2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

MacBook / MacBook Pro MagSafe Adapter Settlement

Remember the T-shaped MagSafe Power Adapters that Apple used to ship with MacBooks and MacBook Pros? If you ever had one, the picture above may look familiar: early MagSafes were known to fray under normal use, especially right where the cable met the magnetic connector. The only solution up until now has been to buy a new one—either another T-shaped one, or, more recently, the improved L-shaped model that now ships with all of Apple’s notebooks. If you fall into this category, good news: there’s been a class action settlement, and you may be eligible to get at least some of your cash back.

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$40-$60
Cases

Maclocks.com MacBook Air Lock

We’ve been looking for a way to secure the latest MacBook Airs for a while; the big issue has been the lack of a lock slot. At one point, it seemed that Griffin’s TechSafe Cable Lock System would do the trick, but that wound up not working out as it should have. Thankfully, we’ve finally found a way to secure the Air with Maclocks.com’s MacBook Air Lock ($40-$60). It definitely takes a different approach than any security systems we’ve seen before—one that some users will be more comfortable with than others—but appears to do the trick.

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$15/$30
Apps

The Mental Faculty Mental Case

Technology was supposed to improve education. Years ago, students took notes with pen and paper; these days, laptops are as likely being used for Facebook as for studying. A recently updated app called Mental Case ($15/$30) has a chance to change how students study with their computers, by reinventing the concept of flashcards. Instead of simple text notes and scribbled images on paper cards, The Mental Faculty’s app lets you create digital cards with images and videos—a multimedia experience, complete with structured study schedules.

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$5
Apps

MumboJumbo 7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour HD

MumboJumbo’s games tend to have a few things in common: addictive gameplay, beautiful graphics, and nice soundtracks. So we jumped right on top of 7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour HD ($5) when it showed up in the Mac App Store this week, and came away impressed—this match-three puzzle title has the added depth and frills we’ve come to expect from the company, including both a rune-matching main game and construction-themed mini-games to break up the action.

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Elecom Data Clip and Data Hook 4GB Flash Drives by Nendo

Accessory makers have figured out that design is the key to differentiating flash drives—otherwise, cheaper options win. Elecom clearly gets this, as it partnered up with Japenese design firm Nendo to create the Data Clip and Data Hook 4GB flash drives ($36 each). Both feature unique hook-shaped designs in a variety of colors.

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Belkin Universal Media Reader/Writer

When Apple added an SD card slot to the MacBook Pro a few years back, it was kind of a surprise—the company was already on a march to reduce ports and physical media interfaces, beginning its plans to remove optical drives from some of its laptops. But photographers wanted integrated memory card slots, and Apple obliged for users of the most common format. If you’re using anything other than SD, then Belkin’s new Universal Media Reader/Writer ($40) is probably just what you need.

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$50*
Apps

Nuance Dragon Express

If you’ve been using Siri on your iPhone 4S over the past month, you’re probably starting to get used to having a personal assistant within easy reach. Voice control may be built into that phone, but the software’s not cheap. The big voice recognition developer is Nuance, whose technology powers many other voice control apps. Nuance’s own Dragon Dictate application starts at $180, but thankfully, the company has introduced a new title that offers a lot of the same benefits at a much lower price: Dragon Express ($50*).

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$80
Apps

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Editor

A few weeks ago, we featured the newest version of Pixelmator as a great alternative to Adobe’s expensive Photoshop software. We like that it’s much more affordable, yet still has many of the features home users find important. Well, Adobe has debuted its own low-end option: Photoshop Elements 10 Editor ($80) has just become available in the Mac App Store, two months after the boxed version came out. It has almost all of the same features, with the exception of the Elements Organizer and support for Case Sensitive HFS Volumes. It’s also $20 less expensive than before.

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Newer Technology Voyager Q

Ever swapped out the hard drive in one of your Macs? Sure, the computer ends with with more storage space, but you end up with a silver box that doesn’t do you too much good. That is, unless you’re willing to put the drive inside of another housing and connect it to your computer again. The easiest way to do this is a dock such as Newer Technology’s Voyager Q ($80). Compatible with both 2.5” and 3.5” SATA drives, Voyager Q allows you to pop in your old drives and access the contents instantly. Newer Tech explains it succinctly: it’s like a flash drive, but with huge capacity. And an obviously bigger footprint.

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$40
Cases

SwitchEasy Thins for MacBook Air

SwitchEasy has a history of releasing really great cases for iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches over the years—now it’s making a foray into MacBook Air sleeves with Thins, available for both 11” and 13” models. It’s based on the design of the company’s earlier Thins for iPad 2 ($40), but customized for Apple’s ultra-small laptops. We found the tablet version to be worthy of recommending, and this edition seems to carry over a lot of the things that we liked.

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$2
Apps

David Johnson SpotRemote for Spotify

We’ve enjoyed using Spotify on the Macs since it launched—the ability to listen to virtually anything has introduced us to all kinds of new music. The only downside apart from the annoyingly cheesy ads is the lack of a mini player. Apple’s had one for years in iTunes, but the folks at Spotify haven’t seemed to figure it out yet. Luckily, third party developers such as David Johnson have arrived to fill the gap, so we have SpotRemote for Spotify ($2).

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$40
Apps

Feral Interactive Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum ($40) isn’t brand new; it’s been available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PCs since 2009. But even by today’s standards, the game is so impressive that it’s definitely worth spotlighting its release for the Mac, courtesy of Feral Interactive and the Mac App Store. If you’ve never played it, Arkham Asylum is stunning, packed with a rich story, beautiful graphics, an awesome combat system, and plenty of fan service—a great game for comic enthusiasts and general video game lovers alike.

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$5*
Apps

Austin Blackwood VirtuaScore Basketball

One of the coolest aspects of the app culture Apple has created is how many single-use, physical objects can be replaced by relatively inexpensive apps on multifunction devices. We’ve seen this time and time again with the iPhone and iPad, and the latest example for the Mac is developer Austin Blackwood’s VirtualScore Basketball ($5*). It turns your computer into a customizable basketball scoreboard, complete with a classic design, quick controls, and video output for monitors or projectors.

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$9,750+
December 1, 2011
Camera

Red Scarlet

It’s been quite a while since Red started talking about the follow up to its Epic camera. But, finally, Scarlet has been fully revealed, as has its pricing and release date—the body will start at $9,750, and is expected to ship starting December 1, 2011. As far as high end cameras go, this guy is the real deal. It shoots stills at 5120x2700 (5K) resolution at 12fps, and 4096x2160 (4K) video at 25fps. Yeah, pretty ridiculous.

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$6
Apps

Krystian Majewski Trauma

Trauma ($6) by German developer Krystian Majewski is surely one of the most different games we’ve ever played. Not different in a bad way, and not different in a “gee, there are some weird characters and levels” way. Different in that the gameplay mechanics, plot, level layout—everything, really—are unlike anything we’ve seen in a game before. And the result is a really cool experience, now available in the Mac App Store.

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