$50
Apps

Belight Software Art Text 3

Whether you’re a professional graphic designer or somebody who simply dabbles in building web sites or brochures, chances are there’s been a time when you’ve wanted to create really impressive page headings or other text elements. If so, you’ll want to take a closer look at Belight Software’s Art Text 3 ($50), a totally redesigned update to the company’s graphic design app for creating word art, logos, 3D text designs, and more. It’s a great tool whether you’re simply looking to design graphical buttons and headers for your website or publish newsletters and flyers. The update also features a new embedded 3D modeling engine that helps you create real 3D graphics and illustrations, allowing you to convert any text, symbol. or pictogram to 3D with realistic results, along with a huge selection of styles, materials, mask presets, tileable textures, geometry transformation tools, and more.

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Free
Apps

Running with Crayons Alfred 3

We’ve been fans of Alfred for a few years now — it’s a great tool for searching through your Mac, launching apps, and performing workflows, all without taking your keys from the keyboard, and even with Apple’s recent Spotlight improvements, Alfred still goes the extra mile. So needless to say we’re thrilled to see the launch of Alfred 3 (free), bringing a whole list of cool enhancements to an already indispensable tool. The update adds some significant flexibility to building workflows, a new multimedia clipboard, snippet expansion, improved theme editing, and more. Best of all, it’s still available for free, although the Powerpack upgrade is still available for £17 (around $25) for those who are looking for more advanced features; users who bought the single or family licensed Powerpack for Alfred 2 get a discounted upgrade, of course, while users with a “Mega Supporter” license get it for free.

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$34
Apps

Equinux Spot Maps

If your home network is getting so complex that you need an app to monitor it all, Spot Maps ($34) from Equinux could be the solution to help streamline things. Spot Maps scans your network for active computers, smartphones, tablets and an array of smart home devices, including support for Philips Hue, Apple HomeKit, Homeatic and Nest Cam. Once discovered, devices can be positioned with an easy drag-and-drop interface to create a custom map of your network. In Live Mode, the map determines the status of devices, displaying information about which ones are active and able to issue a notification if devices go offline. You can’t control your smart home devices from your map, but it will tell you which devices are online and which aren’t at a glance.

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$59 and $99
Extras

Grovemade Magic Keyboard and Trackpad Trays

Grovemade has redesigned its wood and cork Keyboard Tray ($99) and Trackpad Tray ($59) to keep up with Apple’s updated Magic Keyboard and Trackpad. Like the previous Grovemade keyboard tray, the wooden keyboard and trackpad holders are lined with cork to keep devices in place and prop them up at a slight incline for added ergonomic comfort. The trays also have cork feet to keep devices from slipping and to protect desk surfaces from scratches.

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$40
Cases

Booq Slimsuit 13

If you’re looking for an ultra-slim way to keep your 13” MacBook protected while on the go, Booq has you covered with its new Slimsuit 13 ($40). This sleeve is designed specifically for the commuter and mobile worker, with a slim profile and a zipperless magnetic closure so you can get quick access to your MacBook without worrying about scratching it on zipper teeth.

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$329
Apps

FileMaker, Inc. FileMaker 15

Apple subsidiary FileMaker, Inc. has beefed up its custom app software substantially in FileMaker 15 ($329), introducing new tools to streamline the app creation process, and to help users who want to get more out of their iPhone. Red highlighted text now identifies problem areas in Script Workspace and a multiple undo feature allows for instant recovery of scripting work. The top call statistics-logging feature now diagnoses slowdowns separately from other operations, so developers can continue to use their apps at the same time. Simple licensing options provide ways for teams of five or more to gain access to the FileMaker Server and share information in real time.

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Free
Apps

Macphun Filters for Photos

One of the less publicized features in Apple’s new Photos app for OS X is the ability to plug in extensions that add to the built-in photo editing capabilities, so users who want to get more creative with their photo editing and presentation can take advantage of new tools without having to leave the comfort of the Photos app. Macphun has been one of the more active companies in supporting the new Photos app’s extensions feature, bringing the ability to use its popular photo apps such as Noiseless and Tonality as extensions. Now, Macphun has taken the next step with Filters for Photos, a new free app that vastly expands the number and capabilities of built-in Photos app filters, adding 30 new filters with advanced controls.

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$12
Apps

Metaclassy Byword

Users who do a lot of long-from writing on their Macs, especially in Markdown, will appreciate what Metaclassy’s Byword ($12) brings to the table. Recently updated for El Capitan, this popular Markdown text editor provides a simple and efficient way to author posts in a clean, distraction-free user interface. Although Byword can be used for editing any types of text files, and even crafting HTML pages, where the app really shines is in its Markdown features, with support for footnotes, tables, and cross-references along with live syntax highlighting and previewing as you type and the ability to export the resulting rich-text document to HTML or PDF.

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$109
Cases

WaterField Designs Atelier Folio

WaterField Designs has released the leather Atelier Folio ($109) to compliment the newly updated 12” MacBook. The simple cognac-colored sleeve is created from a single cow hide, lined with red Ultrasuede scratch-free microfiber and has an invisible magnet inside the leather fastener to hold the case shut. The slim sheath measures 12.25” by 8” and is designed to mold gradually to the shape of the MacBook, providing an even closer fit over time. The Atelier Folio is available for pre-order now with shipments set to begin on May 12.

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$1,299 to $1,599
Macs

Apple MacBook (April 2016)

Apple’s updated 12” MacBook is a mostly minor tweak to last year’s offering, adding newer processors and an improved battery to the existing slim design. Apple touts upgraded sixth‑generation dual-core Intel processors, but like the fifth-generation found in the previous MacBook they are still listed as 1.1 GHz and 1.2 GHz, depending on the model. The laptop is the same weight, thickness and general design found in the previous model, but it’s now also available in rose gold.

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Kensington Expert Mouse Wireless Trackball

Kensington is billing its new Expert Mouse Wireless Trackball ($100) as a solution to both cluttered desks and the strain of repetitive motion caused by using a traditional mouse for extended periods. Aimed at users performing tasks that require a high level of detail, Kensington claims the trackball boasts a superior level of cursor control and accuracy due to Kensington’s proprietary DiamondEye optical tracking technology. The company’s TrackballWorks software also allows users to adjust cursor speed for more precise control and customize functions for all four buttons, making it especially appealing to the left-handed.

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Free / $30
Apps

Eltima Software Commander One 1.5

We were pretty impressed with Eltima Software’s Commander One when we looked at it last fall — it’s a great tool for all of those Mac power users who find the built-in OS X Finder app far too limiting, and an advanced dual-pane file manager for Mac written entirely in Swift. Now at version 1.5, the latest Commander One (free/$30) adds a nice list of new features and connectivity options, making an already great tool even better. A new Connections Manager provides a streamlined way to configure support for FTP, Amazon S3, Google Drive, and Dropbox accounts, and you can also now tie in Dropbox Business and Microsoft OneDrive, along with any server supporting the WebDAV protocol, although you’ll need to invest in the $30 Pro upgrade for some of the more advanced online services.

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Epson Expression Home XP-430 Small-in-One Printer

Epson’s Expression Home XP-430 Small-in-One Printer ($100) is a sequel to last year’s XP-420, an AirPrint-compatible printer designed for fast and easy color printing from a Mac or iOS device. This latest version sports a 2.7” color LCD screen and a built-in memory card slot along with Wi-Fi Direct support so you can print without needing to associate it with a wireless network. Epson also bundles its usual suite of tools, including built-in tools for red-eye removal, cropping, and photo restoration when printing directly from memory cards, Epson Connect for mobile printing support, and Epson Creative Print.

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$40
Mounts

UPPERCASE Designs KRADL for 12-inch MacBook

UPPERCASE Designs has expanded its line of KRADL laptop stands to include a model designed specifically for 12” MacBook. The solid aluminum KRADL for 12” MacBook ($40) holds the closed laptop in a vertical position. It can be used with an external monitor when the MacBook screen isn’t in use, or simply as storage, freeing up valuable desk space. An anti-slip silicone pad along the base prevents damage to a desk’s surface and keeps the stand firmly in place.

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$348 — $649
Peripherals

OWC Digital Aura SSD for Mid 2013 and Later Mac laptops

If you’re using one of Apple’s more recent MacBook Pros with Retina Display or a mid-2013 or later MacBook Air, up until now you’ve pretty much been stuck with whatever SSD storage Apple gives you — the proprietary interface on these more recent MacBooks have made homegrown upgrades a challenge. Fortunately, OWC Digital has just released the new Aura SSD for Mid 2013 and Later Mac laptops ($348 — $649), providing recent MacBook users the ability to seamlessly upgrade their storage to eight times the capacity of their stock SSDs with no more effort than removing a few screws.

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