2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

€48-€60/~$62-$77
February - March 2012
Peripherals

Logical Art Empty Memory USB Memory Sticks

We could wax poetic about the merger of art and technology when talking about Logical Art’s Empty Memory USB Memory Sticks (€48-€60/~$62-$77), or we could just cut to the chase and tell you these are some really cool looking 4GB flash drives. There are actually two different styles in the family—Transparency and Structure—both of which come accented with one of three different metals. Any version will really stand out from the plastic options that currently dominate the memory stick market.

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$269-$399
Cases

PKG Leather Simple Sleeve

We’ll start with the painful part first: PKG’s Leather Simple Sleeve, part of the company’s Black Crown Collection, is an expensive case—$269-$399, depending on your MacBook’s size. But after seeing them in person at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, we just know that some users will be willing to pay the price to own them, because the leather PKG is using is really jaw-droppingly impressive.

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$TBD
March 2012
Peripherals

Newer Technology miniStack Max

It’s hard to find fault with the Mac mini when it comes to the diminutive tower’s I/O options; Apple gave even its lowest-end machine a pretty impressive collection of features, as long as you’re not concerned about CDs and DVDs. But discs remain a legitimate concern for some users, and there are times when people may need more ports to plug things into, as well. That’s why Newer Technology introduced miniStack Max ($TBD) at the 2012 International CES. 

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Free
Apps

Apple iBooks Author

Apple’s iWork and iLife suites already enable “the rest of us” to make music, movies, presentations, and more. Today, the company has added the educational textbook world to its sights, introducing an app to make creating books just as simple. With a Keynote-like interface, iBooks Author (Free) is available in the Mac App Store today. Apple hasn’t traditionally given away creative tools like this, so the fact that there’s no cost involved is a welcome break from tradition. It’s made to interact with and complement iBooks 2 for iOS devices, also announced today, and is going to be a big deal for large publishers and individual authors alike.

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$150
Decor

Yantouch JellyWake 2

Yantouch’s new JellyWake2 ($150) will look very familiar if you’ve seen our coverage of this company’s earlier JellyWake—a beautiful ambient lamp that caught our editors’ attention last year. But this sequel sports some major improvements: in addition to its unique color-shifting LED light system, JellyWake2 now doubles as an analog desktop clock, adds an Infrared remote, and includes new audio effects. Now you can experience the up close magic of its novel gesture-based controls, or use buttons to change its light show from afar.

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$299
September 2012
Peripherals

Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock ($299)—that would be last September—but it got a big make over just in time for the 2012 International CES, as well a promised release date: September 2012. Billed as the ultimate accessory for the MacBook Air, this new dock is compatible with all Thunderbolt-equipped Macs, adding extra I/O ports to whatever machine you use it with, and enabling you to make a simple connection to a notebook computer when it returns to all the peripherals on your desk.

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$20
Apps

Nik Software Snapseed

The best way to describe this app in a nutshell: Snapseed is an awesome photo editing tool. In our review of the iPad and iPhone version, we said the app “focuses solely on making photos look more professional, employing a user interface with a modest learning curve that’s actually worth learning” and highly recommended it to our readers. Now Nik Software has brought Snapseed ($20) to the Mac.

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$20/pair
Extras

Just Mobile AluCube Mini

Desktop cable holders generally aren’t the most exciting things in the world, but when they’re designed well, they can add class to an otherwise chaotic workstation. As soon as we heard that Just Mobile was going to take a stab at its own, we knew we’d like the results. Introduced at the 2012 International CES in the iLounge Pavilion as the winning entry from a European design competition held last year, AluCube Mini ($20/pair) is just the sort of cute little metal thing we expect from Just Mobile.

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$430-$700
February 2012
Peripherals

Elgato Thunderbolt SSD

If you own a 2011-vintage Mac, you’re probably still trying to find super-fast accessories to use with its new Thunderbolt port. Elgato’s ready to wow you with a new option: the plainly-named Thunderbolt SSD ($430-$700). Completely portable, made from dark metal, and silent, the Thunderbolt SSD promises speedy and reliable data storage in your choice of 120GB or 240GB versions—small capacities for the prices because they use solid-state memory rather than disks, but the speeds may justify the expenditure.

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Mobee Technology Power Bar

Along with Magic Feet, Mobee has one more product to show off at the 2012 International CES, and it’s something that we’re especially excited about. For many Magic Trackpad users, Power Bar ($30) is going to be a very big deal. Breaking from the company’s usual trend, this battery pack doesn’t use conductive technology. Instead, it’s packing a Micro USB port that let’s you recharge from one of the cables that is likely already dangling from the back of your machine… or sticking out of your wired keyboard, if you’re rocking one of those.

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$6,000
February 2012
Camera

Nikon D4

What’s this? Another 2012 International CES-bound camera leaked ahead of time by Wells Fargo? Great! This time, it’s Nikon’s D4 ($6,000), the company’s new flagship DSLR. Of course image quality is improved over the previous generation D3 unit, but there’s a whole lot more going on under the hood than just that—this is a full-frame camera with plenty of new features, and will be available before Canon’s powerhouse 1DX, to boot. This time, Nikon’s added a bunch of video-friendly features that sound fantastic on paper, plus welcome little tweaks such as illuminated function buttons and a lighter weight.

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$799
February 2012
Camera

Canon Powershot G1X

There’s no doubt that this year’s International CES will host a treasure trove of new goodies, and many companies have already begun to announce at least some of their offerings—some inadvertantly. Over the last day, Wells Fargo accidentally let loose a whole slew of press releases for upcoming cameras, including Canon’s new Powershot G1X ($799). When it’s released in February, we expect this compact but powerful prosumer unit to make some big waves. 

 

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$80
Cases

Incase Terra Collection Tote Bag

So many of the computer bags on the market range in aesthetics from neutral to masculine, and the average bag is titled more heavily towards the latter. If you’re searching for a simple and more feminine way to carry an 11” or 13” Mac, we’ve found it: Incase’s Terra Collection Tote Bag is really nice looking, with a rare purse-style design. The company also has sleeves and a backpack in the collection; they’re a good alternative to the usual black and brown options we see so many of.

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$180-$200
Peripherals

G-Technology G-Drive mobile + G-Drive mobile USB

It’s not a secret, but many people aren’t aware that premium Mac hard drive maker G-Technology is actually a division of Hitachi—so when Hitachi releases new drives, updated G-Tech products generally follow. We’ve already highly recommended the company’s G-Drive 3TB—just now becoming available in a 4GB version—as our go-to desktop drive, and now some of G-Tech’s portables have been updated, too. Thanks to Hitachi’s new 1TB Travelstar 5K1000 2.5-inch drive, both the G-Drive mobile ($200) and G-Drive mobile USB ($180) will soon be available in 1TB versions.

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Free
Apps

Alberto Garcia Hierro Meme Generator

Y U No Guy. Socially Awkward Penguin. Philosoraptor. Even if you don’t go looking for them, these memes have pretty much taken over the Internet, so clearly the best thing to do is join the craze and create your own. Developer Alberto Garcia Hierro has made it remarkably easy with his Mac App Store release of Meme Generator (Free), particularly helpful for Mac users because so many of the memes were originally “designed” in MS Paint. Now there’s a simple way to downgrade your graphics tools and join in on the fun.

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