2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

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! Read More

$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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

$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.  Read More

$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. Read More

iLuv iCB718 Card Reader with 2 USB Ports

Announced at CES this January, iLuv’s new set of Mac-matching adapters and cables are now shipping; some compete directly with products that Apple has been offering for years, while others are new and distinctive. Of the bunch, our favorite is iCB718 ($40), also known as the Card Reader with 2 USB Ports, for those who don’t speak part number. Read More

$70
Widely Available Winter 2012/2013
Peripherals

Leap Motion Leap

If Apple has proven anything over the past five years, it’s that there’s no reason that computing needs to remain locked into traditional input schemes. Most people still use keyboards and mice, but Multi-Touch is quickly becoming the preferred method for many, and has been improving for complex tasks. Leap Motion is doing its part to shake up the status quo in a different way with limited pre-orders of its Leap ($70). The idea here is motion control; think Microsoft’s Kinect, but a whole lot smaller and supposedly more accurate, too. Read More

Elgato HDHomeRun

Ever wish your cable TV actually came to each room of your house over Wi-Fi instead of coax? The Elgato HDHomeRun ($180) makes it possible. This tiny box sits alongside your router, connecting to your standard cable connection and serving up HDTV over the air. Read More

$299-$649
Peripherals

LaCie 2big NAS

LaCie clearly knows what it’s doing with hard drives, particularly when it comes to designing enclosures that appeal to Mac users. The newest addition to its lineup is a drive case called 2big NAS, which is available either as an empty enclosure for $299, or pre-filled with 6TB of storage for $649. It’s being positioned as a great solution for small businesses, with remote access over FTP, SFTP, or HTTP file transfer. You can pop in any two 3.5” drives, up to 3TB each, and it comes with support for RAID 1 mirroring. Read More

Buffalo AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WZR-D1800H

Rumors (and past history) have strongly suggested that Apple will implement the new and much-improved 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard in its lineup at some point this year. We’re not surprised that this hasn’t happened yet, since the first 802.11ac router has just hit the market. Buffalo’s new—deep breath here—AirStation AC1300 / N900 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router WZR-D1800H ($180) is spearheading the speedy new standard at a reasonable price for the technology. And it’s backwards compatible with 802.11n, operating twin networks so that your current devices can work on one band while new ones work on another. Read More

$360-$2,096
Peripherals

OWC Mercury Accelsior PCI Express SSD

If the success of the MacBook Air is any indication, there’s little doubt Apple intends to switch over to SSDs as quickly as it can. Solid state drives are incredibly fast and more reliable than spinning hard drives, although they still ring up at a higher price per gigabyte. OWC has been at the forefront of bringing these drives to Macs that don’t already have them, and is now expanding its lineup with Mercury Accelsior PCI Express SSD ($360-$2,096) for the Mac Pro. Read More

$179
June 2012
Peripherals

Matrox DualHead2Go Digital ME

As of today, most Macs support a single external monitor—only the 15”/17” MacBook Pros can daisy chain two Apple Thunderbolt Displays at once with their built-in hardware, and iMacs can add a Thunderbolt Display to match their own screens. Since many users would prefer not to spend two grand for twin monitors, say nothing of possibly having to replace their Macs, Matrox has come up with a different solution: DualHead2Go Digital ME ($179). This breakout box connects to Macs with Mini-DisplayPort or Thunderbolt ports, stretching a 3840x1200-pixel desktop across two DVI displays. Read More

LaCie eSATA Hub

It’s still a pretty slow process, but Thunderbolt is continuing to spread. We’ve seen a small number of hard drives and a few other accessories make it to market, with LaCie getting more out than most other companies so far. Now it’s added to its collection with the introduction of eSATA Hub ($199). It’s a smart solution for users who have eSATA drives lying around that they’d like to use with newer Macs at blazing fast speeds. Read More

$50 after rebate with contract
April 12, 2012
Peripherals

Verizon Wireless Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 4620L

The last time we showcased a Verizon Wireless MiFi unit, the mobile carrier’s 4G LTE network was still in a fledgling state. Fast forward a year, and quite a bit has changed. Verizon has significantly increased its LTE footprint, bringing the super high speeds to 200 cities, with more on the way. Now it’s also updating its hardware with the introduction of the Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 4620L ($50 after rebate with contract). Redesigned with a new and detailed status screen, plus buttons to manage connections, the Jetpack retains the same size and shape of the original version—ideal for tossing in any bag or pocket. Read More

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