2014 iPad iPhone iPod Buyers' Guide from iLounge.com

$70-$100
Peripherals

j5 create USB HDMI + DVI Display Adapters

Adapters to turn a Mac’s USB port into a second display have become fairly common over the past couple of years, but options with Mac-matching aesthetics are few and far between. j5 create’s USB Display Adapters are different: available in HDMI ($100), DVI ($70), and even VGA ($70) versions, each has a Mac-matching silver aluminum body with white and silver plastic ends, a white USB cable, and a single female port for video output. Connect it to your Mac and you can hook up an external monitor of your choice—j5 create notes that certain computers can support as many as 6 displays over USB, provided that they have dual-core processors and 2GB or more of free RAM.

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j5 create JUH320 v2 Wormhole Docking Station

Apple users are used to dealing with fewer ports than they might otherwise want, but there are times when extras are particularly appreciated. Hubs and docking stations are always options, but they’re generally not the prettiest things around. A company called j5 create has introduced a new accessory that matches the design of your Mac and isn’t too obtrusive: the JUH320 v2 Wormhole Docking Station ($130). Not only do you get extra inputs, but you can also share peripherals and files with a second computer as well. Updated December 5, 2011 was new pictures and hands-on impressions!

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$200-$300
Peripherals

ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive

Ever gone mountain climbing or swimming with your external hard drive? We’re assuming not—nor are we recommending either of those activities—but if you are the kind of person prone to destroying hard drives in one way or another, check out ioSafe’s Rugged Portable Hard Drive ($200-$300). Available in either 500GB or 1TB, this guy offers USB and two FireWire 800 ports, a Kensington-style lock slot on the back, and is made to stand up to pretty much anything you throw at it.

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Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB Solid State Hybrid Drive

With data storage, like most things, you typically need to choose between size or speed. Of course you can custom order a super-fast solid state drive in the MacBook Pro, but at an $1,100 premium for 512GB, it’s not very practical for typical consumers, and space is still somewhat limited. That’s where Seagate’s newly updated Momentus XT 750 GB Solid State Hybrid Drive ($249) comes in. It’s the best of both worlds.

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$130-$160
December 2011
Peripherals

Crypteks Crypteks USB

If you take the security of your data extra seriously—or you just really liked that one scene from The Da Vinci Code—then Crypteks’ Crypteks USB ($130-$160) is probably right up your alley. This fully funded Kickstarter project is more than a simple flash drive. It features 256-bit AES encryption that’s controlled by the hardware cypher encasing the drive.

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M-Audio Fast Track

Alright rockstar, you’ve got the Mac. You’ve got the instruments. You’ve got the mic. The only thing holding you back from making that platinum record at this point is a way to get your tunes flowing into your computer. Enter M-Audio’s Fast Track ($150). This simple breakout box is an incredibly straightforward solution for musicians recording to their Macs.

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€109-€219/~$147-$295
Peripherals

Freecom Mobile Drive Mg

Ten years ago, Apple amazed people by squeezing a 5GB hard drive into an enclosure the size of a deck of cards. Thankfully, plenty of progress has been made over the past decade. Now we have accessories such as Freecom’s Mobile Drive Mg (€109-€219/~$147-$295) that can fit hundreds of times the storage space in similarly tiny enclosures. Available in capacities ranging from 320GB to 1.5TB, these 4.7” by 3.19” by 0.39” external hard drives look really nice, too.

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MacBook / MacBook Pro MagSafe Adapter Settlement

Remember the T-shaped MagSafe Power Adapters that Apple used to ship with MacBooks and MacBook Pros? If you ever had one, the picture above may look familiar: early MagSafes were known to fray under normal use, especially right where the cable met the magnetic connector. The only solution up until now has been to buy a new one—either another T-shaped one, or, more recently, the improved L-shaped model that now ships with all of Apple’s notebooks. If you fall into this category, good news: there’s been a class action settlement, and you may be eligible to get at least some of your cash back.

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Elecom Data Clip and Data Hook 4GB Flash Drives by Nendo

Accessory makers have figured out that design is the key to differentiating flash drives—otherwise, cheaper options win. Elecom clearly gets this, as it partnered up with Japenese design firm Nendo to create the Data Clip and Data Hook 4GB flash drives ($36 each). Both feature unique hook-shaped designs in a variety of colors.

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Belkin Universal Media Reader/Writer

When Apple added an SD card slot to the MacBook Pro a few years back, it was kind of a surprise—the company was already on a march to reduce ports and physical media interfaces, beginning its plans to remove optical drives from some of its laptops. But photographers wanted integrated memory card slots, and Apple obliged for users of the most common format. If you’re using anything other than SD, then Belkin’s new Universal Media Reader/Writer ($40) is probably just what you need.

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Newer Technology Voyager Q

Ever swapped out the hard drive in one of your Macs? Sure, the computer ends with with more storage space, but you end up with a silver box that doesn’t do you too much good. That is, unless you’re willing to put the drive inside of another housing and connect it to your computer again. The easiest way to do this is a dock such as Newer Technology’s Voyager Q ($80). Compatible with both 2.5” and 3.5” SATA drives, Voyager Q allows you to pop in your old drives and access the contents instantly. Newer Tech explains it succinctly: it’s like a flash drive, but with huge capacity. And an obviously bigger footprint.

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$60, $149-$199
Apps
Peripherals

MCE Technologies Blu-ray Player

Blu-ray Disc playback has long been a white whale for Mac owners, and if the Mac mini and MacBook Air are any indication, the chances of seeing any optical drive incorporated into future Apple machines is getting slimmer and slimmer. The drives that you can currently hook up to your Mac only allow you to author; you can’t even watch Blu-ray movies without dual-booting into Windows. Or at least that’s the way it was up until now. MCE Technologies has finally found a solution to the problem, and is now offering its Blu-ray Player software as a free add-on with its internal drive for the Mac Pro ($149) and external USB 2.0 and eSATA drive ($199). If you want to buy the software on its own, it’ll cost you $60.

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$999
TBD
Peripherals

Canon Pixma Pro-1

What are you supposed to do once you’ve spruced up your pictures in Pixelmator? If you’re going to print them out and you’re looking for lab-like quality, you may want to consider Canon’s upcoming Pixma Pro-1 Professional Inkjet Printer ($999). While the price tag is high, you’re going to get really impressive prints out of this new model, which boasts a 12-ink system for astounding color accuracy.

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M-Audio Keystation Mini 32

If you’re a musician on the go, M-Audio’s Keystation Mini 32 ($100) is an easy solution. This keyboard shrinks the company’s well-regarded line of MIDI music controllers down to an accessory that’s just longer than a MacBook Pro—really easy to toss in a bag and take with you, but still big enough to be totally useful at your workstation. There are even four customizable controls, three buttons and a knob.

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Amped Wireless SR600EX High Power Wireless-N 600mW Pro Smart Repeater

One thing we’ve always liked about Apple’s AirPort family of routers is just how easy it is to add a tiny Express to expand the range of a bigger Extreme. Each has a radius of about 150 feet, so most people will be more than fine. But what are you supposed to do if you need real wireless distance and power? We’re not talking feet here, but miles—one and a half miles, actually. That’s just the kind of boost that Amped Wireless’s new SR600EX High Power Wireless-N 600mW Pro Smart Repeater ($180) promises to give you.

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