In preparing this year’s 20 Under $20 list, we loved the idea of presenting 20 killer Mac apps you might not know about — 20 is such a round, pleasant number, and would hopefully let us find something for everyone. But $20 per app might not seem like the bargain-basement price that it used to, even just back in the summer of 2011 when we did our last 20 Under $20 feature.
But guess what? Most of these polished, stable, user-friendly, and utterly useful applications don’t come anywhere close to a full Andrew Jackson, anyway. Four of them are free, and only two cost over $10. We thought about calling it “18 Mac Apps Under $10 and Also Two That Are More Than $10 But Still Less Than $20, and By the Way, Four Are Free,” but that’s just too long, wouldn’t you agree
You already paid big bucks for your iPhone, iPod touch, and/or iPad. You shouldn't have to max out your credit on cases and add-ons for it, too. (Save some dough for apps!) Instead, check out our gallery of 20 handy iOS accessories for under $20. There's bound to be something you'll want to drop a Jackson on.
Need a stylus? If your answer is "meh, not really, but sort of, I guess," let me submit that maybe you'd get some good use out of a stylus, but you're probably not gung-ho enough to drop $30 on one. Luckily our favorite destination for dirt-cheap cables-n-more, Monoprice.com, sells this great pen-slash-stylus for under $7.
Milo is a great little stand, with a microsuction pad to hold your iPhone or iPod touch (or other smartphone, I guess, if you gotta play it like that) in either portrait or landscape orientation. Bluelounge has a newer aluminum version for $29.95, but the original plastic version is just as good -- and only $14.95.
Studio Neat's clever Glif looks like a musical note from the side, hence its name. But that's not the cool thing about it -- Glif snaps onto your iPhone, then lets you securely screw that device onto a tripod or other camera-mounting system, so you can take better photos.
Griffin's low-cost Bolts Talk won't break the bank if you need replacement earbuds. They even have a tiny mic and a button that lets you answer the phone, play/pause your music, or summon Siri. But the sound quality is underwhelming, and our test pair didn't last very long.
Apple includes a USB power adapter with every new iPhone, iPod, and iPad, so in theory I should have...oh, at least 9 (no kidding) in my possession. In reality I am always looking for one. This is probably because I leave them behind in hotels or let friends borrow them, but how they disappear isn't the issue. The issue is how much I hate paying Apple for a new one. Luckily, RadTech's ACpower is cheaper than Apple's power adapters, and it can charge two iPads at once.
Hat tip for these goes to The Wirecutter, which is the best kind of gear site because instead of inundating you with review after review (like we do!), they just tell you what thing in each category is THE thing to buy. For cheap -- really cheap, sub-$10 -- earbuds, they recommend these, from cheap-stuff emporium Monoprice. And we were skeptical enough at their price that we had to order some for ourselves.
Cleaning supplies for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac: Not the most exciting topic. On the riveting scale, it's up (OK, down) there with keeping your software updated and your data backed up. Except those other things can be shoved to the back of your mind (or automated), while letting your touchscreen devices and Mac display get all grimy and fingerprint-covered is a little harder to ignore. Moshi's Teraglove improves on a normal cleaning cloth because it's machine washable, and it can double as a soft pocket to stash your earbuds.
Until Apple starts cranking out iPhones in colors other than black and white, cases are the best way to add a splash of color, and low-cost cases like Cygnett's $19 Vector (which comes in purple or black) let you change up the color as often as you change your shoes.