Longstanding Mac Apps



My grandpa was a teacher by trade and a woodworker by passion. My grandmother never did get to park their car in the garage because it was my grandpa’s wood shop.

In my garage are a few tools handed down to me from my Grandpa. Here’s a photo of a few of the more sentimental items I’ve been given: a level and a hand plane.

Tools

The level is least 50 or 60 years old — it has my great grandfather’s initials carved on it. And the plane is probably as old as I am.

I am also a woodworker by passion, but not nearly to the extent my grandpa was. I enjoy building tables and benches on the weekends as a way to give my mind and hands a change of pace from the pixel-based work I do the rest of the week.

The tools of my trade are digital.

A lot has changed in the personal computing industry since 1985. For me, the first computer I ever called my own was a Dell laptop back in 2000. Aside from my Yahoo ID and my AOL AIM account,1 I am not using any of the apps or services that I began using back in 2000.

Sometimes I wonder if the software I’m using today will still be around 20 or 30 years from now. If I put a reminder into OmniFocus to renew my passport in 2024, will that to-do item be preserved until the time it’s due?

For equal parts fun and research, I was digging around to see what Mac apps have been around for the past couple of decades and which are still relevant and under active development.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • Microsoft Word: 1985 (It’s fun to think that the most popular longstanding 3rd-party Mac app might be Microsoft Word, hu?)

  • Microsoft Excel: 1985 (Fun fact: did you know that Excel first shipped on the Mac? It didn’t come to Windows until 1987.)

  • Adobe Illustrator: 1986

  • Fetch: 1989

  • Adobe Photoshop: 1990

  • Accordance Bible: 1990

  • Pro Tools: 1991 (Fun fact: did you know when Pro Tools first launched it cost $6,000, and that “Livin la Vida Loca” was the first number 1 single to be recorded, edited, and mixed entirely in Pro Tools?)

  • BBEdit: 1992 (Fun fact: did you know BBEdit was free when it first came out?)

  • LaunchBar: 1995 (Fun fact: did you know LaunchBar is the original application launcher, and the first app to ever use the Command+Space keyboard hotkey?)

  • Transmit: 1998 (Fun fact: did you know Transmit originally was named “Transit” but there was another app by that name, so Panic changed the name of their app.)

I’m sure there are more. Though I’m not trying to make this list exhaustive, if you know of any apps that should be on this list let me know on Twitter. I’m @shawnblanc.


  1. Which I need for Flickr and AIM respectively. Though iMessage has largely usurped AIM over the past year or so.