2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$70-$80
Cases

G-Form Extreme Sleeve for Laptops

Sure, some people just need to keep their MacBooks safe from dings and scratches. But others put computers through hell and expect them to keep opening spreadsheets without complaint. If you fall into the latter category, you’ll want to check out the Extreme Laptop Sleeve from G-Form ($70-$80), now available for 11-, 13-, and 15-inch laptops, including MacBooks. G-Form has claimed that the smaller iPad version can survive having a bowling ball dropped on it and being thrown from an airplane, so you can expect the same resilience from this model. Updated! We’ve added new pictures and details for the both the black and yellow versions!

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$999-$1,999
Peripherals

Promise Pegasus R4 + R6 RAID Storage Systems

Now that you can finally get your hands on Apple’s Thunderbolt Cables and Thunderbolt-ready Macs, you might just want to try some of the high-speed accessories that work with them. Pros and semi-pros out there can start snacking on this: the new Pegasus R4 and R6 RAID Storage Systems ($999-$1,999) from Promise. Don’t forget to snag one of those $49 Apple cables at the same time—it’s not included.

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Apple Thunderbolt Cable

Four months have passed since Intel introduced Thunderbolt high-speed interconnect technology, and today, Apple finally released the first Thunderbolt Cable ($49) to take advantage of it. We knew Thunderbolt devices were going to start popping up in stores soon, and the fact that this cable’s now hitting the shelves is a sign of what’s to come. The six-foot (two-meter), male-to-male cord is the first real accessory of any kind to support the 10Gbit/s transfer medium. So just what do you get for plopping down nearly fifty bucks on a cable?

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$105-$160
Peripherals

LaCie Porsche Design USB 3.0 Hard Drives

For most of us, external hard drives—whether they be desktop or mobile—have become a necessary evil of modern computing. But they need not be something you want to hide behind your monitor, in a drawer, or inside an old shoe box. These new LaCie Porsche Design USB 3.0 Hard Drives ($105-$160) feature stylish enclosures that you’ll be proud to display on your desk.

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$60
Cases

iLuv iCC1203 Protective Flexi-Frame for MacBook Pro

Most developers are so focused right now on slimming down their MacBook-protecting shells that they’ve stopped trying to use two different colors at the same time. iLuv’s new iCC1203 ($60) takes a different approach—it isn’t trying to be the thinnest option on the block. Instead, it tastefully combines frosted clear hard plastic cores with soft rubber edging in your choice of four different colors, letting part of the 13” or 15” MacBook Pro shine through while accenting the rest.

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$20-$60
Peripherals

Mimoco Mimobot Designer USB Flash Drives

Search through your desk right now and you might well discover an abandoned flash drive or three—they’re easy to forget about. But what if you had a reason to care about one of them? That’s where Mimoco’s Mimobot Designer USB Flash Drives ($20-$60) come in. Available in hundreds of different character versions, they’re meant to be special and collectible. Think Kidrobot’s vinyl toys, just with a techie and more useful twist.

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Free
Apps

Apple Mac OS X 10.6.8 Update

It’s hard to believe it’s already that time again, but it’s true: Mac OS 10.6.8 is here. With Lion launching next month, this is going to be the last iteration of Snow Leopard; enjoy the snowy guy while it lasts.

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$10
Apps

Gameloft N.O.V.A. 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

Remember when Bungie unceremoniously walked away from the Mac platform, taking its soon-to-be-blockbuster first-person shooter Halo to Microsoft’s nascent Xbox platform? Well, you still can’t play Halo’s sequels on a Mac, but Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance ($10)—the iOS alternative to Halo 2—is arriving in the Mac App Store today, complete with high-resolution graphics, a 13-mission single-player campaign, and a 10-player online multiplayer mode. You take control of Kal Wardin, a Master Chief-alike protagonist who makes his way through sci-fi military base, space station, desert and jungle levels, armed with futuristic guns, vehicles, and even a giant mech.

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Cropmark LMP Bluetooth Keypad

Sure, not everybody needs it, but for those who do the lack of a number pad on Apple’s Wireless Keyboard can be a killer. Well spreadsheet jockeys rejoice, there’s an option now. Cropmark’s LMP Bluetooth Keypad ($39) is just what you need—it’ll get you tearing through those cells in no time.

 

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$200
Fall
Speakers

Audyssey Lower East Side Media Speakers

Designed and named after the New York City neighborhood known for its music culture, Audyssey’s new Lower East Side Media Speakers ($200) are pretty cool. Sure they have the same form factor as a lot of computer speakers—albeit with a more attractive design than many—but they also pack in some interesting features you may not have seen in the past. On top of promising great sound, the company is offering options to make them usable with more than just your computer.

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$299-$499
Peripherals

Apple Time Capsule (Mid 2011)

Oh so stealthily this morning, Apple bumped the storage capacity on its router and hard drive combo Time Capsule ($299-$499). Now you have the option of 2 or 3TB for the same prices as before; either model should be enough to wireless back up two or three of your home computers. Previously rumored features, such as an A4 or A5 processor inside for dramatically improved functionality, either didn’t make the cut this time or haven’t been promoted in any way by Apple.

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$50-$300
Apps

Apple Final Cut Pro X, Compressor 4 + Motion 5

It’s the day video editors have been waiting for since Apple made Final Cut Pro X ($300) official at a special NAB Users Group event in April: the completely rebuilt 64-bit editing package has just hit the Mac App Store. And surprise: the company also released brand new Motion 5 ($50) and Compressor 4 ($50) updates as companions. Details are after the break.

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$5
Apps

Fox Digital Entertainment Predators

Putting aside the Alien vs. Predator movies, the techno-vicious Predators have always been pretty awesome, especially as a counterbalance to the purely animalistic Aliens. Luckily Robert Rodriguez didn’t blemish the Predators’ reputation with his 2010 take on the franchise. So now, they’re starring in the Mac App Store game Predators ($5) from Fox Digital Entertainment.

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$699 and Up
Macs

Apple Mac mini + Mac Pro (Mid-2011) Expectations

If you were thinking of buying a Mac mini ($699 and up) or Mac Pro ($2499 and up), now would probably be a good time to wait. Following the successful transitions of the MacBook Pro and iMac to Intel’s latest lineup of Sandy Bridge processors—and the impending similar update of the MacBook Air—Apple plans to refresh its other desktop machines with new processors and ports over the next couple of months. As of this week, Cnet is claiming the new machines are coming in late July or early August. Read on for the details of what’s expected to change.

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CEA CE Week

You probably know that January’s Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s largest consumer technology trade show. But did you know that a summer version is starting up again in New York City? Today marks the start of CE Week, a week-long collection of events at which many of 2011’s hottest technologies will be debuted. And our team of editors will be covering CE Week live. Here’s some of what you can expect inside.

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