Meet Alfred, A New Launcher App for the Mac

One of the first things I advise people to install when they get a new Mac (s aapl) is a quicklaunch application, such as Quicksilver or LaunchBar. However, the decision of which one to install just got harder with the introduction of a new contender called Alfred.

Although still in beta, Alfred puts up a good fight against its more established peers, especially when it comes to looks. It definitely looks at home on OS X. It also has all the features you’d expect from this type of app, including app-launching, plus file and web search. Those features are included free in the basic beta, or you can purchase the “Powerpack,” which includes extra things like iTunes control, clipboard history and “Result Actions.”

Result Actions allow you to do things such as copy, email and move a file once found, which is very helpful if you just downloaded something and want to move it to somewhere other than Downloads, for instance. Alfred can do that without you ever touching the mouse. When emailing a file, Alfred not only supports, but also some popular third-party mail applications like Postbox and Mailplane.

Alfred can perform simple system tasks, too. You can do things such as shut down, empty the trash, log out and start the screensaver by typing the appropriate command and hitting return. It’s a good idea to double check you’ve saved everything you need to first, as the action is carried out immediately. It doesn’t take much time to open the ? menu and choose Shut Down, but it does let you keep your hands on the keyboard.

The beta of Alfred (version 0.7.2) is available to download now for free, or you can purchase the Powerpack for £12 GBP (about $20 USD). Purchasing the Powerpack now gets you free updates for 0.X and 1.X. Note that this is a special beta purchase price, so once the app reaches version 1.0, the price will increase. If you want to further support the development of Alfred, you can purchase the “Mega Supporter license,” which will cost you anywhere between £30 GBP (~$48 USD) and £100 GBP (~$160 USD) — you can choose any increment of £10 between those values. Purchasing the Mega Supporter license gets you free lifetime updates, no matter what version.

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