2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$3/month and up

Cirrus Thinking Dolly Drive

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: backing up your Macs is a must. As seldom as Macs crash, a loss can be catastrophic when it happens. Thankfully, users have tons of backup options. iLounge + Mac has already featured plenty of external hard drives that utilize Time Machine, as well as online backup services such as Backblaze. Cirrus Thinking’s Dolly Drive is a combination of the two alternatives: it lets you use Time Machine, but backs up to the cloud rather than a hard drive at your place. And it starts at only $3 a month. Read More


iBrewMaster, Inc. iBrewMaster

Home brewing is a fun hobby, relying on science and creativity to produce a popular product: beer! If you’ve never tried using a home brewing kit, you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish using one along with iBrewMaster, Inc.‘s iBrewMaster ($20*) from the Mac App Store. This app truly has everything you need to manage the brewing process from beginning to end, educating you on how to tweak the steps to change the flavor of your beer. Read More


Algoriddim Djay 4

One of the coolest apps to show off your Mac is Algoriddim’s Djay, which turns even the most music-illiterate schlubs into amateur DJs within a matter of minutes—it’s an absolute blast to use. Today, the developer has released the newest iteration of the software, Djay 4 ($20). Because this is a brand new version, there’s no upgrade path, but given the app’s capabilities, 20 bucks strikes us as a fair price. It’s a complete redesign and rewrite of the stellar title, with plenty of new features to make it even better than before. Read More


The Mental Faculty Mental Case

Technology was supposed to improve education. Years ago, students took notes with pen and paper; these days, laptops are as likely being used for Facebook as for studying. A recently updated app called Mental Case ($15/$30) has a chance to change how students study with their computers, by reinventing the concept of flashcards. Instead of simple text notes and scribbled images on paper cards, The Mental Faculty’s app lets you create digital cards with images and videos—a multimedia experience, complete with structured study schedules. Read More


MumboJumbo 7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour HD

MumboJumbo’s games tend to have a few things in common: addictive gameplay, beautiful graphics, and nice soundtracks. So we jumped right on top of 7 Wonders: Magical Mystery Tour HD ($5) when it showed up in the Mac App Store this week, and came away impressed—this match-three puzzle title has the added depth and frills we’ve come to expect from the company, including both a rune-matching main game and construction-themed mini-games to break up the action. Read More


Nuance Dragon Express

If you’ve been using Siri on your iPhone 4S over the past month, you’re probably starting to get used to having a personal assistant within easy reach. Voice control may be built into that phone, but the software’s not cheap. The big voice recognition developer is Nuance, whose technology powers many other voice control apps. Nuance’s own Dragon Dictate application starts at $180, but thankfully, the company has introduced a new title that offers a lot of the same benefits at a much lower price: Dragon Express ($50*). Read More


Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 Editor

A few weeks ago, we featured the newest version of Pixelmator as a great alternative to Adobe’s expensive Photoshop software. We like that it’s much more affordable, yet still has many of the features home users find important. Well, Adobe has debuted its own low-end option: Photoshop Elements 10 Editor ($80) has just become available in the Mac App Store, two months after the boxed version came out. It has almost all of the same features, with the exception of the Elements Organizer and support for Case Sensitive HFS Volumes. It’s also $20 less expensive than before. Read More


David Johnson SpotRemote for Spotify

We’ve enjoyed using Spotify on the Macs since it launched—the ability to listen to virtually anything has introduced us to all kinds of new music. The only downside apart from the annoyingly cheesy ads is the lack of a mini player. Apple’s had one for years in iTunes, but the folks at Spotify haven’t seemed to figure it out yet. Luckily, third party developers such as David Johnson have arrived to fill the gap, so we have SpotRemote for Spotify ($2). Read More


Feral Interactive Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum ($40) isn’t brand new; it’s been available for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PCs since 2009. But even by today’s standards, the game is so impressive that it’s definitely worth spotlighting its release for the Mac, courtesy of Feral Interactive and the Mac App Store. If you’ve never played it, Arkham Asylum is stunning, packed with a rich story, beautiful graphics, an awesome combat system, and plenty of fan service—a great game for comic enthusiasts and general video game lovers alike.  Read More


Austin Blackwood VirtuaScore Basketball

One of the coolest aspects of the app culture Apple has created is how many single-use, physical objects can be replaced by relatively inexpensive apps on multifunction devices. We’ve seen this time and time again with the iPhone and iPad, and the latest example for the Mac is developer Austin Blackwood’s VirtualScore Basketball ($5*). It turns your computer into a customizable basketball scoreboard, complete with a classic design, quick controls, and video output for monitors or projectors. Read More


Krystian Majewski Trauma

Trauma ($6) by German developer Krystian Majewski is surely one of the most different games we’ve ever played. Not different in a bad way, and not different in a “gee, there are some weird characters and levels” way. Different in that the gameplay mechanics, plot, level layout—everything, really—are unlike anything we’ve seen in a game before. And the result is a really cool experience, now available in the Mac App Store. Read More


Retickr LLC Retickr

Some people get their news by visiting sites multiple times throughout the day. Others use RSS readers to stay up to date. With its eponymous app, Retickr (Free) presents a third option: it’s a scrolling ticker that runs across your Mac’s screen with the stories that you care about. It integrates RSS feeds as well as your Facebook and Twitter accounts to show you the posts and articles that you want to see, either with preset playlists or ones that you create yourself. Click on any story, and you get a full view of it instantly. Read More

$60, $149-$199

MCE Technologies Blu-ray Player

Blu-ray Disc playback has long been a white whale for Mac owners, and if the Mac mini and MacBook Air are any indication, the chances of seeing any optical drive incorporated into future Apple machines is getting slimmer and slimmer. The drives that you can currently hook up to your Mac only allow you to author; you can’t even watch Blu-ray movies without dual-booting into Windows. Or at least that’s the way it was up until now. MCE Technologies has finally found a solution to the problem, and is now offering its Blu-ray Player software as a free add-on with its internal drive for the Mac Pro ($149) and external USB 2.0 and eSATA drive ($199). If you want to buy the software on its own, it’ll cost you $60. Read More

$99 Upgrade/$199

Alien Skin Software Blow Up 3

Shrinking a photo is easy, but making it bigger is challenging. Stretching just resizes the pixels you have, so the result is blurry, pixelated images that don’t look too great. Alien Skin Software has been making Photoshop plugins for almost 20 years, and its Blow Up 3 ($99 Upgrade/$199) is a direct solution to this issue. It works with Photoshop CS4 or newer, Elements 8+, and now Lightroom 2+ as well. Read More


Maha::Software PandaBar

In recent months, music services such as Pandora have become essential parts of our working and relaxing time. One big problem with some services is that there’s no convenient way to control them as easily as iTunes offers with the Mini Player. That’s where Maha::Software’s PandaBar ($5) comes in. This Mac app gives you a variety of quick controls for your Pandora stations, including an easy-access Menu Bar tool. Read More

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