps are delivered to your computer. Left to your own device, you may have never stumbled across many of these titles.
Second and most importantly, you’re able to test drive to your heart’s content. You can decide whether an app fulfills your needs without plunking down some dosh and being disappointed.
Requirements for Setapp are macOS 10.10 and a minimum disk space of 150MB. It’s most definitely worth your time to check this subscription service out.
©2017 Frank Petrie