$80
May 27, 2013
Peripherals

MCE Technologies Internal Blu-ray Player/SuperDrive

At this point, we just have to accept the fact that Blu-ray drives won’t be built into Macs; in fact, all optical drives are being phased out of Apple’s computers at this point. But if you have an older iMac or Mac mini, and want to be able to play Blu-ray discs, MCE Technologies is about to offer a new solution. The Internal Blu-ray Player/SuperDrive ($80) is the first internal player we’ve come across for the iMac or Mac mini. If you’re willing to split your machine apart to do the transplant, this solution might be right for you. 

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$20
Apps

mSeven Software mSecure

Not only do you have a ton of passwords, but every time you create a new one, it has to be more complex than the last. Sound about right? If so, mSeven Software’s mSecure ($20) is worth a look. The ultra-secure app manages all of your passwords, along with credit card info, bank accounts, and more. And thanks to a recent update, it now automatically syncs to the company’s iOS app using iCloud.

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$100-$130
Peripherals

Western Digital My Passport Ultra

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a totally new external hard drive from Western Digital, but lo and behold, here’s My Passport Ultra ($100-$130). Currently available in 500GB and 1TB versions—a 2TB version is slated for the third quarter of this year—this portable drive is perfect for tossing in your bag while traveling. And of course, it uses USB 3.0, so you can expect quick transfer speeds if you’re using a more recent Mac.

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$130
Cases

Booq Boa Squeeze Backpack

Backpacks tend not to look all that different from one another. Most of the time you’ll find two straps, a zipper running from side to side, and a few extra pockets. Booq’s new Boa Squeeze ($130) bucks that trend, at least somewhat. It’s one of the most distinctive-looking backpacks we’ve seen in a while, although it still accomplishes the same task of lugging your stuff around. Naturally, it was designed to hold your favorite MacBook along with plenty of extras. Updated with hands-on pictures and our impressions!

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Penclic Bluetooth B2 Mouse

If you’re past the point of wanting to use a traditional mouse or trackpad, Penclic’s Bluetooth B2 Mouse ($90) may fit your needs as the next input device for your Mac. Akin to a pen, it enables your wrist and hand to move vertically, which is supposedly healthier than the classic horizontal positions required by traditional mice and pads. Of course, you’ll have to give up Multi-Touch features, but the ergonomics may well be worth it, especially if you already have wrist issues.

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$110
Cases

Chrome Welded Rucksack

Chrome’s Welded Rucksack ($110) is the first MacBook bag we’ve ever seen compared to a Coast Guard boat. The huge new bag features waterproof construction to ensure that your gear is safe, and it’s said to be the same technology the Coast Guard uses. It includes a removable, padded sleeve made to hold up to a 15” MacBook Pro. 

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$20
Extras

Thought Out MagStay MS-01

When Steve Jobs introduced the MagSafe power adapter back in 2006, he said it was made to prevent your notebook from flying across the room if someone tripped over the cord. That was a great idea, but what are you supposed to do if you’d rather your MagSafe not pull right out—an issue that MagSafe 2 users have found particularly troubling? Thought Out has a solution: MagStay MS-01 ($20). Its one and only purpose is to hold the MagSafe 2 adapter in place on the 13” or 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display.

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Sonnet xMac mini Server

It’s not secret that Mac minis are powerful little machines. Whether you’re running the standard consumer version, or opted to upgrade to the server edition, it can be used for some heavy duty tasks. Sonnet’s xMac mini Server ($1,295) makes the most of that by fitting your computer into a rack mount, and adding expansion support. It’s not for everyone, but power users and businesses should take note.

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$350
Speakers

UltraLink UCubeTrio 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System

While it’s not uncommon for USB-powered stereo speakers to resemble Macs, a subwoofer is almost never part of the equation. But that’s exactly what you get with UltraLink’s UCubeTrio 2.1 Multimedia Speaker System ($350). Along with a pair of 3” square speakers, a 5” square USub subwoofer brings the bass. The silver aluminum and black lacquer materials perfectly match your MacBook or iMac. 

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Targus USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station

Although Targus’ USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station ($170) isn’t totally new hardware, its support for Macs is fresh. Just announced this morning, a new set of drivers now allows you to connect a MacBook to the hub. While it’s not as elegant as other solutions on the market, including Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock, the rather affordable price and video output may well make it worth considering for those who use their notebooks with external displays. A $50 more expensive version of the dock adds power for PCs, but is otherwise the same; it won’t do Mac users much good.

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$20+ per month
June 2013
Apps

Adobe Photoshop CC

Just announced at its annual MAX event, Adobe has updated its flagship photo editing application with the introduction of Photoshop CC ($20+ per month). Alongside new features discussed below, it comes with a whole new pricing scheme that caught us off guard, and will likely be unappealing to some users. Now, instead of just buying the app, you have to subscribe to it: $20 a month gets you access to a single title within Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC)—it’s $30 if you don’t sign an annual contract—and CC pricing starts at $50 a month for the complete collection, including InDesign, Illustrator, and other former Creative Suite apps. Adobe will discontinue support for the CS6 apps when the new CC apps arrive in mid-June.

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$22-$40
Peripherals

Sandisk Cruzer Orbit USB Flash Drive

We always appreciate innovation in flash drive designs; solid state memory can be pretty boring otherwise. That’s why Sandisk caught our attention with the Cruzer Orbit USB Flash Drive ($22-$40). Coming in 8, 16, and 32GB capacities, the physical design is pretty neat, and definitely different from anything we’ve seen before.

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Free
Apps

Vemedio Instacast

Podcasts are really well-suited to mobile devices; is there a better way to run than with Ira Glass discussing Argentinian basket makers? But podcasts have a place on traditional computers, too. Most people rely on iTunes to manage their audio and video subscriptions, but Vemedio thinks it has a better way. The company has ported its popular iOS app to the Mac with a public beta of Instacast (Free), which eliminates iTunes’ bloat in favor of a more podcast-focused user interface.

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$320-$600
Peripherals

OWC Envoy Pro Ex

OWC has brought its experience in making SSD upgrades for Macs to a new external storage device called Envoy Pro Ex ($320-$600). Available in either 240GB or 480GB capacities, this is the latest external drive to borrow heavily from Apple’s unibody aluminum design language. Although expensive, the small body, speeds, and overall reliability of SSD technology make it an interesting option.

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Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock (2013)

It’s been over a year since we last wrote about Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock ($300), an accessory that had already delayed following its initial September 2011 (!) announcement. After plenty of changes, it has become a real product, so you can hit the order button on Belkin’s website to have one shipped your way. Just as originally promised, the finished unit adds a number of ports to your Mac, making it most attractive to users who need to use lots of peripherals.

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