Yantouch Black Diamond Lamp

Having gone through a fairly major feature evolution since it was originally conceived as an iPhone dock, Yantouch’s new Black Diamond Lamp ($29) has become a cool little decor item for Mac users: a color-shifting LED lamp that connects to your Mac’s USB port or a wall for power, offering a pass-through USB port to charge your iPod, iPhone, or iPad while it beautifies your room. Capable of shifting through 1,500 different colors or maintaining whichever single color you prefer, the Black Diamond Lamp looks similar to earlier Black Diamond designs, but it’s much more affordable, while preserving the same whimsy and lighting capabilities Yantouch is becoming known for.

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MacPhun Color Splash Studio

Selective saturation can be an awesome photo effect when it’s done right — and MacPhun’s Color Splash Studio ($4) makes doing it right easy. Thanks to specialized tools and high-end algorithms, it can take even the most mundane photo looks great in a snap.

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Luxa2 Metropolitan Slim Envelope Case

Looking for a no-frills case that can carry your MacBook Air with class? The Luxa2 Metropolitan Slim Envelope Case ($TBA) is a fine choice, assuming that you’re carrying the 13-inch flavor.

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Adobe Creative Suite 6

If you’re in a creative field, odds are you’ve got at least one piece of Adobe’s Creative Suite installed on your machine — and if so, it’ll soon be time to upgrade. Adobe Creative Suite 6 ($1,300-$2,600) includes all new versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, Premiere Pro, After Effects, Prelude, and Audition, among other applications.

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MW3D-Solutions Cheetah3D

In the Apple world, there are plenty of things you can buy for a hundred bucks: an iPhone 4 or an Apple TV, for example. Believe it or not, 3D modeling software is on that list too. Cheetah3D ($100) from MW3D-Solutions costs the same as a pair of iPod shuffles, but it’s no slouch. This Mac App Store title, designed specifically for OS X, is made to be easy to learn and to use but is a full and powerful CGI solution.

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OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI Express SSD

If the success of the MacBook Air is any indication, there’s little doubt Apple intends to switch over to SSDs as quickly as it can. Solid state drives are incredibly fast and more reliable than spinning hard drives, although they still ring up at a higher price per gigabyte. OWC has been at the forefront of bringing these drives to Macs that don’t already have them, and is now expanding its lineup with Mercury Accelsior PCI Express SSD ($360-$2,096) for the Mac Pro.

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June 2012

Matrox DualHead2Go Digital ME

As of today, most Macs support a single external monitor—only the 15”/17” MacBook Pros can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays at once with their built-in hardware, and iMacs can add a Thunderbolt Display to match their own screens. Since many users would prefer not to spend two grand for twin monitors, say nothing of possibly having to replace their Macs, Matrox has come up with a different solution: DualHead2Go Digital ME ($179). This breakout box connects to Macs with Mini-DisplayPort or Thunderbolt ports, stretching a 3840x1200-pixel desktop across two DVI displays.

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APC Back-UPS Pro

If you’re an iMac, Mac mini, or Mac Pro user, you’ve probably been through this before: a power outage that prevents you from doing some critical work on your computer. Our recommended solution is APC’s Back-UPS Pro family ($140-$250), which provides a variety of safe alternatives for emergency battery-fueled electricity. “UPS” stands for “uninterruptible power supply,” and the Pro family includes four models that vary in battery power—the lowest-end version will keep an iMac running for around 25 minutes per battery, while the top model gives you around an hour of emergency time, assuming nothing else is connected to the unit. Spare batteries can be hot-swapped in without interrupting power, too.

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July 2012

Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera

Video professionals already know the name Blackmagic Design thanks to its considerable collection of post-production hardware and software; now the company has decided to jump directly into the other side of things with its Cinema Camera ($3,000). With a 2.5K sensor that enables budget-conscious professional users to shoot entirely in RAW, the Cinema Camera isn’t messing around; most DSLRs in the same price range force compression onto their lower-resolution videos.

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Anne Geddes My First Five Years

It’s time to add baby books to the list of physical items that are successfully being replaced by digital versions. With the release of Anne Geddes’s My First Five Years ($15) in the Mac App Store, new parents can easily chronicle the first five years of a child’s life, using a variety of templates to create an interactive book-like experience. Unlike a printed book, this app gives you the ability to customize the pages to your liking, so it’s easy to see a bright future ahead for the digital evolution of this successful print-based product.

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Contract Web Development Fast TM Restore

Time Machine is an awesome OS X feature—a savior when you’ve lost a file or experienced a hard drive failure. The only real problem is the interface, which requires you to take an animated trip through time and space just to find missing files. Sometimes you just want your data restored without graphical flourishes, and that’s where Contract Web Development’s Fast TM Restore ($6) comes in.

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Thule Crossover 38L Rolling Carry-On Bag

Frequent fliers know the value of rolling luggage, and that’s why pretty much every suitcase these days has wheels. Thule’s Crossover 38L Rolling Carry-On Bag ($290) adds a Mac laptop compartment to a handsome suitcase: grab one of these guys and you won’t have to worry about holding a separate computer bag on the plane—or fighting for space in the overhead compartment.

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Juan Leon FlashbackChecker

Macs have largely been spared the virus and trojan issues that have crippled Windows PCs for years, but Flashback malware is now making rounds—and the news. Statistically, you’re probably not in any danger, but it’s worth checking your Macs to confirm you’re not part of the 1% that’s been infected. The easiest tool we’ve seen is developer Juan Leon’s Flashback Checker (Free), which handles the dirty work for you. 


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Frictional Games Amnesia: The Dark Descent

When it comes to video games, the term “fun” can be pretty subjective. Some people are content to stack blocks and watch lines disappear, while others want to shoot everything in sight. Then there are those who get a kick out of being scared to death—or close to it. If you fall in to that group, Frictional Games release of Amnesia: The Dark Descent ($20) on the Mac App Store is sure to come as frighteningly good news.

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LaCie eSATA Hub

It’s still a pretty slow process, but Thunderbolt is continuing to spread. We’ve seen a small number of hard drives and a few other accessories make it to market, with LaCie getting more out than most other companies so far. Now it’s added to its collection with the introduction of eSATA Hub ($199). It’s a smart solution for users who have eSATA drives lying around that they’d like to use with newer Macs at blazing fast speeds.

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