Keyboards are highly personal items. Some folks like huge, clackety, old-school keyboards with tactile feedback, while others go for small and light. And if small and light is what you’re after, Microsoft’s new Arc is a decent, portable, chiclet-style keyboard that works well alongside your Mac--provided you can put up with the indignity of backward function keys.
The name says it all. The one thing that Star Wars games hadn’t done before is let you go hog-wild with the Force, but this videogame port takes the handcuffs all the way off. Romping through that far-away galaxy while fully exploring the power of the Dark Side is such a blast that it almost overshadows Force Unleashed’s shortcomings. Almost.
Who else is getting tired of portable drives that are enclosed in the kind of bland black or silver case that just begs to be hidden? If you’re reaching for some sky, Verbatim’s slick InSight is a USB drive you’ll enjoy having on your desk. Its lovely piano-like finish and curvy lines are just plain classy, and at 5.99x3.37x 0.66 inches and 5.8 ounces, it’s very slim and light.
It’s a law of the universe: As soon as you find the perfect iPhone case, one of your friends will buy the exact same one. Mix up your iPhones at a bar, and the next thing you know, you’re sexting the wrong person. Plus, all of your carefully selected hardcore punk tunes are gone and you’re stuck listening to Miley Cyrus on the way home. Life can be so cruel. But Uncommon and Trexta have you--and your iPhone--covered with their custom case solutions.
Internet trolls and obnoxious PC owners know that the quickest way to annoy a Mac user is to claim that the only reason people buy Apple stuff is because they “want to look cool.” And smart Mac fans dismiss this criticism as quickly as it comes, easily recognizing it as little more than baiting. We love our Apple gear for tons of reasons, most having to do with functionality and ease of use. But it’s true that Apple designs great-looking devices, and that’s certainly part of the appeal--it’s not our fault that the other guys insist on making such ugly stuff. So it’s no wonder that we often gravitate toward equally good-looking accessories.
Created by San Francisco–based designer Joey Roth, the simply named Ceramic Speakers are exactly that: speakers built from handmade ceramic enclosures, cork, and wood.
Many have tried--and failed--to reinvent the book in digital form. It took the powerhouse that is Amazon to reinvigorate the idea of e-books, and when it released the Kindle, gadget nerds and book lovers rejoiced. But let’s not forget that Amazon’s roots are in selling stuff (books in particular), not building hardware. That’s why the company is piggybacking on the infrastructure it built to sell e-books to Kindle owners, first with an app for iPhone users and now with Kindle for your Mac desktop. It’s all about selling virtual books by the truckload.
Arriving just in time for Steam’s debut on the Mac, the Core i5 MacBook Pro is the best gaming laptop Apple’s ever built. And thanks to the new processor’s Hyper-Threading technology and Turbo Boost speeds, this MacBook Pro is also a workhorse that delivers both impressive speeds in all the most processor-intensive applications and a built-in battery that lasts an entire day.
When I reviewed the Wi-Fi iPad for our June cover story (4.5 out of 5 stars), it was a little tricky coming up with bona fide complaints about it--call me fangirl all you want, but I was smitten, as was the rest of the Mac|Life staff. With the iPad Wi-Fi+3G, my rose-colored glasses are covered with smudgy fingerprints of regret. After two days of failed 3G account activation and a good 90 minutes of phone calls (first with AT&T, who passed me to Apple, who told me to talk to AT&T, who transferred me to Apple, who transferred me back to AT&T), the 3G iPad’s luster was fading--fast. I even considered returning it. And that’s saying a lot for someone who loves the iPad as much as I do.
Despite what it might sound like at first, Wacom’s Cintiq monitor/tablet combo isn’t just a wacky gimmick--although it does feel pretty sci-fi and futuristic. Essentially, it’s all the technology of the Intuos4 tablet crammed into a 21.3-inch touch-sensitive display. The Cintiq boasts 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity--double that of the previous generation--and the ability to recognize the angle of the pen in applications like Photoshop and Painter. Our tests revealed smooth lines while painting with the Brush tool and more realistic strokes as the Cintiq matched our natural drawing angle.
Apple haters love to trot out the fact that the iPhone and iPod touch lack a physical keyboard. And of course, the first feature iPhone users notice about any rival keyboard-equipped smartphone is usually the microscopic keys. 4iThumbs attempts to bridge that gap, offering some of the tactile feedback of a hard keyboard without giving up all the benefits of the iPhone’s virtual keys.