$80
Apps

Ambient Design ArtRage Studio Pro

Back in ye olden days o’ Macintosh, artists could play with Apple’s MacPaint, a basic piece of software that created basic black and white drawings. When you see Ambient Design’s ArtRage Studio Pro ($80) for the Mac, you’ll be amazed at how far art programs have come since then—from metallic oils to realistic watercolors and airbrushes, ArtRage Studio Pro goes so far beyond even the tools in Photoshop and Illustrator that you can actually create digital paintings that look like physical ones. There are less expensive $20 and $40 versions, as well as an iPad edition, but Pro is loaded with extra tools and layer features that serious artists will want to have at their disposal.

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$10
Apps

Silvio Rizzi Reeder for Mac

We’ve been using Reeder as our go-to RSS feed reader on the iPad for quite some time now, and have been patiently waiting for its elegant interface to officially arrive on the Mac App Store. After trying out the latest public beta release, however, there’s no more reason to wait. Silvio Rizzi Reeder for Mac (Free) is a reliable, full-featured RSS reader right now, despite its “Draft” status.

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$30
Apps

Ohanaware HDRtist Pro

HDR—high dynamic range—compositing is making big waves in the photography world right now, as strategic manipulation of the high and low color data from photos can result in some really cool effects. One way to achieve HDR effects is by combining underexposed and overexposed versions of a photo with a standard one, a trick Apple used in the Camera app of iOS 4 for iPhone 4s. The other option is to work with the data that’s in just one photo. Luckily, the new Mac app HDRtist Pro ($30) from Ohanaware lets you do both.

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Free
Apps

6 Wunderkinder Wunderlist

There’s already one ring to rule them all. How about one to-do manager? That’s the idea behind Wunderlist (Free) from 6 Wunderkinder. It’s a Mac App Store Download that allows you to organize your life, and it syncs across all of your devices—PC, iPhone, iPad, Android, and the web. Yes, you read that right: all those platforms and it’s free.

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$30
Apps

Feral Interactive LEGO Star Wars Saga

LEGO. Star Wars. On your Mac. That’s right, the bafflingly awesome LEGO Star Wars Saga ($30) is now available in the Mac App Store. It combines LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, so you get to play through all six of the theatrical Star Wars releases—and blow up Jar Jar as much as you see fit—all with beautifully updated cartoony graphics.

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$3
Apps

Gameprom War Pinball HD

Pinball machines may have disappeared along with arcades, but they’re still awesome. And since it’s unlikely that you’ll have an actual machine in your house, Gameprom’s digital versions are as close to the shiny steel balls and flashing lights as you’re going to get. We liked the company’s standard Pinball HD for Mac, so it was cool to see the previously iOS-exclusive title War Pinball HD ($3) make the migration to the desktop, too. That’s right: Charlie Sheen and Chuck Norris are together in one pinball game.

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$50
Apps

Strata Design 3D SE

Looking to get into 3D, but don’t feel ready to spend the money on—or the time required to learn—a program like Maya? Strata Design 3D SE ($50) is a good option. With Mac OS roots that go back farther than most users care to remember, it offers up pro-quality results without the bloat of a more serious, pro-only app.

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$20
Apps

Acrylic Software Pulp

Ever used Acrylic Software’s Times reader app? Well, the name’s changed—now it’s called Pulp ($20). There’s no shortage of newsreaders these days, but Pulp is definitely one of the prettiest and has a bunch of killer features, particularly standing out on the Mac. Think of it like a totally customizable newspaper that actually looks like a newspaper.

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Free
Apps

Apple Security Update 2011-003

Do yourself a favor. Go up that  in the top left corner of your screen. Click Software Update. Install Security Update 2011-003 (Free). You’ll thank us. All done? Alright, let’s talk about it. This Security Update has one purpose: to get rid of the Mac Defender malware.

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$2
Apps

Cobra Mobile Storm in a Teacup

Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and Paper Mario demonstrated that cartoony games can actually be pretty compelling. Cobra Mobile’s Storm in a Teacup ($2) got the memo. It may be cutesy, but it’s a solid little platformer that will appeal to casual “I’ve got five minutes to kill” gamers and harder-core players alike.

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$13
Apps

Gameloft Modern Combat: Domination

As the number one game publisher for iOS devices, Gameloft knows a few things about making retina-blasting games on small displays… and now it’s ready to conquer huge monitors, too. Modern Combat: Domination ($13) is the Mac version of Gameloft’s signature first-person shooter series, now focused solely on squad-based deathmatch-style missions rather than a traditional single-player campaign. If you’re familiar with the iPhone Modern Combat titles, you’ll be blown away by Domination’s use of the high-resolution, effects-laden graphics cards inside new Macs, which let the company produce wind, smoke, and explosion effects that put the earlier games to shame—say nothing of all the detailed, realistic characters who appear on screen here at once.

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$10
Apps

Flavio Tordini Minitube

It feels great to hit the Genius button in iTunes and get a perfect playlist. Now imagine if you could do the same thing with YouTube videos—start on one cute cat video and wind up with an endless stream of paws and whiskers just waiting to eat your day away. That’s exactly what you’ll get with Minitube ($10) from developer Flavio Tordini. It’s a desktop YouTube viewer that offers a totally new way to watch Google’s time-sucking video vault.

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Amazon Mac Download Store

It may be a little early for the Mac App Store to start shaking in its boots, but Amazon has launched its own competing service, the Mac Download Store. Split into software and game sections, the browser-based store is starting with around 250 titles, and Amazon’s offering a couple of specials: $5 off of your first paid download through June 1, and a completely free copy of Airport Mania: First Flight.

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$10
Apps

Sparrow Sparrow

Sure, Apple’s free Mail app for Macs is quite good, but its starch-white look is getting kind of old. Sparrow ($10) takes all of Mail’s best features and combines them with Twitter’s and Reeder’s Mac aesthetics. The result? A minimalist email client that lets you get in and out of your messages in a flash, with support for the most popular providers including Gmail, Mobile Me, Yahoo, and AOL.

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$50/year
Apps

Backblaze Online Backup

Everyone knows Mac backups are important, but having redundant “just in case” duplicates can be a challenge. Backblaze simplifies the process with its online backup tool ($50/year). It automatically backs up all of your data in the background, including the stuff that’s on connected drives. If you ever need to restore data, just click a button on the company’s secure website, or order it on a DVD or hard drive. On top of the backup, Backblaze has just added a Locate My Computer option—think MobileMe’s Find My iPhone for your Mac.

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