2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$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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Free
Apps

Retickr LLC Retickr

Some people get their news by visiting sites multiple times throughout the day. Others use RSS readers to stay up to date. With its eponymous app, Retickr (Free) presents a third option: it’s a scrolling ticker that runs across your Mac’s screen with the stories that you care about. It integrates RSS feeds as well as your Facebook and Twitter accounts to show you the posts and articles that you want to see, either with preset playlists or ones that you create yourself. Click on any story, and you get a full view of it instantly.

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¥4,980/$40
Cases

Uncommon Sleeve for MacBook Air

Uncommon is best-known for its custom iPhone and iPod touch cases; in fact, those are the only products available on its site right now. But now the company is working its way into the notebook sleeve field as well, with the Japanese—and pending U.S.—launch of its Lady Dots or Night Garden sleeves for MacBook Air (¥4,980/$40). Although they’re not available in the States yet, our sources indicate that we’ll be seeing them sooner rather than later.

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$60, $149-$199
Apps
Peripherals

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.

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$99 Upgrade/$199
Apps

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.

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$5
Apps

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.

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$153
Cases

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.

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$2
Apps

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.

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$5
Apps

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.

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$999
TBD
Peripherals

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.

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$30/$60
Apps

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.

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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.

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