2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$60, $149-$199

MCE Technologies Blu-ray Player

Blu-ray Disc playback has long been a white whale for Mac owners, and if the Mac mini and MacBook Air are any indication, the chances of seeing any optical drive incorporated into future Apple machines is getting slimmer and slimmer. The drives that you can currently hook up to your Mac only allow you to author; you can’t even watch Blu-ray movies without dual-booting into Windows. Or at least that’s the way it was up until now. MCE Technologies has finally found a solution to the problem, and is now offering its Blu-ray Player software as a free add-on with its internal drive for the Mac Pro ($149) and external USB 2.0 and eSATA drive ($199). If you want to buy the software on its own, it’ll cost you $60. Read More

$99 Upgrade/$199

Alien Skin Software Blow Up 3

Shrinking a photo is easy, but making it bigger is challenging. Stretching just resizes the pixels you have, so the result is blurry, pixelated images that don’t look too great. Alien Skin Software has been making Photoshop plugins for almost 20 years, and its Blow Up 3 ($99 Upgrade/$199) is a direct solution to this issue. It works with Photoshop CS4 or newer, Elements 8+, and now Lightroom 2+ as well. Read More


Maha::Software PandaBar

In recent months, music services such as Pandora have become essential parts of our working and relaxing time. One big problem with some services is that there’s no convenient way to control them as easily as iTunes offers with the Mini Player. That’s where Maha::Software’s PandaBar ($5) comes in. This Mac app gives you a variety of quick controls for your Pandora stations, including an easy-access Menu Bar tool. Read More


Freitag F81 Mac Sleeve

There are hundreds of sleeve options for the MacBook Pro. Freitag’s F81 Mac Sleeve ($153) for the 13” MacBook Pro is one of them, but the company has taken strides to set it apart from the crowd. The novelty comes from the recycled material used to make the case: used truck tarps, which obviously helps the environment, and also lends itself to some really cool designs. While it’s expensive, you’re definitely getting something unique. Read More


St. Clair Software Jettison

St. Clair Software’s Jettison ($2) is one of those apps that offers a feature you’d think would already be baked into OS X, but is missing for one reason or another. In this case, it’s automatic ejection of external disks. If you close the lid on your MacBook and unplug your drives, you’re going to see the “disk was not ejected properly” dialog box when you open it back up, suggesting that your files may have been damaged in the process. Jettison is smart enough to automatically eject all of the external drives you have attached when you put your Mac to sleep, letting you pick up and go without worrying about corrupted files. Read More


Jammbox Discovr Music

The developers at Jammbox know there are dozens of ways to listen to music on your computer now, so they took a different approach with the music app Discovr Music ($5). Instead of playing music, this Mac App Store title helps you find your next favorite band or artist. It’s an awesome tool for discovery, and looks really cool too. Read More


Canon Pixma Pro-1

What are you supposed to do once you’ve spruced up your pictures in Pixelmator? If you’re going to print them out and you’re looking for lab-like quality, you may want to consider Canon’s upcoming Pixma Pro-1 Professional Inkjet Printer ($999). While the price tag is high, you’re going to get really impressive prints out of this new model, which boasts a 12-ink system for astounding color accuracy. Read More


Pixelmator Team Pixelmator

Let’s face it: most people who think they need Photoshop don’t need Photoshop. Unless you’re a professional who constantly uses dozens of Photoshop-exclusive features, you can save several hundred dollars and go with Pixelmator Team’s Pixelmator ($30/$60) instead. We’re only comparing it to Photoshop for reference, but the title really stands on its own—it was just updated to version 2.0 this morning, and is now an even better value, especially if you get it before the price hike. Read More

M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

If you’re a musician on the go, M-Audio’s Keystation Mini 32 ($100) is an easy solution. This keyboard shrinks the company’s well-regarded line of MIDI music controllers down to an accessory that’s just longer than a MacBook Pro—really easy to toss in a bag and take with you, but still big enough to be totally useful at your workstation. There are even four customizable controls, three buttons and a knob. Read More


Bluelounge Sumo

Bluelounge has done a pretty good job of establishing itself as one of the top makers of cable management solutions, and its newest product Sumo ($12) only furthers its reputation. This simple “paperweight for your cables” will be a welcome accessory, and if your desk is anything like ours, you may even want a few of them to keep all of the cords organized. Better yet, the price is as close to fair as Bluelounge’s designs get these days. Read More

Twelve South BassJump 2

Most our of iLounge’s editors are MacBook Air users, and we really love Apple’s smallest, lightest notebooks. But certain sacrifices have to be made for the small packages, and audio quality is one of them. We’ve shown off a software solution that raises the volume before, but here’s a new accessory that goes above and beyond what’s inside the computer: Twelve South’s new BassJump 2 ($70). This USB-powered woofer has been designed exclusively for the MacBook Pro and Air, making a world of difference. Read More

Amped Wireless SR600EX High Power Wireless-N 600mW Pro Smart Repeater

One thing we’ve always liked about Apple’s AirPort family of routers is just how easy it is to add a tiny Express to expand the range of a bigger Extreme. Each has a radius of about 150 feet, so most people will be more than fine. But what are you supposed to do if you need real wireless distance and power? We’re not talking feet here, but miles—one and a half miles, actually. That’s just the kind of boost that Amped Wireless’s new SR600EX High Power Wireless-N 600mW Pro Smart Repeater ($180) promises to give you. Read More


Simon & Schuster Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The timing of this book’s release could hardly be better—almost like an Apple product. Originally scheduled to be released in March 2012, and then later bumped up to November 21, the official biography of Apple’s former CEO has been published just 19 days after his passing. Succinctly called Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson ($33), the book is now available in three formats: printed physical copies are in stores today, while Kindle and iBookstore editions are available for immediate download for $17 each. Read More


Apple MacBook Pro (Late 2011)

Well, well, well, what do we have here? Just in time for the holidays, Apple has updated its laptop lineup with a small bump to the MacBook Pro family ($1,199-$2,499)—we’d be surprised to see any other big revisions before the end of the year. The new MacBook Pros still use the same Unibody aluminum chassis design we’ve been seeing for the past three years, but the guts have been improved. What’s new? Extra speed and in some cases more storage capacity. Read More


La Boite Concept LD 130

Not content with just giving you a surface to put your laptop on, La Boite Concept has unveiled its LD 130 (€1,480/~$2,054). The “LD” stands for laptop dock, and the “130” denotes the wattage of the speaker—yes, this desk has a built-in speaker system, and a powerful one, too. The desk itself is made out of high quality wood and leather, contributing to the sort of premium look and feel one would expect for the price. Read More

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