$10/$20
Apps

Splashtop Inc. Splashtop Remote Desktop

What do you use to remotely access another computer from your Mac? Apple’s Back to My Mac works, but has to be set up under specific conditions, and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop only connects you to PCs. Splashtop Inc. has been in the remote access game for almost a year, starting with iOS apps, and now it’s bringing this expertise to the Mac App Store with Splashtop Remote Desktop ($10/$20). Unlike rivals, Splashtop promises 30 frame per second streaming, and is designed to work even with low-latency 3-D games.

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$100-$180
Peripherals

Western Digital My Passport for Mac and My Passport Studio

Western Digital’s latest updates to its My Passport for Mac and My Passport Studio ($100-$180) portable external hard drives are pretty impressive. These tiny drives are powered by your machine, weigh less than a pound, and look even sharper than before, nicely matching any silver or black Mac. They’re perfect for travel because they’re small enough to toss in a bag, and light enough to almost forget inside.

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$115-$125
Cases

Stash Messenger Bag for MacBook Air

Etsy seller Mariforssell’s Stash line of cases all share the same general aesthetic; they’re modern and fun. We really like the Messenger Bag for MacBook Air ($115-$125), particularly because of the material options that are offered. Available in fabrics such as denim, herringbone wool, and tartan, the Messenger Bags have a unique and cool style that we’d be happy to carry around. Out of all the designs, we really dig some of the plaids.

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$650-$900
October 20, 2011
Camera

Nikon J1 and V1 Mirrorless Cameras

The camera community has been expecting Nikon to release a mirrorless rival to Sony’s popular, smaller-than-DSLR interchangeable lens cameras for quite some time, and it finally happened last night: Nikon actually debuted two of them. The J1 ($650) and V1 ($900) bodies will both be available towards the end of October, sharing sensor technology, a new “CX” lens mounting system, and still/video capabilities, while diverging in body designs and frills.

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$400-$500
Peripherals

LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series Hard Drive

We’ve been waiting months for a consumer-priced Thunderbolt drive to go up for sale, and it looks like the most affordable option yet has finally been released. LaCie’s Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series Hard Drives ($400-$500) should be hitting the shelves at bricks-and-mortar Apple Stores across the globe, and they’re now available from Apple’s online store with a shipping time of one to two weeks.

 

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$2/$5
Apps

iDevelop Co. Lock Screen 2

Even though iOS users have been using it for four years, the “Slide to Unlock” gesture is still pretty cool. Most likely because they don’t have touch screens, Apple hasn’t yet brought the gesture to Macs, even with the addition of Multi-Touch trackpads to the whole family. Luckily, Mac App Store developer iDevelop Co. has come up with an app called Lock Screen 2 ($2/$5). In addition to adding a sliding lock mechanism to your Mac, it lets you choose a customized lock screen graphic, sound effects, and more, creating a layer of passive or active screen security for your computer.

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Free/$8
Apps
Peripherals

Mac Gaming: Use a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 Controller

If you’ve been playing computer games for a long time, you’re probably used to keyboards and mice as substitutes for joysticks. But console gamers may prefer standard gamepads for Mac gaming, particularly given how widely available and popular they are. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to play Mac games with Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 controllers. Start with the PS3’s DualShock 3, which uses the same Bluetooth standards embraced by every recent Mac. You’ll need a controller as well as the USB cable—any Mini-USB to standard USB cable should do the trick. Connect the cable and controller to your computer and then open System Preferences to ensure that Bluetooth is on and discoverable. Then, hold down the PS button for three seconds and unplug the cable from the Mac. That’s it: the Sony controller will have connected with Bluetooth and be ready to go, driver-free. Feral Interactive has a video that walks you through the process.

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Free
Apps

Google Chrome 14

While Apple’s Safari 5 is still our default Mac browser of choice, Google’s Chrome (Free) browser has found a permanent place in our editors’ docks for a whole slew of reasons. The main one? Chrome runs a “sandboxed” version of Adobe’s notoriously screwy Flash Player, which lets us play Flash-based videos when necessary, without exposing the rest of our Mac to the instabilities of the power-hungry and buggy plug-in. Just updated to version 14 with full Lion compatibility, Chrome also integrates really well with all of the company’s services, runs apps, and has a neat combination search/address bar.

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$7
Apps

Gameloft Gangstar: Miami Vindication

You may have heard the announcement a few weeks ago that Grand Theft Auto 3, San Andreas, and Vice City are now available on the Mac App Store. The thing is, those games go back as early as 2001 and Rockstar Games is still charging $15 a pop. For less than half that price, you can now purchase Gameloft’s Gangstar: Miami Vindication ($7), the latest game in a franchise clearly inspired by GTA, but now stands on its own after lighting up iOS devices for a couple of years.

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$240-$370
Peripherals

Iomega Mac Companion Hard Drive

One of the best and defining features of the iMac is the all-in-one design, which has looked great every year since the original model’s introduction, and helps keep your desk free of clutter. Iomega’s new Mac Companion Hard Drive ($240-$370) continues the clutter-free theme. Available in either 2TB or 2TB capacities, it fits right on the iMac’s or Thunderbolt Display’s base, adding storage capacity and three USB ports to your computer. Smart, right?

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$430
November 2011
Camera

Canon PowerShot S100

Look at the picture and you’ll think Canon’s new PowerShot S100 ($430) is exactly the sequel everyone’s wanted since the company debuted the breakthrough S90 two years ago. Well, it’s not: whereas the 2009 S90 and 2010 S95 were targeted directly at a different kind of camera buyer—the person who cared less about megapixels, huge zoom ranges and other specs than shooting speed and image quality—the S100 has taken a turn for the mainstream, packing lots of spec bumps into a slightly slimmer body. Some of the changes are wow-caliber, including the addition of a GPS chip for geotagging, as well as Canon’s new DIGIC 5 processor for rapid noise reduction, 1080p full HD video recording, and 8 frame-per-second shooting. And other changes… let’s just say serious “enthusiasts” won’t all be happy, but ambitious point-and-shoot upgraders may have just found their holiday toy of choice.

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$265
Cases

Booq Cobra Pack

At this point, it’s possible to carry an entire mobile office in a bag smaller than a traditional backpack—a MacBook Air, iPad 2, camera, and some chargers all take up less space than old Windows laptops. But there are definitely folks who have to—or want to—carry around larger MacBook Pros and all sorts of other toys. If you fall into that category, Booq’s Cobra Pack ($265) may just be the right solution for you.

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$50
Apps

VMware Fusion 4

We’ve seen this dance before: a few weeks ago Parallels introduced its latest Desktop 7 Windows virtualization software for Macs, and right on cue, VMware has released its response in the form of Fusion 4 ($50). Although there are more than 90 new features, the company is focusing on three main selling points. Fusion 4 is designed for OS X Lion, even more Mac-like, and offers turbocharged performance.

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$149
September 2011
Extras

Sifteo Cubes

Announced in 2009 as Siftables, Sifteo’s Cubes ($149) will finally become available this month, and we’re seriously intrigued by what they’ll mean for the future of interactive gaming. The basic kit includes three of the Cubes, a charging dock and AC adapter, as well as the USB wireless adapter that hooks into your Mac. Your computer beams games over to the tiny-screened Cubes, which serve as interactive displays and toys, with a minimum of three and a maximum of six Cubes working together at a time. Imagine a bunch of iPod nanos interacting with each other’s screens and you’ll have the right general idea.

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$2,499
September 2011
Peripherals

Wacom Cintiq 24HD

It mightn’t be as mainstream as Apple’s new Thunderbolt Display, but we have a feeling that the new Cintiq 24HD ($2,499) is going to be an object of lust for graphic designers, other creative professionals, and regular folk alike. This behemoth interactive monitor combines a 16:10 ratio, 1920x1200-pixel HD screen with the company’s pen technology, and is capable of detecting 2048 levels of pen pressure. You can write directly on the screen to interact with drawing and painting apps. Drooling yet?

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