$60
Apps

IK Multimedia Fulltone Collection for AmpliTube

As if the collection of gear in IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube 4 wasn’t already impressive enough, the music tech company has released another new collection of great high-end sounds and effects in the new Fulltone Collection for AmpliTube. Featuring a wide range of tones from the classic to the contemporary, the new collection promises “boutique sound for the discerning musician” inspired by guitarist and composer Michael Fuller’s vision for quality stompboxes.  The Fulltone Collection includes three powerful processors that work great in both music production and creative sound design, which, thanks to IK’s usual focus on hyperrealism, provide all of the mojo and feel of the original Fulltone hardware folded into the intuitive design of AmpliTube.

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$80
Cases

Urban Armor Gear Plasma Series Case for MacBook Pro 15-Inch with TouchBar

If you’re a road warrior looking to take your new MacBook Pro with you on all of life’s adventures, you’ll be happy to know that Urban Armor Gear (UAG) has just released its latest drop-tested MIL-SPEC case for the new 15” TouchBar MacBook Pro. The new Plasma Series Case for MacBook Pro 15-Inch with TouchBar ($80) features a translucent “Ice” design that allows you to show off your MacBook Pro while still providing three layers of comprehensive wear, tear, and drop protection.

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$30

SmallCubed Mail Act-On

For those who aren’t quite comfortable living entirely on the web, Apple’s macOS Mail is actually a pretty capable e-mail app, providing a nice, clean user interface and all of the features that most users would need. However, like most Apple apps, power users will probably find Apple Mail to be a bit light on more advanced features, which is where third-party developers come in with to fill the gaps with plugins to extend Mail’s functionality while preserving it’s straightforward design. SmallCubed’s Mail Act-On ($30) is at the top of our list of indispensable plugins that add significant power to the Apple Mail experience — allowing you to file messages into folders using only the keyboard, set up sophisticated “macros” using standard Apple Mail rules that can be triggered using keyboard shortcuts, and even creating rules that can be applied to outgoing messages. As if all of that wasn’t enough, Mail Act-On also bakes in the ability to create templates for quickly sending canned replies.

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Henge Docks Horizontal Docking Station

Henge Docks’ Horizontal Docking Station ($499) remains one of the coolest and most powerful docking stations we’ve seen for the MacBook Pro. While it doesn’t come cheap, you’re getting what you pay for here, providing your MacBook Pro with Retina Display with a solid and attractive “home base” on your desk and a ton of extra ports to go with it. If you regularly hook up your MacBook to an external monitor in your home or office and have a lot of external accessories, it’s a much more elegant solution than juggling cables and smaller hubs — you just drop your MacBook Pro into the Horizontal Dock’s base and all of the necessary connections automatically extend from the sides into the appropriate ports on your MacBook. When you’re ready to hit the road, a press of the button or click of a menu bar app will automatically eject all of your mounted external drives from within macOS and then retract the connectors to disconnect from the dock. It’s so slick and effortless that it borders on magical.

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$25
Apps

SmallCubed SigPro

If you like getting fancy when signing off on your e-mails in Apple Mail, you’ll appreciate what SmallCubed’s SigPro ($25) has to offer. Recently given a major update for macOS Sierra, SigPro carries on where Apple Mail’s built-in signature options end off, allowing you to not only specify individual signatures for each of your mail accounts, but also distinct signatures to be used for each of your mail aliases on a single account. It goes far beyond this, however, with advanced dynamic signature features ranging from including account-specific info like your e-mail address while using the same signature block across multiple accounts, to including random quotations, the song you’re listening to in iTunes, your latest blog posts, and even a Skype button for your contacts to quickly reach out to you with a click.

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$150
Apps

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office ($150) is offering an update through its beta program that enables the new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar to be used with Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. After registering for the “Office Insider” program, Office users will have access to all kinds of new shortcuts in the Touch Bar, including the ability to change fonts or format text in Word, reorder slides in PowerPoint, save recently used functions or color cells in Excel, and view calendar appointments in Outlook. Microsoft has also added Touch Bar functionality to Skype for Business calls, with the ability to activate, mute and end calls. The update is free to those who already own Microsoft Office.

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Scosche USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

For Mac users lamenting the lack of ports in the 2016 MacBook Pro line, Scosche’s new USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter provides a simple solution to make use of some older devices. The three-port adapter offers a traditional USB-A port compatible with most flash storage drives and other accessories, an HDMI port to connect external monitors or projectors, and an additional USB-C port that can be used as a power input to charge the computer even while the other ports are in use. The USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter costs $60 and is available now on Scosche’s website.

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Twelve South MagicBridge

For Mac users looking to unite their Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2, Twelve South’s MagicBridge is a simple solution. The white polycarbonate tray holds the two peripherals together as if they were a single unit, providing a lightweight solution to declutter a desk or make it possible to hold both devices in your lap. Silicone pads inside the tray protect the devices, and silicone pads on the bottom protect surfaces from scratches. The tray doesn’t inhibit Bluetooth signals and the grill on the back allows for access to all ports and switches, with the Trackpad on either the right or the left side. The MagicBridge is $35.

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Free
Apps

Zoho Notebook

If you’ve been looking for an attractive and easy-to-use note-taking app that fits somewhere between Apple’s built-in Notes app and the leviathan that is Evernote, you might want to take a look at Zoho’s new free Notebook app for Mac. Zoho’s award-winning iOS Notebook app had been around for a while, and has also gained some very nice iOS updates recently such as an iMessage app, Siri search support, and even searching of audio notes using new APIs in iOS 10. This addition of a Mac app makes for a big step in providing a more comprehensive note-keeping solution. Users familiar with the iOS version will find that Notebook for macOS provides the same common user interface, with attractive, fun, and gesture-rich navigation brought over from the iOS side; two-finger trackpad pinches are used to open and close notebook and notes, and two-finger swipes can be used to swipe on a notebook for more information or to flick through grouped note cards. Notes can be given unique colors for quick identification, and a variety of cover styles are available for each notebook — or you can use any photo of your choice.

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$200
Apps

Apple Logic Pro X 10.3

Apple has announced a major update to its Logic Pro X 10.3 ($200) recording app, with advanced support for the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro models along with a new modern design and several other advanced features. Touch Bar users can now view and navigate their project in a timeline view right in the Touch Bar, along with accessing volume and Smart Controls for any selected track. The Touch Bar also provides access to performance controls, such as a piano keyboard and drum pads to play and record software instruments, and keyboard shortcut sequences can be assigned to controls on the Touch Bar, as well. A new Track Alternatives feature provides the ability to quickly create and switch between different groupings of regions and edits on any track, allowing more flexibility in experimenting with creative ideas or evaluating different versions of a track in progress. Selection-based Processing has also been added, allowing users to combine multiple Logic and third-party effect plug-ins into one or more audio regions.

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$3
Apps

Fingerlab Yuri

In Fingerlab’s new game Yuri, the titular character awakes in his bed in the middle of a dark and strange forest, filled with fantastical plants and mysterious beasts. Players navigate Yuri through this odd world, rolling along on the casters of his bed to cross rivers, find secret passages and explore all the way to the center of the Earth. The side-scrolling platformer has 10 hand-drawn levels with no menus or counters to distract with the noir feel and the fast-paced gameplay. Original music and sound effects add to the unique artwork, immersing the user in an experience reminiscent of the adventure comics that inspired the game’s creators. Yuri is available for Mac or iOS for $3.

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LG UltraFine 5K Display

LG’s UltraFine 5K Display—first revealed at the Mac event in October—has appeared on Apple’s online store today after delays kept it from an early December launch. The 27-inch 5K display features 5120-by-2880 resolution and a P3 wide color gamut that provides sharp, lifelike images for those who require extremely high-quality image and video performance. The included Thunderbolt 3 cable provides a complete interface with up to 85W of charging power to a connected MacBook Pro from the primary USB-C port, and three other USB-C ports offer up to 5 Gbps transfer speeds and power to other compatible devices.

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$300
Apps

IK Multimedia MODO BASS

IK Multimedia continues to push the envelope forward with their analog effects modelling with their new MODO BASS virtual electric bass instrument app — the first of its kind to physically model the properties of a real electric bass. MODO BASS promises to deliver a completely new level of realism and playability, recreating not only the sound profile of the electric bass but also the human technique of how the instrument is played in real time, and all of the effects and amplifiers that would be in the sound chain. The app includes a collection of twelve of the most iconic electric basses in history, all specifically modelled, ranging from “60s P-Bass” based on an Alder body 60s era Fender Precision Bass and “70’s P-Bass” based on an Ash body Fender Precision Bass, all the way to more eclectic options such as the Ibanez Soundgear based “Japan Bass” and the Warwick Streamer inspired “Flame Bass.”

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$279
Feb 2017
Peripherals

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Apple’s newest MacBook Pro has changed the connector game with its USB-C/TB3 ports, so if you’re planning on getting the new MacBook Pro and have a lot of peripherals to connect, OWC’s new Thunderbolt 3 Dock ($279) may be worth taking a look at. Providing a total of thirteen ports, it’s an elegant and versatile way to connect a wide variety of accessories such as external hard drives, webcams, audio interfaces, Ultra HD displays, wired network connection, and more, and can also supply power to the 2016 MacBook Pro at the same time.

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Free / $1.50/month
Apps

Shiny Frog Bear

If you do a lot of writing or note-taking on your Mac and have been looking for a new way to handle it all, you may be interested in taking a look at Shiny Frog’s new Bear (free / $1.50/month). It’s a writing app that supports a wealth of advanced features while maintaining a very clean and accessible user interface. It’s designed for everything from quick notes to in-depth essays or even code snippets — syntax highlighting is supported for over 20 programming languages — and you can use hashtags to organize your work and easily link notes to each other, while still ensuring that everything remains stored in plain text for maximum compatibility and portability to other apps.

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