2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

Free
Apps

Apple OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 Update

We don’t usually go out of our way to mention point-updates to Apple’s Mac operating system. Usually, there are few revolutionary new features to be concerned with; we figure most people will update whenever they get around to it, and be just fine until then. OS X Mavericks 10.9.2 (Free) is one of the rare instances in which we suggest going out and upgrading right away. Sure, there are a handful of new tricks, but security is really what’s at stake here.

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$50
Apps

Apple Motion 5

While it’s hardly the best-known of Apple’s professional tools, Motion 5 ($50) packs an extraordinary punch for video creators and editors, particularly given its low price. Pitched as a tool to let you “customize Final Cut Pro titles, transitions, and effects”—and certainly valuable for use with Apple’s video editing apps—Motion can create standalone 4K, 2K, and web-ready animations using text, shapes, photos, music, and videos. Recently-released version 5.1 includes support for Mac Pros, but the app runs impressively on more affordable Macs, as well.

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Free
Apps

Tiny Speck Slack

It’s not often that a Mac App Store title uses a single line description, but sometimes, that’s all that’s needed. “Slack is for making your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive.” That’s the entire summary on the page for Tiny Speck’s Slack (Free). It’s a group communication tool made to compete with the likes of Campfire and Hipchat. We’ve been using it for a few days now, and have found it to be a very nicely designed app, offering a number of features we desire, and some we didn’t even know we needed.

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$449-$2,499
Peripherals

LaCie 5TB Hard Drive

Usually it’s new external components for hard drives that get the attention, not the guts. But LaCie has just introduced a brand new drive to fit inside some of its flagship products, and it’s worth taking note. The new 5TB Hard Drive is available in products ranging from $449 to $2,499, including the company’s d2, 2big, and 5big. This means you can now store up to 25TB of data in a single enclosure.

 

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$199-$598
Peripherals

QuickerTek AirPort Extreme AcHex Upgrade

QuickerTek has a proclivity toward making various Wi-Fi accessories, including add-ons for Apple’s base stations. Its latest product is AirPort Extreme AcHex Upgrade ($199-$598). Made for those who love the most recent AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule, but are dissatisfied with their range, the antenna system boosts the router’s output to three times its normal strength.

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$650-$800
April 15, 2014
Camera

Sony Alpha A6000

A slew of new cameras has been introduced over the past few days, but none are quite as impressive as Sony’s Alpha A6000 ($650). Also available with a 16-50mm power-zoom kit lens for $800, this mirrorless shooter is an impressive followup to the NEX-6. With a new sensor and faster autofocus—plus a lower price—there’s a lot to like.

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$180
Cases

Hex Onyx Premium Capsule Collection

Hex has always been known for nice bags, but it’s pivoted to focus on premium options. The latest family is Onyx Premium Capsule Collection, made up of three Mac bags at $180 each. Available as a duffle, tote, or backpack, each has room for a 13” or 15” MacBook, plus an iPad and iPhone. Despite the different styles, each bag uses the same materials and clearly belongs alongside the others.

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$655
Cases

Tenba Transport Air Case with Wheels

We’re not convinced that traveling with or shipping an iMac is something most people will ever consider, but then again, for certain professional reasons, it makes a lot of sense. That explains why Tenba is one of a handful of companies making travel cases for the all-in-one machines, including its Transport Air Case with Wheels ($655). This edition is for the newest 27” iMacs, but you’ll actually find more than 30 sizes on the company’s web site. 

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$700-$850
Peripherals

G-Technology G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt

Looking at the lineup of G-Technology’s drives, it can be tough to distinguish between the many different but similar-looking options. G-Drive Pro with Thunderbolt ($700-$850) makes it pretty clear, though: it’s packing two full-speed Thunderbolt ports to take proper advantage of the fast transfer standard. Coming in 2TB and 4TB storage capacities, the drive is housed inside the trademark aluminum casing that looks great next to a Mac.

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$3
Apps

Urban Apps Hourly News

It can be tough to keep up with the news all day while working. Maybe you use Twitter to keep track of the headlines, or your favorite news sites to get more in-depth. We happen to like the radio, but find the constant talk distracting. That’s why we’re intrigued by Urban Apps’ Hourly News ($3). Packing a handful of sources, it automatically downloads hourly news podcasts, and plays them when you’re ready.

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$75-$859
Peripherals

OWC RAM for Mac Pro (Late 2013)

With a $3,000 starting price, it may be hard to justify upgrading the new Mac Pro beyond its basic specs when you make the purchase. Thankfully this unit is mostly user-upgradable, including its RAM, and like always, OWC is ready to go with RAM upgrades ($75-$859). While Apple charges up to $1,200 for the maximum RAM — four 16GB chips equalling 64GB total — OWC charges $341 less for the same array.

 

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$200-$260
Peripherals

Toshiba Canvio Home Backup & Share

Of course it’s a great idea to backup your Mac regularly, and thanks to Time Machine, there are plenty of drives that do that for you easily. The latest drives build upon the basics with convenient implementations, at lower prices. So even though Toshiba’s Canvio Home Backup & Share ($150) is far from the first networked drive around, we’re interested because it’s inexpensive and easy to use.

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$50
Apps

Feral Interactive Tomb Raider

It’s been almost 20 years since the first Tomb Raider game came out, but Lara Craft is still going strong. Feral Interactive has just brought the latest title in the series—a reboot just named Tomb Raider ($50)—to the Mac App Store. It’s an origin story, taking you back to Lara’s development, and explaining just why an archaeologist ends up in such crazy situations.

 

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$200
Speakers

Edifier Luna Eclipse

If Edifier is known for one thing, it’s the unique shapes it comes up with for speakers. Not content with dull boxes, the company has explored all sorts of different designs. Its Mac-friendly Luna Eclipse ($200) is no exception. This handsome set of desktop speakers is unlike anything we’ve seen from other companies in the past, a design that uses its curves to create what’s almost a floating effect. Updated February 3, 2014 with hands-on details.

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$10
Apps

Gwinno Software PhotoSweeper

If you have photos on your Mac, there are almost certainly duplicates. Maybe you copied a folder when you meant to move it, or imported twice without realizing it, or even made some minor edits but kept the original around. Regardless, these extra shots take up valuable space on your hard drive. Gwinno Software’s PhotoSweeper ($10) exists to clean up those duplicates. Instead of working with just one app, it’s a solution for iPhoto, Aperture, and Lightroom, plus any random folders you have lying around.

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