$699 and Up

Apple Mac mini + Mac Pro (Mid-2011) Expectations

If you were thinking of buying a Mac mini ($699 and up) or Mac Pro ($2499 and up), now would probably be a good time to wait. Following the successful transitions of the MacBook Pro and iMac to Intel’s latest lineup of Sandy Bridge processors—and the impending similar update of the MacBook Air—Apple plans to refresh its other desktop machines with new processors and ports over the next couple of months. As of this week, Cnet is claiming the new machines are coming in late July or early August. Read on for the details of what’s expected to change.

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You probably know that January’s Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s largest consumer technology trade show. But did you know that a summer version is starting up again in New York City? Today marks the start of CE Week, a week-long collection of events at which many of 2011’s hottest technologies will be debuted. And our team of editors will be covering CE Week live. Here’s some of what you can expect inside.

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July 4, 2011

BookEndz Docking Station for 13" MacBook Air

Yeah, it’s crazy expensive, but BookEndz has been making notebook docks for years, and its upcoming Docking Station for 13” MacBook Air is the latest in a family of similarly-themed accessories. If you have an external display and other plug-in accessories at your desk, you probably already know the pain of trying to turn the Air into a full-time desktop machine. Who wants to mess with plugging and unplugging all those cables all the time?

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Many Tricks Moom

Chances are your Mac’s virtual desktop is as messy as the physical desk it’s sitting on. Sure, OS X Lion is going to push users towards full-screen apps, and blending Dashboard, Exposé, and Spaces into Mission Control when it launches in July—a great way to move between windows. But Lion isn’t made for working with a bunch of them at once. That’s where Many Tricks’ Moom ($5) comes in. With one or two clicks, you can automatically resize, move, and snap windows together, shortcuts that let you quickly reference two or four apps at a time for simultaneous use.

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Sauder Studio Edge LS 1000 Workcenter

As the spiritual successor to the desk used by one of iLounge’s editors, Sauder’s Studio Edge LS 1000 Workcenter ($200) offers iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini users an affordable and fairly elegant way to set up a computer—maybe even two—in a corner. With twin tempered glass tops that are capable of holding even a 27” iMac with plenty of room to spare for peripherals and desktop work space, LS 1000 has a pewter-painted steel frame that works nicely with the lighter-colored aluminum Apple computers. A corner nook is right-sized for a printer or fax machine, assuming you still have a need for one of those.

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IvySkin IvyPouch Cleaning Cloth

Cleaning cloths are a dime a dozen, but how often do you actually have one on hand when you really need it? Any photographer who has prepped for a perfect shot only to accidentally smudge the camera lens knows that keeping a microfiber wipe nearby is critically important. That’s why we like IvySkin’s IvyPouch Cleaning Cloth ($1) so much—it’s built to be right on your camera strap when you need it.

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Adafruit iCufflinks

Who says you can’t let your nerd flag fly in even the fanciest of situations? Adafruit has you covered with its new LED and aluminum iCufflinks ($128). If you can imagine tearing the power buttons off a couple of MacBook Pros, making them gently pulse like Apple’s famous status lights, and throwing them on the sleeves of a tux, you’ll understand what’s being offered here. Between the outfit and the accessory, you’re bound to impress somebody.

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Ambient Design ArtRage Studio Pro

Back in ye olden days o’ Macintosh, artists could play with Apple’s MacPaint, a basic piece of software that created basic black and white drawings. When you see Ambient Design’s ArtRage Studio Pro ($80) for the Mac, you’ll be amazed at how far art programs have come since then—from metallic oils to realistic watercolors and airbrushes, ArtRage Studio Pro goes so far beyond even the tools in Photoshop and Illustrator that you can actually create digital paintings that look like physical ones. There are less expensive $20 and $40 versions, as well as an iPad edition, but Pro is loaded with extra tools and layer features that serious artists will want to have at their disposal.

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Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB + ATR-2500-USB Microphones

So you’re loving Apple’s GarageBand and you kinda-sorta taught yourself to play music. Now it’s time to take a stab at singing along with your strings, keys, and beats. You’re going to need something better than your Mac’s standard mic for the vocals… something like Audio-Technica’s ATR2100-USB Handheld USB/XLR Microphone ($80). And hey, it looks good enough that you wouldn’t get laughed off the stage if you pulled it out at a show. Updated! We’ve added new pictures and details for the both ATR2100-USB and its companion model ATR2500-USB ($100)!

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Ikea Expedit TV Storage Unit

Once you have all the Apple hardware you need for a killer media center, including an HDTV and Mac mini, you just need to find the perfect way to show it all off. A budget option our editors like is Ikea’s Expedit TV Storage Unit ($229), an extremely clean-looking cube-based design with space for everything from your Mac and television to a receiver, game consoles, and much more.

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Fabrix Black Suit

Pinstripes are classy and classic. If you’re rocking the pattern on your suits, now you can carry it over to your MacBook, too, thanks to the Black Suit ($46-$50) from Fabrix. Available in sizes ranging from the 11” MacBook Air to the 15” MacBook Pro—that’s the more expensive version—this sleeve will show everyone you mean business.

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OWC Mercury Elite Pro Mini

The word “lots” is probably best to sum up the number of external hard drives we’ve seen over the years, so at this point it takes something special to jump out at us. Luckily, OWC is always up to the challenge, this time with the introduction of its Mercury Elite Pro Mini ($100-$970) drives. These guys hold a whole lot more than their tiny bodies would make you think.

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The Oatmeal “What It’s Like to Own an Apple Product" Signed Print

The Oatmeal is one of our editors’ favorite comics—equal parts brilliant and grotesque, it never fails to be funny. One of Oatmeal’s most spot-on strips was the “What It’s Like to Own an Apple Product,” and we’re pumped that it’s now available as a framable signed print ($25). For digital comics who haven’t seen a “print” in a while, that’s a copy of the black and white comic on a piece of actual paper, complete with the author’s scribbled name on the front.

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Silvio Rizzi Reeder for Mac

We’ve been using Reeder as our go-to RSS feed reader on the iPad for quite some time now, and have been patiently waiting for its elegant interface to officially arrive on the Mac App Store. After trying out the latest public beta release, however, there’s no more reason to wait. Silvio Rizzi Reeder for Mac (Free) is a reliable, full-featured RSS reader right now, despite its “Draft” status.

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Ohanaware HDRtist Pro

HDR—high dynamic range—compositing is making big waves in the photography world right now, as strategic manipulation of the high and low color data from photos can result in some really cool effects. One way to achieve HDR effects is by combining underexposed and overexposed versions of a photo with a standard one, a trick Apple used in the Camera app of iOS 4 for iPhone 4s. The other option is to work with the data that’s in just one photo. Luckily, the new Mac app HDRtist Pro ($30) from Ohanaware lets you do both.

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