2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

Free
Apps

Autodesk Pixlr

Autodesk’s popular web- and iOS-based photo editor has now come to the desktop as Pixlr for Mac, providing most of the same fun effects and photo enhancement features that users of Pixlr Express for iOS have come to know and love. Users can apply quick fixes and effects from a pallet of hundreds of available options, including one-click fixes to balance out colours and lighting, or can dig deeper into advanced editing features such as merging images, erasing imperfections, and adding focus and effects to specific areas.

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Free
Apps

Dropbox Mailbox for Mac

When it was released for the iPhone and the iPad last year, Mailbox took the iOS world by storm with its unique and streamlined approach to e-mail management on the go. Users with overflowing inboxes striving for “Inbox Zero” nirvana came to appreciate the ability to quickly and easily file messages away or defer them for later with straightforward swipe and tap gestures. The missing piece for many power users, however, was access to the same e-mail management features from the desktop—although Mailbox tied into a standard Gmail or iCloud account, users were left to look for a web interface or other e-mail client while sitting at their desk. That’s now changed with the public beta release of Mailbox for Mac, giving users the same powerful mail management features across both the desktop and mobile platforms.

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$80
Apps

Parallels Software Parallels Desktop 10

Every year, Parallels releases a new version of its eponymous PC emulator for Macs, and with OS X Yosemite just around the corner, so is Parallels Desktop 10 ($80). Boasting Yosemite support and “cool new features of Yosemite in your Windows apps,” including Mac-style social media sharing within Windows, version 10 also promises the typical speed and performance increases—this time, 48% faster opening of Windows documents, 50% improvements in speed, and 30% better battery life than before. You now have the ability to easily optimize the Windows virtual machine for specific purposes such as productivity or gaming; improved virtual disk and 10% better memory management systems reduce the app’s footprint on your computer, as well.

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$20
Apps

Macphun Software Tonality

The forthcoming departure of the powerful image editor and manager Aperture from the OS X ecosystem has hit many photographers right in the gut. If you’re searching for an alternative and enjoy black & white photography, Macphun Software offers up Tonality ($20) for your pleasure. Tonality is a 16-bit RAW image editing application that allows users to quickly and efficiently process color RAW (or other format) images to Black & White.

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$20
Apps

Mac Attender Network Radar

Diagnosing problems with your Mac’s wireless network can be seriously challenging — average users can’t hope to master the science of examining individual devices for issues, or getting a big picture sense of how everything’s working together. Mac Attender’s Network Radar ($20) isn’t the least expensive way to help you tackle network issues, but it’s the best-designed option we’ve seen. After you choose a wireless or wired network to scan, it presents you with a list of green/yellow/red status devices, their IP addresses, vendor information, ping speeds, and last activity times. One glance lets you quickly determine what each device on your network is, as well as what might be slowing things down or failing to work at all. More detailed information, including the MAC Address, available services, and identifiers, can be found by clicking on any device that interests you.

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$30
Apps

Aspyr The Sims 2: Super Collection

Aspyr has announced the release of The Sims 2: Super Collection ($30) in the Mac App Store. A classic “life simulation” game first developed by EA’s Maxis, Sims 2 was originally released in 2004, and the Super Collection adds a ton of features that should entertain seasoned players and reel in some Sims newbies.

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Free
Apps

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Migration From Aperture Guide

Apple’s abrupt discontinuation of the photo editing and library management tool Aperture—software designed to hold hundreds of thousands of photos—left many professional users without many options, other than to convert their photo libraries to competing apps. As the chief beneficiary of Aperture’s impending demise, Adobe has released a migration guide from Aperture to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, walking through a manual export of photos from Aperture, then importation into Lightroom. An automated migration tool is currently being worked on, as well, so you can skip the guide if you’d rather wait for Adobe to release the app.

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Free
Apps

Shazam Entertainment Shazam

Shazam has been around for the iPhone since the earliest days of the App Store, and it’s one of those titles that’s really continued to get better with time. It’s not much of a surprise then, that the app has finally made it to the Mac; starting today, you can download Shazam Entertainment’s Shazam (Free) from the Mac App Store. The always-on tool lives in your Menu Bar, ready to name your tunes.

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Free
Apps

GuinpinSoft MakeMKV

There were those who were skeptical when Steve Jobs said Blu-ray was a “bag of hurt.” Many people thought the standard would one day come to Macs, despite Jobs’ early resistance. But here we are several years later, and optical disc drives are all but dead now across the Mac family; Blu-rays never were officially supported. However, if you own Blu-ray discs, you likely know there are lot of hardware and software options that allow you to read and play them. There’s also MakeMKV (Free), a tool for ripping them to your computer that works as long as you have the appropriate hardware.

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$5
Apps

Rainfrog Pocket Yoga

They say yoga is good for the mind and spirit, but there are plenty of reasons why you might not be able to make it to class. There’s the time commitment of course, and it’s definitely not a cheap hobby. With Rainfrog’s Pocket Yoga ($5) though, there are no excuses. The Mac app is plenty affordable, and it allows you to practice yoga whenever and wherever you’d like.

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$30
Apps

SuperMegaUltraGroovy Capo

In addition to having a company name that’s a lot of fun, SuperMegaUltraGroovy also has a really cool app called Capo ($30). It’s one of those things that kind of sounds like magic, but actually works. Capo takes the music in your iTunes library, analyzes it, and spits out guitar tablature. No more having to buy tab books or figure out the chords yourself; the app does it for you.

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$50+
Apps

Acronis True Image

Time Machine local backups and Backblaze offsite storage are just fine for most users. They’re easy to use, work reliably, and are inexpensive or even free. But power users are always looking for better tools. Consider Acronis’ True Image ($50+) as a potentially superior option for backups.

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$10+ per month
June 2014
Apps

Adobe Photoshop CC 2014

Although Adobe’s move to its Creative Cloud subscription model hasn’t been popular with everyone, one undeniable advantage is the ability to stay current with your favourite Adobe apps. With this month’s release of Photoshop CC 2014, Adobe pushes the bar forward with a number of cool enhancements, and makes it all available at a new, lower $10/month subscription price that also includes Lightroom and unlimited cloud-based storage to keep all of your photos in sync across your Mac and iOS devices.

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Free
Apps

Lunch Money Snappy

We know it can feel kind of silly to pull out our iPhone when sitting at the computer, but sometimes that’s the only way to use certain apps. Take Snapchat as an example, which has no web client or other way to access it from a Mac. While there may not be an official way, however, Lunch Money’s Snappy (Free) does the job.

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$30
Apps

DigiDNA DiskAid

If you’ve ever had to do a clean install on your iPhone or iPad, then you might know the pain of losing data in apps that don’t store it in the cloud—saved games, documents, and the like. With DigiDNA’s DiskAid ($30), there’s some salvation. Plug your device into your Mac and the app will scan it, pulling in all the relevant information. Then you can back it up on a per-app basis.

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