2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

Free
Apps

Autodesk Motion FX

Ever since it decided to take the Mac seriously as a platform, Autodesk has been on a real tear, releasing all sorts of apps—everything from the $900 AutoCAD LT to SketchBook Express, a free drawing app. The company’s newest release is a bit different from everything else it has out now, though: Motion FX (Free) uses your FaceTime camera to create some really cool realtime video effects. Think of it as a pumped up version of Photo Booth, at no charge.

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$20
Apps

Fishlabs Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD

It may be one of the more expensive Mac App Store games we’ve featured, but Fishlabs’ Galaxy on Fire 2 Full HD ($20) is also one of the most gorgeous. As an upgraded port of the iOS title, the German developer took advantage of the more powerful Mac platform and really refined the experience. Don’t worry: you still get to blow plenty of stuff up in space, but now everything’s a lot prettier.

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Free
Apps

Evernote Skitch

We almost recommended Skitch last week, but as interesting as the screen capturing app was, the $20 price tag was a pretty big turnoff. What a difference a week can make: the company just got purchased by Evernote, and the price dropped by a full 100%. Now that it’s free, there’s absolutely no reason not to hop on the Mac App Store and pick it up right now. It’s a pretty darn powerful screenshot tool—way more beefy than shift-command-3 or -4.

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$5
Apps

Bloop Life Stream

Bloop’s new app Life Stream ($5) isn’t going to stop you from wasting time on social networking sites; heck, it’ll probably drag you in deeper. But it’s at least going to reduce the amount of time you have to spend switching between different web pages and apps. Designed as a browser-free experience, it brings your online life together into a single window: Tweets and Likes and Check-Ins, all living together—what a wonderful world.

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$7
Apps

Two Tribes/Mobigame Edge

We really got a kick out of the iPhone and iPad versions of Edge ($7), so we were excited to hear that Two Tribes was porting Mobigame’s now-classic cubic platform game to the Mac. Luckily, it lives up to our high expectations: from the same cool artwork to the chiptune soundtrack, it’s everything we liked, only bigger on the Mac’s screens.

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Free
Apps

Kayak Explore

If you’re trying to plan a trip without knowing where you actually want to go, or what you want to do, Kayak’s new Mac application Explore (Free) will help you set your agenda in a really cool way. You can think of Explore as the modern day equivalent of throwing darts at a map—a cool interface that we really like.

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$69 + Free
Apps

Apple Apple OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive + Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

OS X Lion has been available for just under a month—just enough time for Apple to release its promised OS X Lion USB Thumb Drive ($69), a solution for users who can’t or won’t buy Lion from the Mac App Store. It’s the full OS on a physical drive, and it costs more than twice as much.

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$7
Apps

Gameloft Tank Battles

Atari created the overhead tank shooter genre with its classic VCS/2600 pack-in game Combat. Now Gameloft has brought the game into the modern era with Tank Battles ($7), a Mac App Store download that’s far better in motion than screenshots would suggest. You take control of a yellow, green, blue, or red tank, steer it with one hand and move a targeting reticule with another, firing off shots in a series of four-player deathmatches in 50 city, country, and military settings. Power-ups fill the screen with explosions until one tank emerges as the leader of the pack.

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Free
Apps

Andreas Ganske Launchpad-Control

We want to like Lion’s new Launchpad, we really do. But the fact that every single app on your Mac shows up there—with no way to remove most of them—takes away from the experience. After all, how often is the average person going to use ColorSync Utility? Thankfully, German developer Andreas Ganske has released Launchpad-Control (Free) as a solution to that problem. Hopefully Apple will take the hint and add a similar feature in an OS X update.

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Free
Apps

How-To: Remove, Limit, Or Fix Adobe Flash On Your Mac

People freaked out when Apple flatly refused to let the iPhone and iPod touch support Adobe’s Flash plug-in, forcing the companies into a messy public battle over Flash’s power consumption and stability. Four years later, it’s long past obvious that Apple was right, particularly since Flash is now wreaking havoc on Macs with OS X Lion installed. Here are some quick tips for removing, limiting, or sandboxing Adobe Flash so that your Mac doesn’t lock up or lose half of its battery life. We’d recommend that you dump Flash altogether, but if you can’t do that, we have some tips to (try to) fix it, as well.

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Free
Apps

Freshcode Bodega

As great as it may be, the Mac App Store isn’t the only or even the original digital storefront for Apple’s computers. Back in 2009, Freshcode released Bodega (Free), and it’s still going strong today. Just like Cupertino’s version, you can browse through free and paid apps, and buy them right through the store. Bodega also has some features that Apple doesn’t offer, including the ability to update tons of apps that aren’t in the App Store.

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Free*
Apps

Illusion Labs Touchgrind

The iPhone version came out all the way back in the beginning of 2009, making its way into early iPod gaming TV commercials. Now Illusion Labs has brought Touchgrind (Free) to the Mac through the Mac App Store. If you’re familiar with the original, then you know what this one is all about: use your fingers to control a skateboard and pull off awesome tricks around the park. Except… you’re no longer touching the screen.

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Free*
Apps

Fiplab Tab for Google+

With 10 million users signing up during its first two weeks—and close to double that now—Google+ is shaping up to be a real competitor in the social networking world. If you’re one of the circle-loving service’s account holders, you’ll probably like what British developer Fiplab has done with Tab for Google+ (Free*). This Mac App Store title sits in your menu bar, giving you quick access to everything Google+.

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$10
Apps

Namco Bandai Games Time Crisis 2nd Strike

Stop and think for a second: just how many quarters have you dropped into Time Crisis arcade games over the years? If you’re anything like us, the figure is probably much higher than you’d like to admit. But right now, a single roll of those quarters is enough to let you play a new Time Crisis game as much as you want. After separate appearances on iOS devices, Namco Bandai Games has brought Time Crisis 2nd Strike ($10) to the Mac App Store—somewhat impressively, with a new GunCon control option.

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Free
Apps

Guillaume Gete Lion Disk Maker

One of the downsides of OS X Lion is the absence of a reinstallation DVD. Gone are the days of your Mac coming with a couple of discs or a tiny flash drive loaded up with the OS and iLife apps—if you need to do a reinstall of the operating system, your computer will boot from a partition it created when you installed Lion and then redownload Lion—all 3.49GB of it. Having a bootable local copy of Lion makes this process a whole lot faster, and now there’s a simple way to make one: Lion DiskMaker (Free) from French developer Guillaume Gete.

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