$50*
Apps

Nuance Dragon Express

If you’ve been using Siri on your iPhone 4S over the past month, you’re probably starting to get used to having a personal assistant within easy reach. Voice control may be built into that phone, but the software’s not cheap. The big voice recognition developer is Nuance, whose technology powers many other voice control apps. Nuance’s own Dragon Dictate application starts at $180, but thankfully, the company has introduced a new title that offers a lot of the same benefits at a much lower price: Dragon Express ($50*).

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Free
Apps

Lunch Money Snappy

We know it can feel kind of silly to pull out our iPhone when sitting at the computer, but sometimes that’s the only way to use certain apps. Take Snapchat as an example, which has no web client or other way to access it from a Mac. While there may not be an official way, however, Lunch Money’s Snappy (Free) does the job.

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Brother PT-P750W Compact Label Maker with Wireless Enabled Printing

Not everyone needs a label maker, but like any Mac peripheral, if you have to use one, why not choose a model that compliments your computer in terms of ease and elegance? That’s what Brother’s PT-P750W Compact Label Maker with Wireless Enabled Printing ($130) is attempting to do. The biggest advantage to this system is its built-in wireless networking.

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Free
Apps

GuinpinSoft MakeMKV

There were those who were skeptical when Steve Jobs said Blu-ray was a “bag of hurt.” Many people thought the standard would one day come to Macs, despite Jobs’ early resistance. But here we are several years later, and optical disc drives are all but dead now across the Mac family; Blu-rays never were officially supported. However, if you own Blu-ray discs, you likely know there are lot of hardware and software options that allow you to read and play them. There’s also MakeMKV (Free), a tool for ripping them to your computer that works as long as you have the appropriate hardware.

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Griffin DJ Connect

Let’s face it: the days of DJs using true turntables is mostly a thing of the past. You may find a purist here and there, but most DJs now use digital turntables and computers—mainly Macs and sometimes even iPads—to spin. There are lots of advanced rigs out there, but Griffin’s new DJ Connect ($100) is a simple way to mix tunes. Plus, it’s designed to work with algoriddim’s djay app, a huge plus.

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$50+
Apps

Acronis True Image

Time Machine local backups and Backblaze offsite storage are just fine for most users. They’re easy to use, work reliably, and are inexpensive or even free. But power users are always looking for better tools. Consider Acronis’ True Image ($50+) as a potentially superior option for backups.

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$5
Apps

Ayopa Games W.E.L.D.E.R

Not every iOS game leaping to the Mac App Store gets us excited, but when it’s one as good as Ayopa Games’ W.E.L.D.E.R. ($5), we take notice. At only a buck more than the iPad and iPhone universal version, this steampunk-inspired word builder is a smart buy. It’s a lot of fun and you might just learn a thing or two.

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$2,200-$3,600
Peripherals

G-Technology G-Speed Studio

G-Technology takes design inspirations from Apple’s professional Mac models. For the longest time, the company’s hard drives were encased in perforated metal, resembling the old Power Mac G5 and Mac Pro towers. Now, G-Speed Studio ($2,200-$3,600) has a shiny, black plastic shell, much like the current Mac Pro. The RAID drive comes in three capacities—12TB, 16TB, and 24TB—each filled with four drives. Built with two Thunderbolt 2 ports, G-Speed Studio is capable of speeds up to 700MB/s.

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$2
Apps

David Johnson SpotRemote for Spotify

We’ve enjoyed using Spotify on the Macs since it launched—the ability to listen to virtually anything has introduced us to all kinds of new music. The only downside apart from the annoyingly cheesy ads is the lack of a mini player. Apple’s had one for years in iTunes, but the folks at Spotify haven’t seemed to figure it out yet. Luckily, third party developers such as David Johnson have arrived to fill the gap, so we have SpotRemote for Spotify ($2).

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$30
Apps

Feral Interactive LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

It’s done it with Star Wars, it’s done it with Harry Potter, and it’s done it with Lord of the Rings. Now, Feral Interactive is bringing the LEGO treatment to Marvel’s super heroes with, well, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes ($30). Set in Manhattan, this title is full of the trademark LEGO game humor we’ve come to expect, plus over 100 playable characters, including both heroes and villains.

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$9
Apps

Kunst-Stoff The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic

Just in time for Halloween, German developer Kunst-Stoff’s The Great Jitters: Pudding Panic ($9) has made its way over from Apple’s iOS devices to the Mac App Store. To say that the concept is weird would probably be an understatement, but that’s part of the charm. Your goal is to get a blob of pudding through a haunted house without fainting from fear, while at the same time trying to scare the monsters in the maze.

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$150
Cases

Griffin Beamhaus Portfolio for 11" MacBook Air

Leather may just be leather for some people, but for others, premium materials and descriptions are appealing. The latter group is the likely audience for Griffin’s Beamhaus Portfolio for 11” MacBook Air ($150)—the envelope-style sleeve will keep your Mac protected, and look good doing it.

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2015
Apps

Apple Photos

There’s not too much information on it yet, but Apple showed off its new Photos app for the Mac at WWDC. No, not iPhoto, but a brand new app that’s coming next year. It takes all the features from the iOS 8 version of the software and brings it to the desktop. It’s based around both viewing and editing, with all your photos stored in the cloud. We’re looking forward to hearing more in the future.

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Razer Taipan Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse

Macs may be more legitimate gaming machines than ever before, but that’s only on the inside. Apple’s peripherals still make terrible controllers for most games. If you’ve ever tried using a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad in a first-person shooter, for example, you know what we’re talking about. Thankfully, the big game accessory companies are offering some better options. Razer’s Taipan Ambidextrous Gaming Mouse ($80) is one such device.

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$49
Extras

Apple Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter

It appears Apple realizes that putting $3,000+ of supercomputer into a cylinder that can easily be lifted with one hand may pose some problems, if the wrong people are around. For the first time we can recall, it’s introduced a physical security accessory, the Mac Pro Security Lock Adapter ($49). Much like Maclocks’ version, it helps secure the newest Mac Pro, adding an attachment point for Kensington-style locks.

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