Big Blue Bubble Burn the Rope

It was hot on the iPhone, so naturally you’re going to dig Burn the Rope ($6) from Big Blue Bubble on the bigger screen of a Mac. The goal of the game is to burn away all the ropes using a flame—the catch is that the flame can only burn upwards. On the iOS version you actually rotated your iPhone or iPod touch around to keep the flame properly oriented. Rather than making you twist around your Mac, the developers were kind enough to include an on-screen hand to turn the puzzle.

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Sigg Metal Water Bottles

Drink more water. Waste fewer bottles. Look good doing it. Sounds like a plan, right? From our perspective, the best way to have it all is with a Mac-matching aluminum or stainless steel water bottle from Sigg ($15 and up, $22-$25 as shown). Ranging from a kiddie-sized 1/3 liter up to 1.5 liters per bottle and with close to 200 designs and styles, chances are high that you’ll find something you’ll like—a lot—regardless of whether it resembles or just accents your Apple gear.

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Apple MacBook Air (Mid-2011) Expectations

Last year’s release of the “late 2010 MacBook Air” hit the laptop market like a bolt of lightning. While the improved 13-incher missed the mark with us, gaining an SD card slot, nicer trackpad, and blessedly fixed hinge—but standing still in the CPU department—the tiny 11-inch version won our hearts by offering nearly as much power in a dramatically smaller shell. Two of our editors ditched MacBook Pros for 11-inch Airs and haven’t looked back; two others are ready to make the jump, too. That’s going to happen soon: less than a year later, Apple’s preparing a supposedly major refresh for a May or June 2011 launch, and it might just be worthy of an upgrade. Here’s what we’re expecting.

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Samson Meteor Mic USB Studio Microphone

Shiny, retro-inspired microphones are all the rage these days, and Samson’s Meteor Mic ($99) might well be the flashiest of the pack. Built with a fancy integrated tripod for instant positioning on a flat surface, Meteor Mic features a chrome-plated body with metal mesh grilles wrapping around the chassis. Volume and mute controls are on the front, with headphone-out and USB connectors on the back. But what’s inside counts for a lot, too: a big 25mm condenser microphone, designed to capture sound with warmth that smaller mics might miss. It’s being pitched at podcasters, but the CD-quality 16-bit/44.1 or 48kHz recording capabilities will make it attractive for other recordings, as well.

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AViiQ Portable Quick Stand

Proving that the foldable design of Apple’s Smart Cover for the iPad 2 made a splash outside of the tablet market, AViiQ has introduced the Portable Quick Stand ($40). What starts as a flat slab folds up into a triangular stand for your MacBook, bringing it up to a 12 degree angle that helps with typing. When you’re done, just fold it back up and it’s ready to travel.

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Silva Limited Custom Bamboo MacBook Case

Sometimes opposites attract - it’s the whole yin and yang thing. That’s why the Custom Bamboo MacBook Case ($180) from Silva Limited gets us so excited. Bringing together natural, handworked wood and the aluminum and plastic of your 13- or 15-inch MacBook Pro leads to balance—and results in a really handsome way to carry around your computer.

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Susan Kare Classic Mac Icon Prints

Whether you’re an old-time Mac user or just an aficionado of computing history, these Susan Kare Classic Mac Icon Prints ($90-$500) are a perfect addition to your Apple-themed workspace. A variety of icons are available, including the “Smiling Computer,” “Watch,” “Bomb,” and “Trash,” on a similarly varied number of colored backgrounds.

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Palo Alto Audio Design Cubik Speakers

Clearly catering to the NeXT logo enthusiasts among us, Palo Alto’s Cubik Speakers ($200) promise a whole bunch of sound in small, deliberately off-axis cube packages. One thing that’s unique about these speakers is how the audio signal is transmitted from your computer; instead of using the standard 3.5mm audio connection, Cubik is pure digital. All over the sound is pumped over from your Mac via USB, reducing the opportunity for analog audio conversion to introduce noise into the signal. Updated August 6, 2012 with hands-on impressions!

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Ian Page Mactracker 6.0

Now available in the App Store, Ian Page’s Mactracker 6.0 (Free) would be neat enough if it was just a compendium of different Mac computer models, but it’s more than that: there’s a chronological database starting with the 1983 Lisa and progressing through even the latest “early 2011” MacBook Pro models, plus every iPod, iPhone, iPad, and major Apple-branded Mac accessory. Each Mac entry includes details on the machine’s processor, dimensions, supported versions of the Mac OS, memory and expansion capabilities, plus a lot more—a great reference tool if you’re trying to figure out how your computers have evolved over the years.

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Heckler Design OneLessOffice

Looking for a new desk? Office stand? Filing cabinet? How about all three pieces in a compact design, capable of being compressed for easy storage when not in use? Heckler Design has you covered with OneLessOffice ($1097). Made of heavy-duty steel, this nesting office set has everything you need to set up a small but effective and modern-looking workspace for your Mac.

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Humanscale M8

There are lots of options for mounting a Cinema Display or an iMac, but how many of them look like robot arms? That’s where M8 ($460) from Humanscale comes into play - or work. This awesome industrial articulating arm is a great solution for putting your screen on a wall or even just mounting it on your desk to get back the look and feel of the classic iMac G4, including angle articulation.

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H-Squared Backlit Mini Mount

So you picked up your new Mac mini, but you’ve got to get it out of the way—maybe it’s part of your media center, or you just ran out of room on your desk. One of the coolest options to tuck it away and still show it off is the Backlit Mini Mount ($80) from H-Squared. It’s a really easy, really stable way to mount the tiny computer—and it glows.

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Nikon D5100

Ready to step up from your point-and-shoot or built-in iPhone camera? The Nikon D5100 ($800-$900) is waiting. Built with the same sensor as Nikon’s $1,350, pro-leaning D7000, the D5100 offers 16.2 megapixel still image capabilities with color fidelity and low-light performance that puts comparably-priced Canon DSLRs to shame, plus a three-inch, vari-angle monitor and 1080p/30fps D-Movie video recording.

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CaseCrown Rugged Travel Sling Back DSLR Backpack

Carrying a DSLR camera and lenses only becomes harder as your gear improves, so it’s key to properly distribute the weight of all that metal, glass, and plastic. CaseCrown’s Rugged Travel Sling Back DSLR Backpack ($60) has a name as long as its black nylon body, which stretches for 15.5” to hold one DSLR body alongside three lenses and other small accessories, with the ability to swap its interior space for a flash. A sling strap wraps bandolier-style across your chest, helping to alleviate the strain that camera bags typically place on a single shoulder.

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Available Now

Valve Portal 2

You loved Valve’s action puzzler Portal back in 2007. You’ve patiently awaited the sequel. Today, the wait’s over: Chell, GLaDOS and the gang are finally back in Portal 2 ($50). Yes, you still have your portal gun. But this time around Aperture Science has been kind enough to load you up with all sorts of new goodies—including tractor beams and special paints—and lets you play with friends, as well.

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