Applications in Mac OS X are programs.  Mac OS X ships with several dozen of built-in applications that allow you to do a wide range of things and accomplish tasks.  For example, you can create and modify documents, browse the Internet, send and receive e-mails, store and modify a calendar, store contact information, and modify the settings on your Mac.
New Macs also ship with add-on applications from either Apple or third-party vendors.  For example, Apple ships iLife on all new Macs.  If a third-party application or suite is preinstalled on a new Mac, it will likely be a trial version.

By default, Applications are installed in the "Applications" folder on the Macintosh HD.  The Applications folder on Leopard is identified by the folder shown on the left.  New Macs have all preinstalled software placed in the Applications folder or the Utilities folder (a subfolder/subdirectory in the Applications folder).
 
These two directories can be found at the following locations:
  • /Macintosh HD/Applications
  • /Macintosh HD/Applications/Utilities
Just take some time to navigate to these folders to see what's in them.  You'll realize a key difference in the contents of these two folders.  The Applications folder holds applications that you use to get things done whereas the Utilities folder holds assistants, utilitites and applications that allow you to get to more advanced features within the operating system.  You can launch an Application, utility, or assistant from these locations by simply double-clicking on it.  There are other ways to start an Application such as using Spotlight or third-party software
 
You can install and delete Applications on a Mac, something you are very likely need to do to customize your Mac experience.

Updates
  • July 13, 2008 - Content revision, corrections, image update.
  • April 30, 2009 - Content revision
Created: 10:03 AM on Feb 7, 2007
By: switchtoamac