2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$5
Apps

Bloop Life Stream

Bloop’s new app Life Stream ($5) isn’t going to stop you from wasting time on social networking sites; heck, it’ll probably drag you in deeper. But it’s at least going to reduce the amount of time you have to spend switching between different web pages and apps. Designed as a browser-free experience, it brings your online life together into a single window: Tweets and Likes and Check-Ins, all living together—what a wonderful world. Read More

$200-$350
Peripherals

FastMac External Slimline USB 2.0 Blu-ray Optical Drive

Steve Jobs may still think that Blu-ray’s licensing terms are a “bag of hurt,” but if you want to burn these high-capacity discs on a Mac, you do have some options, as FastMac is now offering a whole line of External Slimline USB 2.0 Blu-ray Optical Drives ($200-$350). Consider this fair warning: they’re mostly for authoring. Since Mac OS X doesn’t support Blu-ray playback, you need to rely upon third-party software for recording, and Boot Camp over to Windows if you want to watch Blu-ray discs on your Mac’s display. Read More

$7
Apps

Two Tribes/Mobigame Edge

We really got a kick out of the iPhone and iPad versions of Edge ($7), so we were excited to hear that Two Tribes was porting Mobigame’s now-classic cubic platform game to the Mac. Luckily, it lives up to our high expectations: from the same cool artwork to the chiptune soundtrack, it’s everything we liked, only bigger on the Mac’s screens. Read More

$50-$60
Cases

Incase Andy Warhol Protective Sleeve

Art fans rejoice: your MacBook Air or Pro no longer needs to be transported around in a bland, pedestrian sleeve. With Incase’s newest entries into its Andy Warhol Protective Sleeve ($50-$60) line, an even wider variety of the famed pop artist’s designs are available to cover your machine. There are versions for 11”, 13”, and 15” Macs, with the two larger sizes costing a bit more. Read More

Kanex C247DL

Just what are you supposed to do if you have an older Mac—a machine with a Single- or Dual-Link DVI port—and a newer 24” or 27” LED Cinema Display? In the past, there would’ve been no easy way to make them play nice together. But now Kanex has jumped on the problem, adding another adapter to its already extensive list: C247DL ($149). This little white and gray box actively converts the DVI signal to Mini DisplayPort, allowing you to hook right in. Read More

Free
Apps

Kayak Explore

If you’re trying to plan a trip without knowing where you actually want to go, or what you want to do, Kayak’s new Mac application Explore (Free) will help you set your agenda in a really cool way. You can think of Explore as the modern day equivalent of throwing darts at a map—a cool interface that we really like. Read More

$69 + Free
Apps

Apple Apple OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive + Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

OS X Lion has been available for just under a month—just enough time for Apple to release its promised OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive ($69), a solution for users who can’t or won’t buy Lion from the Mac App Store. It’s the full OS on a physical drive, and it costs more than twice as much. Read More

iFixit Mac Mini Dual Hard Drive Kit

The new Mac mini has plenty of space inside for a second hard drive, but Apple charges a huge premium to install a second drive or SSD inside. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the space. To help you out, the folks over at iFixit have come up with Mac Mini Dual Hard Drive Kit ($70), which has all the pieces you need, except for the hard drive, which you choose yourself. Read More

$7
Apps

Gameloft Tank Battles

Atari created the overhead tank shooter genre with its classic VCS/2600 pack-in game Combat. Now Gameloft has brought the game into the modern era with Tank Battles ($7), a Mac App Store download that’s far better in motion than screenshots would suggest. You take control of a yellow, green, blue, or red tank, steer it with one hand and move a targeting reticule with another, firing off shots in a series of four-player deathmatches in 50 city, country, and military settings. Power-ups fill the screen with explosions until one tank emerges as the leader of the pack. Read More

Free
Apps

Andreas Ganske Launchpad-Control

We want to like Lion’s new Launchpad, we really do. But the fact that every single app on your Mac shows up there—with no way to remove most of them—takes away from the experience. After all, how often is the average person going to use ColorSync Utility? Thankfully, German developer Andreas Ganske has released Launchpad-Control (Free) as a solution to that problem. Hopefully Apple will take the hint and add a similar feature in an OS X update. Read More

Free
Apps

How-To: Remove, Limit, Or Fix Adobe Flash On Your Mac

People freaked out when Apple flatly refused to let the iPhone and iPod touch support Adobe’s Flash plug-in, forcing the companies into a messy public battle over Flash’s power consumption and stability. Four years later, it’s long past obvious that Apple was right, particularly since Flash is now wreaking havoc on Macs with OS X Lion installed. Here are some quick tips for removing, limiting, or sandboxing Adobe Flash so that your Mac doesn’t lock up or lose half of its battery life. We’d recommend that you dump Flash altogether, but if you can’t do that, we have some tips to (try to) fix it, as well. Read More

$300
Cases

Samsonite Aluminum Attaché

Metal boxes imply important, top-secret contents—they’re the stuff of James Bond movies, the President’s nuclear “football,” and even Apple’s classic iPhone 3G commercial. If you’re looking for an affordable way to upgrade your MacBook to secret agent status, Samsonite’s Aluminum Attaché ($300) will help you create the same aura of mystery and importance. It’s actually available on the company’s website and from Amazon for half the MSRP—a pretty reasonable deal, really. Read More

$399
September
Speakers

Focal XS Book Music System

French manufacturer Focal’s upcoming XS Book Music System ($400) is the follow-up to its impressive XS computer-ready speaker system from a few years ago. This time around, the company has ditched the subwoofer and iPod dock; what you have instead are two thesaurus-sized silver and black speakers that fit right in place alongside the current Mac lineup. They’re made from plastic and fabric, and match the iMac and Apple’s 27” LED Cinema Display / Thunderbolt Display designs really well. Updated August 11, 2011: We’ve added some additional impressions to our prior coverage below. Read More

Mobee Technology The Magic Bar

We’ve already seen Mobee Technology pull off a similar trick with the Magic Mouse, so it is not a huge surprise to see the company unveil The Magic Bar ($60)—but we’re still interested in this neat accessory, which we first checked out at CES in January. Just like its little brother, The Magic Bar is an inductive charging station, but this time it’s for Apple’s Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad. It’s an easier and more environmentally-friendly solution than having to replace and throw out your AAs every few months. Updated August 11 and 30, 2011: Although it took a few months longer than expected, Magic Bar has finally been released. We’ve added detailed pictures to our photo gallery. And subsequently, we added new detailed impressions below. Read More

$40
Cases

Incase Neoprene Slim Sleeve

Incase’s Neoprene Slim Sleeve ($40) has been a standard accessory for years. Watch the bag section of an Apple Store for an afternoon and you’ll definitely see a few make it out the door. Ready for a change, the company has updated the unit across the board with new versions for everything from the 11” MacBook Air to the 13” MacBook Pro. Updated: New hands-on pictures after the break! Read More

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