Free*
Apps

Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac Preview

While there are no shortage of options for office productivity apps among Mac users, ranging from Apple’s own iWork suite to more cloud-based solutions like Google Docs, it’s pretty hard to argue that Microsoft’s Office suite remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to features and compatibility for exchanging documents with others. Even though Microsoft tends to lag a bit behind in their Mac versions, they provide reasonably good support for the Mac platform, making it easier for users to work on files from their own computers, or even to use their Macs at work. With Microsoft’s Office 2016 for Mac Preview (free), the company is basically giving away preview versions of its latest Office apps, a bundle that now adds Microsoft OneNote alongside updated options of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

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$60
Cases

STM Dux for MacBook Air

We’ve seen STM’s Dux for both iPhone and iPad before, and now we have an early look at the MacBook Air edition of the protective case. STM’s Dux for MacBook Air ($60) is a transparent polycarbonate case with TPU edges for drop protection. Four textured rubber feet on the bottom of Dux prevent your MacBook from slipping on a smooth surface. We received the 13” MacBook Air version of Dux, but a 11” MacBook Air version should be available, as well. The 13” version should be released in late April/early May.

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$2,990
Furniture

Stir Kinetic Desk M1

Following up on its previous high-tech standing desk, the Stir Kinetic Desk, the Apple-inspired design company Stir has recently released the Stir Kinetic Desk M1 ($2,990), a new option that drops the price while adapting a more contemporary, curvy design, with rounded waterfall edges. Available in a black or white finish, the desk is CNC-machined, providing a seamless finish, with a powder coat applied over the engineered wood. Like its sibling, the M1 packs in quite a high-tech suite of features, however, that go beyond mere aesthetic appeal, providing smart, cloud-connected features for adjusting the desk and integrating with your Mac, iPhone, and other accessories.

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Epson Perfection V19 Scanner

Most of us will probably find it quite laughable when we look back at the promises of the paperless society that modern technology was supposed to usher in, considering that we’re surrounded by more paper than ever these days. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a paperless home or office, about the only way to deal with it is to take matters into your own hands, and Epson’s Perfection V19 ($70) is a nice affordable way to get started. Packing a handy set of scanning features into a small profile, flatbed scanner, this latest entry in the company’s Perfection lineup provides useful cloud-based scanning solutions, so you can even use it to scan directly to everything from Facebook to Evernote.

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$50
Apps

BusyMac BusyContacts

BusyMac’s BusyCal has long been a great option for many users who have found the standard Calendar app in OS X a bit too basic for their needs, and now BusyMac has brought the same sort of advanced features to your address book with BusyContacts ($50), a powerful replacement for the standard Contacts app on OS X. Designed to be a full-featured contact manager, BusyContacts integrates seamlessly with BusyCal and Apple’s Mail app, providing a flexible CRM solution. Features include customizable views to allow you to view contact information in a variety of different ways, along with an activity view that gives you a display of appointments, tasks, and even recent e-mail conversations, messages, and social media posts associated with your contacts.

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Satechi Aluminum Clamp Hub

While using everything from iPhones and iPads to cameras and flash drives, it’s not uncommon to run out of USB ports. USB hubs have become commonplace at many workstations, but adding one into the mix can increase the clutter in your life. For those who want to keep it simple, Satechi’s new Aluminum Clamp Hub ($28) offers a nice aesthetic solution at a reasonable price. Easily attached to any recent model iMac, this hub provides four front-facing USB 3.0 ports without taking up any disk space or increasing the cable clutter.

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Free*
Apps

Serif Affinity Photo

On the heels of last year’s successful release of Affinity Designer, Serif is back at it again with a public beta of Affinity Photo (free*), which promises to be a new affordable app that may give Photoshop a run for its money. Described as “unashamedly pro even as a beta version,” Affinity Photo is packed with higher-end features that creative professionals need and love, including end-to-end CMYK, LAB color, editing at 16-bits per channel, ICC color profiling, Frequency Separation editing, live blend modes, full support for Adobe Photoshop PSD files and 64-bit plug-ins, and more.

 

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$10
Apps

Overmacs PhotoSweeper 2.0

For some of us, keeping our photos in order can be a confusing mess, and the longer you’ve been into digital photography, the more problematic this is likely to be for all but the most hardcore archivists. While Apple’s iCloud Photo Library promises to fix this going forward, chances are that between Aperture/iPhoto, Finder, and your iOS Camera Roll, some duplicate photos may have crept in somewhere along the way. Sadly, most photo management tools don’t really do a very good job of even preventing you from importing duplicates in the first place, much less finding them after the fact. Fortunately, for those looking to tackle this problem, there’s PhotoSweeper ($10), a handy little tool provided by Overmacs that can quickly crunch through your photos — just about wherever they happen to be stored — and identify various forms of duplicates so that you can more effectively deal with them and clean up your library. We’ve been fans of PhotoSweeper for a while, and with version 2.0 it gets even faster and more intuitive.

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Free*
Apps

Apple Photos for Mac

When Apple originally took the wraps off iOS 8 at last year’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference, one of the great new features introduced was iCloud Photo Library, promising the ability for iOS and Mac users to keep one big, master photo library in the cloud, with albums and even edits automatically and transparently syncing across all of your devices. While the idea was a neat one, the actual timeframe for rollout has required some degree of patience, with the feature debuting piecemeal. iOS 8.1 last fall provided a “beta” version built into the update, a web-based portal was provided a couple of weeks later, and this week the preliminary and long-awaited Photos for Mac (Free) has finally arrived, completing the circle.

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$60
Cases

Cargo Works 13" MacBook EDC Kit

We liked what Cargo Works had to offer with its MacBook Module Sleeve last year, and now the company has pushed the envelope a bit further with its 13” MacBook EDC Kit ($60). Designed to be compact and lightweight, this latest bag lets you carry your Macbook, iPad, and iPhone while leaving room to organize your other stuff, with Molle webbing on the front that provides options for attaching other items that need to be quickly accessible. Four stash pockets are also included inside for storing accessories.

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Free*
Apps

Running with Crayons Alfred 2.6

For many Mac users, it’s much faster to keep fingers on the keyboard when it comes to launching apps, searching your Mac and the web, or performing other quick tasks. While OS X Yosemite has made some nice improvements to Spotlight, for those who still want even more flexibility and control, there’s Running with Crayons’ Alfred 2.6 (free). Designed to allow you to quickly find and launch apps on your computer, run workflows, and search the web all from your keyboard, the latest version provides a number of enhancements, with the most significant being a new iOS Alfred Remote app that lets you control your Mac from your iPhone or iPad.

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Free
Apps

Pushbullet Pushbullet for Mac

The Handoff and Continuity features in iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite are a really handy addition to improving inter-device workflows, but the features are still somewhat limited to Apple’s own technologies and pairings of third-party apps specifically designed to support the features. For those looking for something that goes a bit beyond, there’s Pushbullet (free), a pair of iOS and Mac apps that provide many of the missing pieces for sharing data between your Mac and your iOS devices.

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$45
Mounts

Maclocks The Blade

While MacBooks used to come with slots for security locking cables as a standard feature, Apple’s move toward producing ultra-thin MacBook Air and Retina Pro models has eliminated the ability to include this locking feature – there’s simply no room for it anymore. So, what to do if you’re concerned about securing your $1,000+ laptop at your workspace? Enter The Blade ($45) from Maclocks.com, a company that has long specialized in physical security solutions for Macs. This latest universal bracket lock allows you to secure any sized MacBook while still providing a reasonably elegant and low-profile design.

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$50
Mounts

Twelve South ParcSlope for MacBook

Twelve South’s ParcSlope for MacBook ($50), named for both the Brooklyn neighborhood and as a Mac homage, is a desktop stand that angles a MacBook on a — you guessed it — slope. The titled aluminum workstation holds a MacBook at an 18-degree angle for an ergonomic typing angle and higher viewing angle. A gap in the back of ParcSlope acts as a cable management system. We received the stand recently, and have included our own photos here.

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$200
Apps

Apple Logic Pro X 10.1

Apple’s Logic Pro studio app has become a staple in the professional recording industry, and the debut of Logic Pro X a couple of years ago made some huge strides in making the app even more accessible and polished. With the release of the latest update, Logic Pro X 10.1 ($200), Apple adds a handful of new advanced features such as an intelligent beat profile for electronic and hip hop styles, as well as some handy Yosemite integrations such as MailDrop and AirDrop support.

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