Get Your iLife in Gear

Get Your iLife in Gear

USB guitar


Don’t be fooled by the USB port—this is no toy video-game guitar. The iAxe 393 ($179.99, is a perfectly normal electric guitar, but you can plug it directly to your Mac to record guitar tracks in GarageBand or practice by playing along with your favorite tunes. Also includes Guitar Combos software by Native Instruments for re-creating classic effects.


USB keyboard

KeyRig 49

M-Audio’s KeyRig 49 ($129.95, is a 49-key USB keyboard that plugs into your Mac so you can record melodies in GarageBand—it’s totally plug and play, couldn’t be easier. You also get Ableton’s Live Lite software in case you want to branch out from GarageBand.


Microphone Cable

Griffin GarageBand Microphone Cable

Your Mac doesn’t have an input for an XLR mic, leaving you with a few options: Pay for a nice (and spendy) USB podcasting mic, pay for a nice ($100 or so) USB audio interface with XLR input, or shell out far less dough—just $15!—for the descriptively named GarageBand Microphone Cable ($14.99,, an XLR-to-1/8-inch cable that lets you plug a standard XLR mic directly into your Mac.


External hard drive

My Book Studio Edition

Once you start collecting photos, videos, and music, you’ll want to get an external hard drive with plenty of storage to keep your media safe. We like the design, capacity, and price of Western Digital’s My Book Studio Edition ($200 for 320GB to $380 for 1TB,, which connects via USB, FireWire 800, or even eSATA if you install an eSATA card in your tower Mac.


Web hosting service


iWeb just works better with .Mac, although it’s possible to publish your .Mac site to another service. But the $99.95/year you pay for .Mac ( also lets you take advantage of iPhoto’s Web Galleries and Leopard’s supercool Back To My Mac feature. You also get 10GB of online storage, the Backup app, a .Mac email address, and some nifty syncing services for Address Book, Safari, and iCal.


Point-and-shoot camera

Coolpix P60

Sure, SLRs are nifty, but point-and-shoot cameras have them beat for both price and ease-of-use. And the 8.1-megapixel Nikon CoolPix ($230, still has plenty of advanced features, including a 5x zoom lens, optical image stabilization, face detection, and in-camera red-eye fix, all wrapped up in a stylish, sturdy case with a bright 2.7-inch LCD.


DV camcorder

Vixia HV-30

The successor to Canon’s HV-20 ($900), the new Vixia HV-30 ($999, shoots a sharp, clear HD picture in 1080i (1920-by-1080-pixel) resolution, and packs advanced features like optical image stabilization and a 10x zoom lens, HDMI-out, an accessories shoe, and more. It connects to your Mac via FireWire so you can transfer footage from the MiniDV tapes to iMovie for editing. You’ll be thanking the Academy in no time.


Music Streamer

AirPort Express

As a router, the $99 AirPort Express ( is a bit limited—802.11g only, one Ethernet port. But it’s got something the AirPort Extreme ($179.99) lacks: AirTunes. The Express can stream music from your Mac to your home stereo or powered speakers. Add more units and you could stream all over the house for $100 per stereo. Act fast—the Express has been around a while, and we’ve heard unconfirmed reports that retailers aren’t getting new shipments.




+ Add a Comment

A Vulcan (verified) (verified) (verified) (PIE!)

You forgot something... Shame on you Mac|Life!

You forgot to mention if the XLR - 1/8" cable supported phantom power. You also forgot to include a printer for photos. And Need I go on? Okay, I will. Celtx for movie production. Canon S5 IS camera for intermediate photographers. Notebook by Circus Ponies for project information organization. Etc, etc, etc...



Hi, just a question. Is there any external hard drive that I can connect to my router and works with Time Machine in all the networked computers, just like Time Capsule?

I'd appreciate any help

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