2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$130-$250
Peripherals

Western Digital My Passport

Western Digital has the portable hard drive game down pat. Small enclosures, (potentially) fast transfer speeds, nice designs, and now huge capacities make its new My Passport ($130-$250) line well worth checking out. Available in sizes starting at 500GB and going all the way to 2TB—a first for portable drives—these handsome little guys offer an ideal way to carry everything, everywhere.

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$80
Speakers

Nixon The Block

Nixon’s The Block ($80) is all about convenience, and makes a nice audio solution for desktop or portable Mac users. Rather than requiring two cables—one for audio, the other for USB power—Nixon joins the two cords into one just a few inches from the plug’s end. If you’d rather not drain your MacBook’s battery, the lithium-ion cell inside the speakers can last for up to six hours of playback. But the signature feature here has to do with the speakers’ unique wedged shape. 

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$150-$200/€109-€159
Peripherals

Freecom Mobile Drive Sq

It’s 0.41” to 0.51” tall. Topped with sandblasted, fingerprint-resistant stainless steel. Square. And adds either between 500GB and 1TB of external storage to any MacBook. Freecom’s Mobile Drive Sq ($150-$200/€109-€159) may come at premium prices relative to other portable hard drives, but how often do you see a sleek 4.7” square accessory like this?

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Teenage Engineering OP 1 Portable Synthesizer

If making music on the go and cool, retro design are your things, you’re going to want to check out Teenage Engineering’s OP 1 Portable Synthesizer ($849). Although the synthesizer features are a big part of this super portable music machine, it also packs a four track recorder, sampler, and even MIDI control functionality when it’s hooked up to your Mac. All of that is packed into an aluminum body measuring in at just 11.1” long, 4” wide, and 0.5” high, fitting perfectly in front of even the tiny 11” MacBook Air.

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$1
Apps

Apptrocity Twitify

Spotify’s integration with Facebook is pretty cool—it’s great to be able to automatically share songs and playlists with friends—except, of course, when a guilty pleasure’s making its way through the queue. Apptrocity’s new Mac app Twitify ($1) gives Twitter users a similar sharing option, and throws in support for iTunes as well. Whenever you listen to a song, it’ll automatically tweet out to your followers, so it’s time to start building some respectable playlists. 

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$5
Apps

Empoc Screen Vault

Sure you can lock your Mac with a password, but everyone knows you use your first dog’s middle name for everything. Empoc’s Screen Vault ($5) lets you secure your machine while you’re away in a more old school way: with a combination lock. That’s right, this Mac App Store title takes you back to the days of high school lockers, but it’s a lot more high tech and you don’t have to clean it out at the end of the year.

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$490
Decor

QisDesign BE Light

Although Apple would likely come up with a simpler design—and definitely a less complicated name—if it built lamps, QisDesigns’s BE Light ($490) certainly will complement your favorite Mac nicely. Sure, it costs as much as a new iPad, but the cool folding mechanism and premium materials are sure to appeal to design fiends who have some money to throw around. 

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$60-$70
Cases

STM Bags Scout 2

Having already noted STM’s Hood in recent days, we didn’t want to skip over the company’s new Scout 2 line ($60-$70), either. With models that fit 11”, 13”, and 15” MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros, this revamped computer plus iPad-or-other-stuff carrier is a great option for those who prefer a messenger-style bag to a backpack. And since it’s an STM product, you can be assured that it’s built incredibly well.   

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$229-$469
Peripherals

Wacom Intuos5 Professional Pen Tablets

Just announced and released, Wacom’s Intuos5 Professional Pen Tablets ($229-$469) offer evolutions over previous generations of the company’s popular input solutions. Available in three sizes ranging from 24 to 102 square inches of working area, they’ve undergone a redesign that not only looks better, but adds more features too. The big thing Wacom is promoting is Multi-Touch, and while these aren’t the first tablets from the company to incorporate the feature, it’s clear that gesture-based input has become a major focus for these professional products.

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iFixit iMac Dual Hard Drive Kit

iFixit’s easy to love. Not only does the little repair shop tear apart every new Apple product just to see what’s inside, but sometimes it finds hidden treasures, too. The most recent discovery: mounting points inside both models of the latest generation iMac—even the smaller version—for a second 2.5” hard drive. Naturally, the company has found a way to take advantage of this space. Just as it did for the Mac mini a few months ago, iFixit is now offering Dual Hard Drive Kits for the 21.5” and 27” iMac ($70).

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Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4

Lightroom. Aperture. Lightroom. Aperture. Adobe and Apple’s competing professional photo organization and editing tools are locked in a two-year cycle, one-upping each other with tweaks designed to keep existing customers from flocking to the other side. Today’s release of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 ($149) continues the ping pong match: in addition to adding a bunch of features Aperture users have been enjoying since Apple released version 3—or earlier—Adobe has cut the app’s price in half, and added a handy soft-proofing option to let you tweak output for your printer of choice without altering the color balance of your photos. For the time being, Adobe’s only offering it through its own web site, albeit with a free 30-day trial that lets you sample all of the features without restrictions.

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€40
Cases

Incase Amsterdam Apple Store Exclusive Sleeve

Although we generally prefer to feature new Mac products that are globally available, Incase’s Apple Store Exclusive Amsterdam Sleeve (€40) is an exception: as the name implies, this MacBook Pro sleeve is only available in limited quantities at Apple’s gorgeous new retail store in Amsterdam. If you haven’t seen the store yet, check out some pictures of it here.

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$25
Apps

Ubisoft Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction

The fifth game in its popular stealth series, Ubisoft has just released Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction ($25) in the Mac App Store. Like most console-quality games, it has some heavy spec requirements, so you’ll need a more recent iMac or MacBook Pro to really get the best experience. If you’re a gamer with one of those machines, there’s a good chance you’ll want to check this title out.

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$3500
March, 2012
Camera

Canon 5D Mark III

Whereas Nikon’s recent DSLR upgrades have evoked the word “monster,” Canon’s have been somewhat more restrained—either a sign of quiet confidence, or a huge tactical blunder just waiting to be revealed a month or two down the line. We’re betting that the just-announced 5D Mark III ($3500) is in the former camp: for the third iteration of its popular full-frame camera, currently owned by two iLounge editors, Canon has opted out of the megapixel race in favor of dramatically improved image quality, autofocusing capabilities, and a collection of user-requested features. Pro photographers are currently debating the wisdom of Canon’s approach and ever-higher price tag, but there’s universal agreement on one thing: the 5D Mark III will do everything its predecessor did, only better.

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$133
April 16, 2012
Peripherals

Das Keyboard Model S Professional for Mac

Click click click click click. Hear that? That’s the sound of Das Keyboard’s made-to-be-loud Model S Professional for Mac ($133), which is now available for preorder at a $20 discount. A modified version of the PC keyboard that’s been around for a few years now, this black slate is inspired by IBM’s Model M with mechanical switch keys that ensure you’ll hear every single key press. It’s not designed to look particularly Mac-like, but the glossy black shell does go nicely with the glass bezels of contemporary iMacs.

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