2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

Free
Apps

Arne Martin Aurlien Safari Keyword Search

Apple’s new version 5.1 of Safari killed support for WebKit Plugins, so now Extensions are the path forward. One that we’re really digging right now is Safari Keyword Search (Free) from Norwegian developer Arne Martin Aurlien. It’s a simple tool based off Keywurl that allows you to use the address bar as the search input for any site you want. If you’re looking for YouTube videos of cats, you can just type “y cats” and you’ll be right there.

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$10
Apps

Gameloft Starfront: Collision

After years of labor to help Macs feel like viable gaming machines, the combination of awesome hardware and the Mac App Store is finally making it happen. Take Gameloft’s Starfront: Collision ($10)—a game that, yes, is incredibly similar to Blizzard’s Starcraft series of realtime strategy (RTS) games. But it’s half the price of the classic title on which it’s based, and we really liked the iOS version when it was released earlier in the year.

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$10
Apps

Gaijin Games Bit.Trip Runner

If you like trippy independent games, drop what you’re doing and download Gaijin Games’ Bit.Trip Runner ($10) from the Mac App Store. The fourth game in the Bit.Trip series, Runner is a rhythm-platformer that has you running across the moon and fighting moon-slugs. Yeah, like we said, trippy.

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$29
Apps

Oomph Sidekick

Like Big Brother, your Mac always knows where you are. You might as well make the most of it. That’s just what Oomph’s Sidekick ($29) helps you do. It automatically updates the settings on your notebook based on where you are. Different actions will run automatically when you’re home, at the coffee shop, in the office, or wherever else you take your Mac.

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Free
Apps

FreeMacSoft AppCleaner

We Mac users have it easy. Uninstalling an application is a piece of cake; just drop it in the trash and it’s gone. But some software titles leave small plist and other files behind. That’s where AppCleaner (Free) from FreeMacSoft comes in. The app does one thing, and it does it well. Now it’s been rewritten from the ground up and is Lion compatible.

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Free-$300
Apps

Nuance Dragon Dictate

It’s good to see a company continue to innovate, even when it’s the only game in town. There’s no real competition to Nuance’s Dragon Dictate when it comes to voice recognition, yet it keeps getting better. Just released, version 2.5 (Free-$300) is the latest step. It adds a slew of new features that are worth getting excited about. Existing 2.0 users get a free upgrade, while a digital download is $180, a boxed version is $200, and a copy with a wireless mic included is $300—although you probably won’t need that last one.

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$50
Apps

Bare Bones Software BBEdit 10

Whether you’re a hardcore HTML coder, a dedicated programmer, or simply looking for the best text editor around, you’re going to want a copy of BBEdit 10 ($50). The latest version of the de facto standard for text editing on Mac OS adds in a ton of new groovy features while dropping the cost of entry in half, thanks to the Mac App Store and its lack of a license migration feature—hence why the App Store is still showing v9.6.3, as v10 will be a free upgrade once it drops.

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$30-$50
Apps

Apple OS X Lion

The day has come! First shown back in October, Apple has finally launched Mac OS X Lion ($30), and brought with it a lot of goodies from iOS. It contains over 250 new features including multitouch gestures, full screen applications, Mission Control, new features for the Mac App Store, Launchpad, resume, Auto Save, Versions, AirDrop, and a new Mail.app. Time to start clearing out a few gigs on your hard drive—four, to be exact—for this one. But there are also a couple of surprises—it’s no longer “Mac OS X,” and Lion Server is a separate $50 download. Read on for more on what’s new.

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$200
Apps

The Omni Group OmniPlan

It would be nice to just sit down at a desk, start every project, and finish it efficiently. But let’s face facts: without structure, big projects—and even some small tasks—aren’t going to make steady progress. Ideally, you’ll have something to keep your projects on track. That’s where OmniPlan ($200) from The Omni Group comes in. Just updated to version 2.0, it’s the last project management app you’ll need.

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$15
Apps

LittleFin Chronicle

Tired of begging your debtors to waive the late fee “just this one time” because you forgot your bills were due? If you need a gentle nudge each month, it’s probably worth investing in Chronicle ($15) from LittleFin. This Mac App Store title is a really easy way to keep track of all the money you owe, and it costs less than a typical overdraft fee.

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$15
Apps

Hothead Games DeathSpank

The deliberately off-kilter title almost speaks for itself here: Hothead Games’ DeathSpank ($15) is a hilarious hack-and-slash RPG now available in the Mac App Store. You control the title character on his quest to find The Artifact, collecting weapons and items along the way. Play alone or enjoy a local cooperative mode if you have an additional controller. And you’ll probably want to share this experience with a friend.

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$20
Apps

DaisyDisk DaisyDisk

Let’s face it: it’s ridiculously easy to fill your hard drive with junk, and picking through it all is tough—who wants to sift through files and folders? That’s where DaisyDisk ($20) from the eponymous company comes in. It gives you a visual representation of all of the drives attached to your Mac, making it easy to perform a quick clean up of their contents.

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$2
Apps

Bloop Fresh Feed Pro

One-click access to a list of content from your favorite web sites? That’s the promise—largely fulfilled—of Bloop’s Fresh Feed Pro ($2). As a lightweight RSS newsreader application, Fresh Feed Pro lives at the top of your screen near the clock, giving you a quick list of new article titles, introductions, and even photos to click on. Hit a “More” button and a second window pops up with additional details and a web page link. While it’s not perfect, the app provides a very clean RSS feed, and it works with Google Reader, too.

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$28
Apps

Shirt Pocket SuperDuper!

In an ideal world, upgrading to Apple’s upcoming OS X Lion (this coming week) would be as simple as following the company’s three-step guide: “Make sure your Mac can run Lion,” “Make sure you have the latest version of Snow Leopard,” and “Download OS X Lion from the Mac App Store.” But having gone through our fair share of Mac OS upgrades—and the occasional hard drive failure—we know that Apple’s missing a step: create an emergency backup of your Mac’s hard drive. Some people rely entirely upon Apple’s Time Machine. Others, including two of our editors, swear by Shirt Pocket’s SuperDuper! ($28). It clones your hard disk, letting you resurrect a machine if OS X apps start acting wonky or the disk fails. And based on some of the issues we’ve experienced with major new OS X releases, it’s better to be safe than sorry by doing a full backup before Lion arrives.

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$25
Apps

Rogue Amoeba Airfoil 4.5

If you’ve ever tried to send audio from your Mac to other rooms in your house, you’ve probably run into a challenge—unless you’ve set up Apple TVs or AirPort Expresses everywhere, it’s tough, and even with those devices, you’re limited to streaming from iTunes. That’s unless you’re running Rogue Amoeba’s Airfoil ($25), which was just updated to version 4.5: this app is the perfect way to send audio to all of the Macs (or PCs) on your network, and not just from iTunes. It streams from any audio source on your machine, a trick that you can’t easily pull off otherwise.

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