Whenever a new Mac shows up here, or for that matter, whenever I reconfigure a Mac or install a new OS, one of the first things I do is install this base group of 10 applications.
My list of 10 must-have applications doesn't include any of the major productivity applications, such as Microsoft Office or Adobe Creative Suite, that most users rely on for their daily tasks. I'll install them later, but they're not top priorities. Instead, the applications and utilities I install first are designed to provide a framework that will make it easier to use and manage my Mac.
To come up with this list, I looked through the applications I've previously installed on all of the Macs here at home and in our office. I then thought about recently purchased Macs, and what I installed first. I actually came up with a long list of applications and utilities, which I whittled back down to the top 10.
Without further ado, here is the top 10 list of applications I install first on a Mac.