2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$2
Apps

The Growl Project Growl

The Growl Project’s Growl ($2) has long been worth installing early on almost any new power user’s Mac. Now, the notification tool has been updated to version 1.3, and there are some significant differences. First, it’s only available from the Mac App Store. And instead of being free, it now costs a couple of bucks. But there have been updates to the features, too, so you’ll probably want to shell out the couple of bucks for it. Read More

Free
Apps

Hexage Robotek

We almost passed by this little gem in the Mac App Store, but we’re happy we stopped to check it out. Hexage’s Robotek (Free) is a really neat game that combines elements of RPG, strategy, and pure luck. Set in a distopian future overrun by robots, it’s your job to fight through the bad guys one city at a time to take the world back. In-app purchases ranging from $1 to $3 make the game a bit easier, but they’re not necessary to complete it. Read More

$40
Apps

EA Sports FIFA Soccer 12

If you’re a soccer fan, you’ve probably lamented the lack of great soccer games for your Mac. (You might also call it football, but that’s a topic for another day.) EA Sports has addressed the first of these issues by finally bringing its famous soccer series to the Mac with FIFA Soccer 12 ($40). The spectacular 3-D title is available only as a digital download through distributor GameTree Mac—no Mac App Store support for this title—and is out now. Read More

$9
Apps

Global Delight Technologies Boom

The volume of music and videos on your computer is determined by two main factors: the file itself, and the speakers on your Mac. Sometimes, one or both of them won’t live up to your expectations, delivering lower audio levels than you’d like—a particular problem for MacBook Air users. While you could plug a set of external speakers into your computer, Global Delight Technologies has created a software solution called Boom ($9) that’ll save you a few bucks and the hassle of having to lug speakers around. It intelligently maximizes the volume levels of your audio and video files to match the peak output capabilities of your machine, creating noticeably louder sound without dramatically compromising the quality. Read More

$4*
Apps

Plant Based Worml

Strictly speaking, the functionality offered by Plant Based’s Worml ($4*) isn’t unique to this new Mac App Store release, but this developer has pulled off peer-to-peer file transfers in a cool and easy way. Worml creates ultra-simple file-sharing connections between two machines in a manner that’s actually pretty similar to Lion’s native AirDrop feature, except with some real advantages: you don’t need to be on the same network as the person you’re sharing a file with, and soon there’ll be support for Snow Leopard too. Read More

$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. Read More

$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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

$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.  Read More

$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.  Read More

$1
Apps

Celmaro Plug Spy

We’ve talked about ways to protect your Mac from theft before—Griffin’s TechSafe Cable Lock System was a noteworthy hardware solution. Unfortunately, even that well-designed accessory doesn’t have universal compatibility across Apple’s notebook line—it doesn’t work with the MacBook Air—and a locking system can be a pain to actually set up. Fortunately, Celmaro has come up with a software solution that really does work with any Apple laptop running Lion: Plug Spy ($1). This ingenious little app integrates right into the screensaver and password system of your computer, transforming your power supply into a theft alarm. Read More

$20
Apps

IOSPIRIT Remote Buddy Express

Although it may not be quite as ubiquitous as it was a few years ago, the Apple Remote is still a handy little device for Mac users—even though Lion has nixed the media management app Front Row. Thankfully, German developer IOSPIRIT is looking to increase the value of your plastic or aluminum accessory with Remote Buddy Express ($20). Read More

$40
Apps

Feral Interactive Colin McRae: DiRT 2

Originally released two years ago for pretty much every other platform save the Mac, Feral Interactive’s Colin McRae: DiRT 2 ($40) has finally found its way on to Apple computers through the Mac App Store. This off-road racing title is another nail in the coffin for the “Macs don’t play games” argument: with beautiful graphics and plenty of tracks, racing fans are going to be pretty happy with this one. Read More

$40
Apps

AgileBits 1Password

Whether or not it’s obvious, you almost certainly have a huge number of logins, passwords, and usernames for various web sites—as well as credit cards, drivers licenses, passports, and other information that you sometimes would like to access on your computer. Our favorite way to manage them all is 1Password from AgileBits, which has recently received two major updates: first, AgileBits added support for OS X Lion and Safari 5.1, and then it released a new version for the Mac App Store. 1Password gives you the luxury of security without the need to actually remember everything on your own. Updated: We’ve added some screenshots and new information about the Mac App Store release of 1Password; check it out after the break! Read More

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