Later today, Linotype will announce FontExplorer™ X, a full-featured font manager for OS X that will go head-to-head with current front-runners Suitcase and FontAgent Pro. FontExplorer X will preview, organize, and auto-activate fonts, but its most alluring feature might be its iTunes-like interface. This is genius. Managing fonts isn’t all that different than managing music, so why not copy the UI of the most popular music app in the world? Users will also be able to purchase fonts from Linotype and other vendors from the Linotype Font Store within the app — in a manner very similar to the iTunes Music Store.
Noticeably absent from the feature list is font repair, which Linotype claims would violate most license agreements. Well, that’s just silly. Also missing is auto-activation for Photoshop and Illustrator.
You can download a beta now, but Linotype warns that you should not install it on a production system. So check it out — we’ll run a full review once the final is released.
Update 9/29: A new version, 1.0fc2 (build C6F1), has been posted. No release notes so I can’t tell you what’s fixed or new. That drives me nuts.
Update 9/30: Correction, there is a changelog, but it’s at MacUpdate and VersionTracker, not the Linotype site. Improvements include font rating, cache cleaning, speed, and stability. This thing is starting to look very solid.
Update 10/31: FontExplorer X 1.0fc3 is out. This is mostly a bug fix release. Linotype now publishes each version’s change history.