Glancing at a spec sheet, Apple’s latest iMacs might seem like
run-of-the mill product refreshes. Sure, there’s the requisite
processor bumps and storage updates, but an iMac’s an iMac, right? Ah,
not so much. When you see these machines in person, their differences
are much more apparent, striking even. The new line-up includes four
new machines--two small ones and two bigguns--and we had the chance to
review one of each size for this article.
The only MacBook left standing isn’t some neglected also-ran. With this
redesign, Apple gave its most modest notebook nearly all the power and
the style of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. For $999 ($200 less than the base
13-inch Pro), the white MacBook has nearly the same specs, minus the
FireWire port, SD card slot, IR sensor, and backlit keyboard--and the MacBook has a bigger hard drive: 250GB to the base Pro’s 160GB.
The name might remind you of an unpleasant side effect of drinking the
water in Mexico, but this Zuma’s Revenge won’t make you run for the
bathroom. Instead, you’ll be glued to your chair, clicking away at
ever-harder levels in four fun game modes.
Despite what they say about idle hands (hint: it has something to do
with an evil workshop), there are times when you simply want your hands
free. Say, when your in-flight meal arrives as you’re watching a movie
on your iPhone or iPod touch. Or when you’re reading on your touch and
need your hands free to grip the handlebars of the elliptical machine.
Or when you simply want to give your weary hands and arms a break. This
is where the In Your Face Viewbase comes in.
Spore’s first true expansion pack--and we’re not counting the weak Creepy & Cute, an assortment of extra body parts--fundamentally
changes the game. In the original Spore’s final stage, you’re bound to
a spaceship, but Galactic Adventures lets you park on planets and
stretch your legs. These away missions beget a whole new universe of
gameplay, including combat-based action sequences and story-driven
adventures heretofore unseen in Spore. Unfortunately, the quality of
these tweaks is just as open-ended, often resulting in frustration and
Beyond the Sword is the Costco of expansion packs: You’ll get more than
you asked for, and for a really top-notch experience, you’ll have to
suss out pockets of quality rather than stuffing yourself with sheer
quantity. There’s a lot going on in this game--and there’s a lot to
Shure’s been building pro audio equipment for forever. Chances are, if
you’ve seen a band perform in the last 75 years, you’ve seen some Shure
gear at work. While the company is well known for its microphones, it
has recently begun expanding into the headphone market. Shure has
brought its considerable audio know-how to bear on the SRH240 and the SRH440 headphones, both of which offer
studio-level sound at prices that make them attractive for home use as
Soundtrack Pro is a multitrack audio editor intended to be used as part
of a video workflow, though it’s equally adept at standalone audio
projects. It was once sold separately, but for the last few years, it’s
been available exclusively as part of the Final Cut Studio and Logic
Studio bundles. The latest incarnation, version 3, offers a wide range
of fine-tuned interface tweaks and a few new tricks that will make
anyone who produces pro audio take notice.
One of the big reasons we didn’t have a gadget-crush on the third-gen
iPod shuffle (3 out of 5 stars, Jun/09) is its reliance on Apple’s
earbuds to control the device. Without any buttons on the shuffle’s
chassis, the inline remote on the included ’buds is the only way to
navigate tracks, play, pause, or make volume adjustments. But now
Scosche’s tapSTICK aims to improve your shuffle experience by adding
back the third-gen shuffle’s missing buttons.
Yes, messenger bags are stylish. But after several years of schlepping our MacBooks and their accoutrement around in one, we were ready for something easier to carry. Backpacks--and laptop versions in particular--certainly aren’t known for being particularly fashion-forward, but we are pleased with Evolution’s sporty good looks, as well as its full complement of pockets.