$1,499
Macs

Apple 21.5‑inch iMac with Retina 4K display

Following the debut of the 27” iMac with Retina Display last fall, Apple has now brought the higher-resolution screen to its smaller sibling, introducing the 21.5‑inch iMac with Retina 4K display ($1,499). Pushing the display up to a 4096 x 2304 resolution, with 9.4 million pixels, the new model also sports a 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and 1TB hard drive with Intel Iris Pro Graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi with support for wireless speeds of up to 1.3Gbps.

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$10
Apps

Inkle 80 Days

We’re big fans of Inkle’s 80 Days game on the iOS platform, and in fact it made our list of the Top Apps of 2014, so naturally we’re pretty excited to see it come to the Mac. Available on Steam, GOG, and Humble Store, 80 Days ($10) brings all of the fun of the iOS experience to the larger Mac screen, and more.

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Free
Apps

Apple OS X El Capitan

Introduced during Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in June and released as a public beta over the summer, Apple has just officially released OS X El Capitan (Free), the next generation of its OS X operating system, and the third iteration of its California-themed releases. El Capitan is a slightly smaller update from its predecessors, focusing primarily on user interface improvements such as a new Split View to allow two apps to be neatly arranged side-by-side in full screen — reminiscent of the similar iPad feature introduced in iOS 9 — as well as UI enhancements to Mission Control, improved searching in Spotlight, and some handy improvements to the Mail, Notes, Maps, and Photos apps.

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$100
Apps

Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 14

If you’re looking for a photo or video editing solution and don’t want to break the bank with Adobe’s full “pro” editions of Photoshop or Premiere, the good news is that you can still stay in the Adobe family with its reasonably powerful “prosumer” Elements editions. Freshly updated new versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 ($100) and Adobe Premiere Elements 14 ($100) gain several handy new features bringing them a bit closer to their much more powerful siblings, while also refining the user interface for more ease of use.

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$10
Apps

Eltima Software Typeeto

With the new keyboard features in iOS 9, external keyboards are now more useful for your iPad than ever before. However, if you don’t have an extra Bluetooth keyboard to spare, Eltima Software’s Typeeto ($10) may offer a more cost-effective solution. This little utility lets you use your Mac keyboard as a Bluetooth keyboard for any wireless device, including your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch and even devices like game consoles and Android phones and tablets. Best of all, since this simply emulates a native Bluetooth keyboard, you don’t need to install any special apps on your device.

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$129-$299
Peripherals

Epson Expression Premium Series

Epson is back with its next generation of all-in-one wireless photo printers in its new Expression Premium series, including the Expression Premium XP-530 ($129), XP-630 ($149) and XP-830 ($199), along with the new Expression Photo XP-960 Small-In-One printer ($299). The Expression Premium printers use a premium five-ink system and allow for borderless prints up to 8” x 10”, while the Photo XP-960 uses six-color HD inks and makes borderless photos up to 11” x 17”.

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Free / $30
Apps

Eltima Software Commander One

Many Mac power users have long felt that the built-in Finder app in OS X doesn’t quite cut the mustard, despite Apple’s incremental improvements with each OS X update. This has spawned a number of alternatives over the years, and one of the latest entries into the group is Eltima Software’s Commander One (free/$30). The new dual-pane file manager for Mac is written entirely in Swift and designed specifically for OS X users, providing not only basic file management but a number of advanced features that power users will love — especially those who grew up in an era when dual-panel tools like this one were more the norm. You can view each panel in one of three view modes, and open unlimited tabs in each, make multiple selections and queue files up for various operations, automatically rename files during copy and move operations, and setup custom hotkeys for any action. Local and network drives are fully supported, and you can use Spotlight for basic searches or construct more advanced searches using regular expressions.

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$15
Apps

Belight Software Swift Publisher 4

If you find that you regularly need to put together fliers, newsletters, and brochures on a regular basis, you may want to take a look at Belight Software’s new update to Swift Publisher 4 ($15), a desktop publishing app that makes it easy to get great results from without breaking your software budget. You can choose from over 270 pre-designed templates, use grids and place your own guides for precision layouts, and set up an unlimited number of layers to achieve complex designs. Sophisticated column layouts, text styles, and gradient and freehand shapes and strokes are also included, along with a library of over 2,000 clipart images and the ability to import photos directly from iPhoto, Aperture, and now in the latest version, the new OS X Photos app.

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$200
Apps

Apple Logic Pro X 10.2

Apple has released its updated Logic Pro X 10.2 ($200) recording app, finally answering the question of what would happen to Camel Audio’s Alchemy music editing suite after Apple bought the company earlier this year. Apple has folded Alchemy into Logic Pro X and rebranded it as a powerful synthesizer that allows for the combination of four types of synthesis in the same plug-in. The updated Alchemy comes with a large library of sounds and the ability to search them by category, timbre, and articulation keywords to quickly locate useful sounds. Once they’re discovered, favorites can also be organized for later use with star ratings and custom keywords. Various synth engines can combine distinct elements from up to four sources to create entirely new sounds — blending the sound of a thunderclap with a snare hit or folding a handclap into the sound of a crashing wave, for example. Sounds can be dragged onto the Transform Pad for manipulation using eight sound variations, and performance controls can be customized by the user or automated to add intricacies to the music on their own. New built-in arpeggiation gives users the ability to create complex compositions using a single chord, and with up to 16 effects able to be applied to any sound, the range of possibilities is seemingly infinite.

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$80
Apps

VMware Fusion 8

Hot on the heels of Parallels 11, VMware has released its own updated Fusion 8 ($80) software, allowing Mac users to run Windows alongside their Mac’s OS. The newest incarnation is optimized for OS X El Capitan and is Windows 10 compatible, allowing Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana to work on the machine even when Fusion is running in the background. The software supports the iMac’s 5K Retina display and includes an enhanced graphics engine with DirectX 10 and OpenGL 3.3. Thus far, Ars Technica has spotted serious problems with Fusion 8. Some users aren’t able to access the Windows 10 start screen while in Unity mode, while others who are able to access it notice lower parts of the start screen are covered by the Mac’s dock. VMware confirmed the bug and said it won’t be fixed in this initial release, but will be addressed in a point release later.

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Free*
Apps

Purple Cover AnyList for Mac

Macs can do some pretty exciting stuff, but sometimes all we need is something that helps ease more mundane, everyday tasks like grocery shopping. Purple Cover’s AnyList provides one of our favorite ways to keep and share a shopping list for use on the go, but sometimes keying it all in on an iPhone or even an iPad can start to get cumbersome, and that’s where the company’s new AnyList for Mac (free*) comes in. The Mac version replicates much of the look and feel of its iOS counterpart, although it’s naturally optimized for the larger screen.

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$80
Apps

Parallels Software Parallels Desktop 11

Another year brings another release of Parallels’ eponymous PC emulator for Macs. Ready for the release of OS X El Capitan, Parallels Desktop 11 ($80) supports Windows 10 and allows users to make use of Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant. Users can now simply swipe to switch between Mac and Windows screens, but even when Windows is running in the background, saying “Hey Cortana” will still get a reply from the digital assistant. Parallels also makes it possible to cut and paste or drag and drop items freely between Windows and Mac programs. Standard speed improvements are here, with Parallels claiming to have increased Windows startup performance by 50 percent and shaved 20 percent off the time it takes to open Microsoft Excel speadsheets. Battery life is improved 25 percent as well when operating in a new “travel mode.”  Users will be able to tailor the Windows experience to their preferred use (gaming vs. design, for example), allowing them to stretch the battery life further by making it possible to run Windows in a toned-down capacity.

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$10
Apps

Grailr CARROT Weather for Mac

“Just remember, every cloud has a silver lining. Except for mushroom clouds. They have a lining of Iridium and Strontium-90.” This is just one of many witticisms that the new Carrot Weather for Mac ($10) will entertain you with as you try to figure out whether to bring an umbrella with you for the day. Billed as an app “overflowing with personality,” Carrot’s weather forecasts are anything but dull, with dialogue, characters, and scenery that will change in surprising and unexpected ways.

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$35
Apps

Aspyr Media Homeworld Remastered Collection

The epic three-dimensional real-time-strategy game that set the standard for its genre returns on the Mac App Store as Homeworld Remastered ($35), a new compilation of the all of the campaigns from the original 1999 Homeworld and the 2003 sequel, Homeworld 2, remastered with high-definition graphics, a fully remastered score, and high-fidelity voice recordings by the original actors. As an added bonus, the Remastered edition also includes the Classic versions of both games for the purists that want the nostalgia of playing the originals.

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Juiceboxx MacBook Charger Case

Juiceboxx’s MacBook Charger Case ($20) is exactly what it claims to be — a two-piece hardshell case that snaps in place around a MacBook charger to prevent the cord from fraying. The polycarbonate case attaches to a charger — Juiceboxx currently offers cases for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro chargers — and the cord is threaded through a hole to the outside before snapping the case into place. A built-in groove still allows for winding the charger’s cord up for storage.

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