2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

Macally Super-Speed USB 3.0 Aluminum Storage Enclosure

It took a few years for Apple to hop on board with USB 3.0, but the technology is now standard on new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers—each has a pair of the high-speed ports—and they’re surely coming to the desktops sooner rather than later. Macally was quick to take advantage of Cupertino getting with the times by introducing its Super-Speed USB 3.0 Aluminum Storage Enclosure ($70). Similar to G-Technology’s drives, this affordable Mac-matching enclosure will fit nicely alongside your favorite computer, holding your choice of hard drives inside. Read More

$209 and up
Cases

Mission Workshop Arkiv Field Pack

No matter what you need to carry alongside your Mac laptop—tools, folios, iPhone, textbooks, or a couple changes of clothes—the new Mission Workshop Arkiv Field Pack ($209 and up) is ready for the challenge. Sold in 1200-cubic inch and 2200-cubic inch versions, the former large enough for any full day of activities, the latter super-sized for a few days’ worth of gear, this modular backpack system grows with the parts you add onto it. Updated July 13, 2012 with additional photos and hands-on impressions, following our initial May 23, 2012 preview. Read More

Free
Apps

Intuit Mint QuickView

Even if keeping track of your finances was a pain in the old days, you’re out of excuses today: there are now more than enough services to help you keep on top of your money and credit. Mint is one of the most popular options, and now Intuit has brought data that was previously accessible only via the web or your iOS device to the dedicated Mac app Mint QuickView (Free). This Mac App Store release lets you quickly view your spending, income, account balances, and more.  Read More

Free
Apps

Tapbots Tweetbot for Mac Public Alpha

The rumblings were true: Tapbots has released a Mac version of its popular robot-themed iOS Twitter client, now named Tweetbot For Mac (Free). Despite the fact that it’s very early “public alpha” software complete with plenty of warnings about its far-from-final state, at least two of our editors have already made the switch and are very happy with its performance. Fans of Tweetbot for iPhones and iPads should take note, as should anyone else simply looking to try out a new Twitter client for their Mac. Read More

Newer Technology miniStack

Mac mini users love their machines’ tiny footprints, but there are few expansion options that precisely match the look and size of Apple’s smallest computers. That’s what makes Newer Technology’s latest miniStack ($90+) an appealing option. Similar to the miniStack Max we saw at the 2012 CES—which incidentally still isn’t available yet—miniStack is an aluminum hard drive enclosure designed to fit underneath a mini, but compatible with any Mac. For $160, it comes with 500GB of storage capacity, while the aluminum enclosure is available without a drive inside for $90. Read More

$30+
November 2012 For Kickstarter Backers
Peripherals

Nifty MiniDrive + MiniDrive Pro

We only rarely cover Kickstarter projects, but we couldn’t resist Nifty’s fully-funded, smart MiniDrive and MiniDrive Pro ($30+). The company has created removable MicroSD card sleds that fit into the SD slots on the MacBook Air and Pro, respectively. Unlike a standard SD card, they sit flush with the edge of your computer, adding the ability to carry a spare hard drive around without any bulk. They’ll be available in a variety of colors including Mac-matching silver, with shipments starting in November. Read More

Blue Microphones Tiki

The mic in your Mac isn’t made for serious recording, so if audio quality is important to you, a dedicated microphone accessory will make a big difference. Blue Microphone’s new Tiki ($60) has just been released as a smart entry-level choice: not only is it one of the least expensive Blue mics we’ve seen, but the size and technology are impressive too. Read More

$1
Apps

SquidMelon Live Wallpaper

Though it doesn’t make a fantastic first impression, SquidMelon’s Live Wallpaper ($1) is nonetheless a cool demonstration of how your Mac’s desktop background can evolve into something more interesting. Once it’s painlessly installed from the Mac App Store, Live Wallpaper offers you a single, decidedly Windows-like “Modern” backdrop complete with an ever-visible clock and weather forecast at the top of the screen—nice photography and idea, minus great graphic design and layout. But once you open the Preferences menu and manually download 11 other currently-available themes, a process that really should be automated for the user and displayed on first launch, you’ll see this app’s potential: some of the apps feature persistent animation, while others subtly integrate huge clocks or small special effects into beautiful images. Read More

$80
Available For Preorder
Cases

Maclocks.com MacBook Pro with Retina Display Lock and Security Case Bundle

Maclocks.com has moved nimbly to meet the security needs of new Mac buyers, previously coming up with a locking solution for the lock slot-less MacBook Air—a tethering point on a case that connects to the computer with screws. Presented with the same lock slot-less challenge for the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, Maclocks.com has released a similar solution: the MacBook Pro with Retina Display Lock and Security Case Bundle ($80). Read More

$48 Stand-Alone/$200+ With SSD
Peripherals

OWC Mercury Aura Envoy

Most of the updates to this year’s revision of the MacBook Air were under the hood, including a long-awaited bump of the maximum storage capacity to a modern notebook-rivaling 512GB. Apple’s upgrade costs a whopping $500 over the 256GB SSD, though, so most users will have to hold off for a while or consider third-party options. OWC has offered its own SSD upgrade kits for a while now, and the prices have fallen dramatically since they were introduced. Better yet, the new Mercury Aura Envoy ($48 Stand-Alone/$200+ With SSD) gives Air users a way to keep using the original drive once it’s been removed from the MacBook’s body. Read More

$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. Read More

$40-$50
Cases

Booq Viper Sleeve for MacBook Air

When you hear the words “laptop sleeve,” the first thing that comes to mind is likely a padded neoprene case with a zipper. Booq’s taken a different approach with its just-released Viper Sleeve for MacBook Air, offered in versions for both the 11” ($40) and 13” ($50) laptop. Most notable is the unique closure mechanism, coupled with materials that are similarly distinctive. Read More

Eikon Digital Privacy Manager with TrueSuite Premium for Mac

There’s already great software on the market for storing your passwords—AgileBits’ 1Password immediately comes to mind. But if you want to add an extra layer of security to your Mac—something more than just a string of letters and numbers—check out Eikon’s Digital Privacy Manager with TrueSuite Premium for Mac ($50). This USB fingerprint swiper does a whole lot more than just log you into your computer: it keeps everyone else out. Read More

$100
Mounts

Kensington SafeDock MacBook Air Security Dock & Keyed Lock

Even though Kensington continues to add new categories to its product lineup, the company’s name is perhaps best known for computer locking solutions. Today it has introduced a few new options for security-conscious Mac users, including the SafeDock MacBook Air Security Dock & Keyed Lock ($100). This dock is available for both the 11” and 13” models, and offers more than just hardware to lock up your Air. Thankfully, one of Kensington’s Clicksafe Locks is included in the price. Read More

$110
July 2012
Peripherals

G-Technology G-Drive slim

Walk into an Apple Store looking for a backup solution and it’s likely that G-Technology’s G-Drives will pop out at you: Hitachi’s sub-brand has great and well-deserved placement, as the drives are high-quality inside and out. We have a particular affinity for G-Drive slim ($110), a crazy thin option that matches our obsession for the MacBook Air. Starting this July, it’ll be an even better value: along with a handful of other drives from the company, it’s getting updated to support USB 3 just in time to plug into the brand new Macs announced at WWDC. Read More

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