2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$80
Mounts

Twelve South BookArc möd for MacBook

After multiple iterations over the past four and a half years, Twelve South has just introduced the biggest update to its BookArc lineup yet: wood. BookArc möd for MacBook ($80) takes the tried and true design and renders it out in one of three natural wood finishes. Twelve South, much like Apple, is all about evolution when it is successful in a product category. While a new material may not seem like a big deal, it’s a clear departure from the aluminum we’re used to seeing.

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$110
Cases

Hex Convertible Laptop Briefcase

Everyone has his or her favorite style of laptop bag. Some people like satchels, others, messenger bags, or any of the other options out there. With its Convertible Laptop Briefcase ($110), Hex is offering the best of two different worlds. With next to no effort, you can switch the waxed canvas bag from a briefcase to a backpack and back again.

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$20
Apps

Aspyr Media SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition

SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition ($20) has just made its way to the Mac App Store thanks to Aspyr Media. Yes, it’s been available on other platforms for a few years now, but don’t let that fact stop you from appreciating this version of the classic city building simulator. The relatively inexpensive download gets you not only the main game, but also the Rush Hour expansion pack, offering extra transit options and more disasters.

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RetroConnector Disk II Styled USB SD Card Reader

One might think a company named RetroConnector focuses on finding ways to plug into old technologies, but it’s actually up to something a little different. On its Etsy store, the brand sells miniature accessories based on old Macs and their peripherals. Take Disk II Styled USB SD Card Reader ($50), for instance. If you ever had a floppy drive for the Apple II, this will look quite familiar.

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$500
April 2014
Peripherals

G-Technology G-Drive ev SSD

Remember G-Technology’s G-Dock ev with Thunderbolt? The hard drive docking station comes with two 1TB drives, but since they’re swappable, we had a feeling alternatives were coming. Enter G-Drive ev SSD ($500). Coming in April, this drive looks the same as those that come with the dock, but it’s what inside that makes a difference.

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$140
Cases

STM Bags Drifter Medium Laptop Backpack

We’ve never been shy about proclaiming our admiration for STM’s bags. For years, the company has been making some of the best carriers on the market, and our editors have used certain STM bags on a daily basis. Now it’s back with a brand new collection of bags called Annex, which we first previewed at the 2014 CES. There are four bags in the lineup, including Drifter Medium Laptop Backpack ($140). As far as laptop bags go, it has just about everything one could ask for. Designed for an “urban, fashion-oriented customer,” it looks quite nice and is plenty practical, too.

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$TBD
2Q 2014
Peripherals

LaCie 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2

External storage developer LaCie’s support for the Intel- and Apple-developed Thunderbolt connectivity standard was unwavering, so it’s no surprise to see the company debuting multiple early Thunderbolt 2 solutions. In addition to faster versions of its prior 2big and 5big desktop hard drive systems, LaCie has announced 8big Rack Thunderbolt 2 ($TBD)—a rack-mounted multi-drive solution with your choice of 12TB, 24TB, or 48TB of capacity. While it’s not as fancy on the outside as LaCie’s other storage solutions, the box opens to reveal eight hard drive bays that can be loaded up with 3TB or 6TB Seagate 7200RPM drives, run in tandem for high-speed video editing and storage.

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$498+
July 2014
Furniture

iSkelter SlatePro

Sure, you can put your Mac on any desk, but why not pick one that’s made for an Apple lifestyle, such as iSkelter’s SlatePro ($498+)? It’s much more than just a flat surface and four legs. This desk is specifically designed for a modern workflow, with plenty of amenities for all your gadgets.

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$100
Cases

Tech21 Impact Snap Case for MacBook

When it comes to MacBook cases, there’s not too much variety. Most cases have two hard plastic pieces — one that snaps onto the top, the other onto the bottom. They may come in different colors, but it can be hard to tell one company’s case apart from another. Tech21’s Impact Snap Case for MacBook ($100) is different. Yes, it’s more expensive than most of the competition, but that’s because it’s made to be more protective.

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$75-$80
Mounts

The Roost Stand

The big problem with most MacBook stands, as well-designed and functional as they may be, is they’re not portable. They fit perfectly on a desk or table, but not in a bag. The Roost Stand ($75-$80) from The Roost is different. Funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, it was uniquely designed to fold up, making it perfect for working on the go.

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$700
April 18, 2014
Peripherals

Samsung U28D590D 28-Inch Ultra High Definition LED Monitor

It’s not every day we’d recommend picking up a Samsung device while waiting for Apple to make its move, but there’s an exception to every rule. Samsung’s U28D590D 28-Inch Ultra High Definition LED Monitor ($700) will be available on April 18, 2014, likely before a 4K monitor makes it out of Cupertino. The price is almost certainly lower than what Apple would charge, too, making this an especially appealing option for users with Macs that support ultra-high resolution output.

 

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$300-$430

Western Digital My Passport Pro

We post a lot of hard drives on this site, but usually, it’s more of the same. External storage in a compact package, sometimes faster, sometimes cheaper. Western Digital’s My Passport Pro ($300-$430) is a truly exciting new option though, for a number of reasons. It’s a dual-drive system, with up to 4TB of storage. It’s a Thunderbolt system, too, making it one of the least expensive drives to use the technology that we’ve ever seen.

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$TBD
June 2014
Peripherals

Sonnet xMac Pro Server

It almost seems a shame to hide the beautiful, tubular body of the Mac Pro. Sonnet’s new xMac Pro Server ($TBD) is slated to ship in June, and that’s exactly what it does. It’s for a good reason, though — based on the company’s earlier xMac mini Server, this hardware turns the tower into a rack-mountable solution, adding expansion options, too.

 

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$349+
Peripherals

Drobo Drobo (Third Generation)

There are so many different external hard drives out there that do the same things. Plug them in to your Mac, and they can hold extra content, or back up your machine using Time Machine. Drobo is, and always has been different. The company has created a line of desktop storage options that use a technology it calls BeyondRAID, allowing you to easily protect your data, and expand the storage capacity as needed. Newest among them is the third generation of the flagship Drobo ($349+), with a lower price and more advanced features.

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$250
Cases

Incase EO Travel Roller Bag

Anyone who takes quick trips knows that having to carry multiple bags—luggage plus something to lug around a computer and iPad—can be a pain. That’s why we can definitely see the appeal of Incase’s EO Travel Roller Bag ($250). The same size as a traditional carry-on bag, it includes dedicated space for your Mac and more.

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