2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$43-$69
Peripherals

Kanex Thunderbolt Cables

We all know the deal with Thunderbolt by now: it’s Apple’s superfast, new-ish transfer medium, capable of transferring data at up to 10 Gbps. At this point, every Mac but the Mac Pro has at least one Thunderbolt port. Other than Apple, only a few companies are making the cables. Kanex is now offering not only the least expensive basic Thunderbolt Cable ($43-$69) we’ve seen, but also varying lengths.

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$TBD
Early 2013
Peripherals

Amped Wireless 802.11ac Router, Range Extender + USB Adapter

Amped Wireless is one of the early champions of 802.11ac, the upcoming wireless broadband standard. Today, it unveiled three new devices that’ll be available in early 2013: the RTA15 High Power Dual Band AC 700mW Wi-Fi Router, REA20 High Power Dual Band AC 700mW Wi-Fi Range Extender, and ACA1 High Power Dual Band AC Wi-Fi USB Adapter ($TBD). Yes, that’s a lot of letters and numbers, but summary point: by next year, expect gigabit Wi-Fi speeds thanks to this router, range extender, and USB Adapter.

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OWC Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis

Following on the heels of mLogic’s mLink, OWC’s Mercury Helios PCIe Thunderbolt Expansion Chassis ($349) has arrived as a less expensive alternative in a slightly less attractive package. They both achieve the same end: any Thunderbolt-equipped Mac can use a half-length PCIe card that was formerly compatible only with the Mac Pro. PCIe cards can be used for everything from flash storage to video capture, enabling Mac Minis and iMacs to serve as professional-class workstations.

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$60-$93
Peripherals

Elecom Ultra-Compact USB Memory

Flash drives are—almost literally—a dime a dozen, so to catch our attention they really have to stick out. Or, as is the case with Elecom’s Ultra-Compact USB Memory ($60-$93), barely stick out at all. Not only is the company’s storage device minuscule, but it matches your favorite Mac perfectly.

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Logitech Rechargeable Trackpad T651

Apple’s Magic Trackpad went two and a half years without an equally appealing third-party competitor for the Mac. Finally, someone has taken a stab at improving on our favorite input device: Logitech’s Rechargeable Trackpad ($70) looks like a real contender. It has all the same features and functionalities of Apple’s controller, plus a built-in rechargeable battery, for roughly the same price.

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Pioneer DDJ-WeGO Compact DJ Controller

We’re big fans of Algoriddim’s djay software in all its iterations: iPad, iPhone, and of course the big Mac version. That’s why we were excited to find out that Pioneer’s most affordable DJ controller, DDJ-WeGO ($299) is now compatible with the popular app. Available with a white, black, red, green, or violet trim, the unit is attractive and brings all sorts of mixing power right to your fingertips.

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$49-$59
Peripherals

Kanex 4-Port USB 3 Hub + USB 3 Gigabit Adapter

With Apple’s new iMacs finally making their way to stores, the computer maker’s entire lineup is now outfitted with USB 3.0—save, of course, for the neglected Mac Pro. Kanex has a couple of new accessories to take advantage of the super fast ports: its 4-Port USB 3 Hub ($59) and USB 3 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter ($49) may not be glamorous, but they’re useful add-ons.

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AT&T MiFi Liberate

Now that every LTE-enabled iPhone and iPad has the ability to share its cellular connection, portable hotspot devices aren’t as important as they once were. AT&T decided to pump up its new MiFi Liberate ($50 with two-year contract) with a handful of unique features to make it more appealing. The most noticeable is the 2.8” touchscreen on the front, used to control all the device’s functions. A long battery life and media sharing capabilities are packed in too.

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$1,295
Peripherals

Apogee Electronics Quartet

Because of the price and functionality, it’s easy to say that Apogee Electronics’ new Quartet ($1,295) isn’t for everyone. But for those looking to do high-end desktop audio recording on their Macs, this is an appealing option: a sophisticated new USB audio interface with a beautiful design, giving professional musicians total control over the recording experience. Plus, it comes from Apogee, a company that knows sound quality.

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mLogic mLink Thunderbolt to PCIe Expansion Chassis

With the Mac Pro continuing to stagnate, and Apple’s portable computers growing more powerful with each iteration, mLogic’s upcoming mLink ($399) makes sense for professional users. The chassis holds a half-length PCIe card, allowing it to be connected to any Mac with a Thunderbolt port—a plug and play design that allows pro-grade accessory cards to easily be swapped in and out.

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Velocity Micro VMultra Drive

For most, Apple’s decision to jettison the optical drive from pretty much all of its computers isn’t a big deal. But we know there are some who still need them, especially on the now SuperDrive-less iMac. VMultra Drive ($200) seems like a pretty intriguing solution for those users. It’s more than just a disc drive; extra inputs and even additional storage are built in too.

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$120-$180
Peripherals

LaCie CloudBox

Wireless storage and backup is clearly the way things are going, and LaCie’s new CloudBox ($120-$180) is one of the cleanest implementations we’ve seen. Like many of the the company’s drives, this one is designed by Neil Poulton and it looks great: it’s a simple white box with just two ports: one for power and another for an Ethernet connection. With it you can store and stream files from multiple devices and multiple users, in the house or outside of it.

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$110-$180
Peripherals

Seagate Backup Plus

Unlike Thunderbolt, which is still being adopted at a trickle-like rate, USB 3.0 has seen quick and wide adoption from Mac hard drive makers. The latest to update its Mac drives with support for the speedier transfer standard is Seagate, with its Backup Plus Portable ($110-$130) and Backup Plus Desktop ($130-$180). They pack all the features you’d expect from Mac-specific backup drives, plus a few extras exclusive to Seagate.

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Logitech Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam

After photos leaked out without specific details, Logitech’s new Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam ($199) is now actually available for pre-order. While at first glance it looks like just another webcam, this Apple-centric unit is different from the pack: it connects to your Mac wirelessly over Wi-Fi, allowing you to move away from the traditional view of the camera at the top of the display, and packing in other cool features as well.

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$799-$1,499
Peripherals

Promise Pegasus J2 SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution

Promise is racing to create the fastest—and most expensive—external solid state drives around. The Pegasus J2 SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution combines two costly technologies—SSD storage and Thunderbolt connectivity—into a palm-sized package. Retailing in Apple Stores at $799 for 256GB or an astoundingly high $1,499 for 512GB, the drive does have some impressive features that aren’t immediately obvious.

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