$40-$70
Peripherals

LaCie RuggedKey

Perhaps you’ll never be in a position to drop your flash drive from 300 feet above the ground—but wouldn’t it be nice to know that it would survive if you did? That’s LaCie’s pitch with the new RuggedKey ($40-$70). Styled after the company’s popular Rugged hard drives, this USB 3.0 flash drive comes in 16 or 32GB, and can really take a beating.

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Apple Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet + FireWire 800 Adapters

After a slow, expensive start, Thunderbolt might finally be picking up some steam. Apple doubled its line of accessories that take advantage of the high speed accessory at today’s WWDC keynote: joining the ranks of the Thunderbolt Cable and Thunderbolt Display are the Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter ($29) and Thunderbolt to FireWire 800 Adapter ($30).

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Macally Super-Speed USB 3.0 Aluminum Storage Enclosure

It took a few years for Apple to hop on board with USB 3.0, but the technology is now standard on new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro computers—each has a pair of the high-speed ports—and they’re surely coming to the desktops sooner rather than later. Macally was quick to take advantage of Cupertino getting with the times by introducing its Super-Speed USB 3.0 Aluminum Storage Enclosure ($70). Similar to G-Technology’s drives, this affordable Mac-matching enclosure will fit nicely alongside your favorite computer, holding your choice of hard drives inside.

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Newer Technology miniStack

Mac mini users love their machines’ tiny footprints, but there are few expansion options that precisely match the look and size of Apple’s smallest computers. That’s what makes Newer Technology’s latest miniStack ($90+) an appealing option. Similar to the miniStack Max we saw at the 2012 CES—which incidentally still isn’t available yet—miniStack is an aluminum hard drive enclosure designed to fit underneath a mini, but compatible with any Mac. For $160, it comes with 500GB of storage capacity, while the aluminum enclosure is available without a drive inside for $90.

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$30+
November 2012 For Kickstarter Backers
Peripherals

Nifty MiniDrive + MiniDrive Pro

We only rarely cover Kickstarter projects, but we couldn’t resist Nifty’s fully-funded, smart MiniDrive and MiniDrive Pro ($30+). The company has created removable MicroSD card sleds that fit into the SD slots on the MacBook Air and Pro, respectively. Unlike a standard SD card, they sit flush with the edge of your computer, adding the ability to carry a spare hard drive around without any bulk. They’ll be available in a variety of colors including Mac-matching silver, with shipments starting in November.

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Blue Microphones Tiki

The mic in your Mac isn’t made for serious recording, so if audio quality is important to you, a dedicated microphone accessory will make a big difference. Blue Microphone’s new Tiki ($60) has just been released as a smart entry-level choice: not only is it one of the least expensive Blue mics we’ve seen, but the size and technology are impressive too.

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$48 Stand-Alone/$200+ With SSD
Peripherals

OWC Mercury Aura Envoy

Most of the updates to this year’s revision of the MacBook Air were under the hood, including a long-awaited bump of the maximum storage capacity to a modern notebook-rivaling 512GB. Apple’s upgrade costs a whopping $500 over the 256GB SSD, though, so most users will have to hold off for a while or consider third-party options. OWC has offered its own SSD upgrade kits for a while now, and the prices have fallen dramatically since they were introduced. Better yet, the new Mercury Aura Envoy ($48 Stand-Alone/$200+ With SSD) gives Air users a way to keep using the original drive once it’s been removed from the MacBook’s body.

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Eikon Digital Privacy Manager with TrueSuite Premium for Mac

There’s already great software on the market for storing your passwords—AgileBits’ 1Password immediately comes to mind. But if you want to add an extra layer of security to your Mac—something more than just a string of letters and numbers—check out Eikon’s Digital Privacy Manager with TrueSuite Premium for Mac ($50). This USB fingerprint swiper does a whole lot more than just log you into your computer: it keeps everyone else out.

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$110
July 2012
Peripherals

G-Technology G-Drive slim

Walk into an Apple Store looking for a backup solution and it’s likely that G-Technology’s G-Drives will pop out at you: Hitachi’s sub-brand has great and well-deserved placement, as the drives are high-quality inside and out. We have a particular affinity for G-Drive slim ($110), a crazy thin option that matches our obsession for the MacBook Air. Starting this July, it’ll be an even better value: along with a handful of other drives from the company, it’s getting updated to support USB 3 just in time to plug into the brand new Macs announced at WWDC.

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Apple AirPort Express (Mid 2012)

We’ve been expecting an updated AirPort Express ($99) for more than a year now; thankfully Apple finally acquiesced. Under the roar of new Macs, Mountain Lion, and iOS 6 at WWDC, it quietly slipped an redesigned version of the router into its stores. Now resembling a white Apple TV, there are also new features previously only seen with the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule, including one outbound Ethernet connector. Thankfully, the Express maintains its audio-out and USB ports, making it a truly valuable tool around the house and on the road. Updated x3: Click through to see even more hands-on + comparison pictures with the Apple TV, as well as testing results!

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$600
Summer 2012
Peripherals

Drobo Drobo Mini

Professionals seeking a redundant storage solution on the go have, up until now, had a rough go of it—either pack along a bulky RAID array and carry the drives separately, or carry multiple external drives and hope that simple mirroring can ensure their data’s integrity. The new Drobo Mini ($600) takes care of all those problems and more.

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D-Link All-In-One Mobile Companion

Disappointed that the new AirPort Express lost it’s wall wart status in favor of traditional plug? D-Link’s All-In-One Mobile Companion ($100) is showing up at just the right time. An alternative to Apple’s portable router, this little guy hooks directly into your outlet without additional cables. It doesn’t have quite as much going on under the hood but it’s still a pretty impressive device.

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Satechi Premium 4 Port Aluminum USB Hub

In the Apple accessory field there’s Mac-complenting and then there’s Mac-matching; Satechi’s Premium 4 Port Aluminum USB Hub ($25) falls squarely in the latter category. With a strip of USB ports and a 9.5” long cable connecting it to your computer, the functionality is clear. It’s the design that sets this one apart from the crowd.

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$10-$79
Peripherals

Apple MagSafe 2 Power Adapter + MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter

There’s only so much Apple can do to slim down its laptops at this point, and cutting the height of its power connector is the most recent trick it’s using to shave off millimeters. Today saw the introduction of the MagSafe 2 connector on both 45W and 85W MagSafe 2 Power Adapters ($79 each)—the former is for the new MacBook Air, the latter the MacBook Pro with Retina display. In addition, it brought out the MagSafe to MagSafe 2 Converter ($10), a welcome accessory for those with older adapters for displays.

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$249
September 2012
Peripherals

Matrox DS1 Thunderbolt Docking Station

Still waiting for the Thunderbolt Express Dock to make it to market? Now that Bekin’s pushed it back to September, the company needs to watch out: Matrox is gunning for it with the release of its DS1 Thunderbolt Docking Station ($249), which is due at the same time and will be available for $50 less. While it doesn’t offer the exact same array of ports, MacBook users looking to expand the I/O options on their computers should take note.

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