2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$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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$85
Early February 2012
Peripherals

Retrode Retrode 2

Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis games have held up surprisingly well since the platforms were put to rest years ago. In our experience, old consoles usually stop working well before their cartridges, but the desire to play some of the classic games never really goes away. That’s why we were seriously intrigued by the Retrode 2 ($85) from Retrode—a peripheral that allows you to effectively play your original cartridges on your Mac, using the actual console controllers. How cool is that?

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Apple Store Refurbished Macs

Hard-core Apple fans have few greater joys than opening brand-new Mac boxes, removing the plastic from around their computers, and booting them up for the first time. But like anything else, the sooner you want a new Mac, the more you’ll pay. Patient customers should note that Apple offers a fantastic second option: refurbished Macs. From model to model, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least 15% off the standard retail price, and older computers can go for discounts closer to 30%. That means the you can score a current-generation base model MacBook Air for only $849—a heck of a deal—or get a more deluxe refurbished model for the same $999 price as a less deluxe new one.

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Audioengine D1

Be warned: Audioengine’s just-announced D1 ($169) is for serious audiophiles only—guys who would consider putting jet fuel in a Ferrari for just a hint of extra speed. But we know you’re out there, so here it is: D1 is a digital-to-analog converter box for your Mac that promises to “improve the sound of ALL your music” by routing it through a USB port to your best pair of speakers or headphones, processing it with a high-performance, low-jitter AK4396 DAC.

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$10
Apps

Playdead Limbo

When used correctly, monochromatic art can transform a good game into a great one, as illustrated by Playdead’s new Mac App Store release Limbo ($10). The walk-and-jump platforming gameplay is engaging enough to be worthy of recommending in its own right, and is augmented by absolutely beautiful graphics.

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$60-$80
Cases

Be.ez LE Reporter

We’re already partial to messenger-style laptop bags, so coming across one that looks as nice as French company Be.ez’s LE Reporter ($60-$80) made us pretty happy. Available in a variety of sizes for the 11” and 13” MacBook Air and the 13” and 15” MacBook Pro, we can definitely picture carrying one of these guys around. Of the color options—grey and blue or black and safran—we especially dig the latter, as the yellow really pops against the dark background.

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Apparent Doxie Go

We thought Apparent’s Doxie scanner was pretty slick back when we first saw it a few months ago, but the company has one-upped itself with the release of Doxie Go ($199). Like the earlier version, Go is a feeding document scanner that supports paper sizes up to 8.5"x11”, with the ability to process smaller pages as well. The big difference here is portability. Apparent has even touted future iOS compatibility, although we haven’t quite seen that yet.

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$40
Mounts

Newer Technology NuCube Vertical Stand for Mac mini

The G4 Cube never worked out for Apple quite the way the company hoped it would, but the design still holds a special place in the hearts of many Mac lovers and design aficionados, including us. That’s why we were very happy to see Newer Technology has adapted the NuCube Vertical Stand for Mac mini ($40) to fit the current generation of Cupertino’s diminutive desktop computer. NuCube brings back the clear acrylic aesthetics we loved, coming as close to a new Cube as we’re likely to see.

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Almove MacBook Holder

Thank goodness for Chrome; its translation feature made it possible for us to read all about Almove’s MacBook Holder (€75/~$98) without having to brush up on our Italian. The design from ddpstudio speaks well for itself, though: available for either the 13” or 15” MacBook Pro, MacBook Holder pulls double duty—it carries your computer, and provides you with a flat surface when it’s time to work.

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$150
Cases

MICHAEL Michael Kors 13" Sleeve for MacBook Pro

There’s fashion, there’s functionality, and then there’s a nice middle ground where the two meet. The new MICHAEL Michael Kors 13” Sleeve for MacBook Pro ($150) falls right into that middle space by combining a premium name brand design with protection and portability.

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$13
Apps

Firemint Real Racing 2

Many times, when a game is ported from iOS to the Mac or vice versa, the only difference in the experience is the screen you’re playing it on. Frankly, even if that were the case with Firemint’s new Mac App Store release of Real Racing 2 ($13), we’d be more than OK with it. We found the tablet version to be pretty impressive, especially when played on the iPad 2. Firemint took the same winning formula and added some new controls, so it looks like the developer has another success on its hands.

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