Hot Products

  Third-generation iPods ($299 to $499) and iTunes 4 (free), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): The combination of these two products makes us want to sing. Buy music with iTunes 4 and play it on the go on a new iPod? Sounds good to us (July 2003).

  PowerShot A70 ($399), from Canon (www.canon .com): A full suite of manual controls, a nice movie mode, and support for both conversion lenses and an underwater case put this 3.2-megapixel digital camera way ahead of the competition (July 2003).

  1GHz eMac ($1,299), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): The eMac retains its position as the best Mac desktop for education environments, and its squat, heavy, kid-resistant exterior and low, low price make it a great choice (August 2003).

  Stylus Photo 900 ($199), from Epson (www.epson .com/northamerica.html): The first ink-jet that prints directly onto CDs and DVDs for easy labeling, the Stylus Photo 900 is also an excellent photo printer. For the price, you won't find a better printer with these capabilities (August 2003).

  Painter 8 ($299), from Corel (www.procreate.com): This version of the venerable natural-media painting software, with many new brushes and tools, is well worth purchasing. The sweeping interface improvements make Painter so intuitive, you'll be glad you switched (August 2003).

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  1GHz iMac G4, 17-inch ($1,799), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): The speed and power of this new iMac are remarkable, especially given its big LCD monitor and reasonable price. It provides support for AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth, too (May 2003).

  1GHz PowerBook G4, 17-inch ($3,299), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): It pushes the limits of portability, but the 17-inch model has the best combination of features and performance of any PowerBook. It's an excellent workstation for video pros and designers (June 2003).

  900MHz iBook ($1,299), from Apple Computer (www .apple.com): Weighing just less than 5 pounds, this laptop is great if you want to use the Web, an e-mail program, a word processor, or even some of Apple's iLife apps, but be aware that the keyboard may cramp your style and the G3 processor might slow you down (August 2003).

  Apple Cinema Display ($1,299), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): This 20-inch flat-panel monitor manages to maintain consistent color no matter what your vantage point. If your Mac has an Apple Display Connector, you'll be happy with this display (August 2003).

  Cleaner 6.0.1 ($599), from Discreet (www.discreet .com): Improvements in performance and codec compatibility, as well as OS X compatibility, make this video-encoding utility essential for anyone who needs flexibility and power (June 2003).

  Dungeon Siege ($50), from MacSoft (www.macsoft games.com): This almost perfect, action-packed dungeon crawl will appeal to fans of Diablo and to real-time strategy gamers. It offers tons of action, and a unique skill-development system for characters (August 2003).

  DV Bank ($1,100), from Datavideo (www.datavideo-tek.com): This nifty device isn't for every videographer, but for those who need an additional capturing facility or time-lapse capability, the DV Bank is a great tool (July 2003).

  Final Cut Express 1.0 ($300), from Apple Computer (www.apple.com): At a third of Final Cut Pro's price, this DV-only video-editing package brings professional features to users looking to move up from iMovie (May 2003).

  FontLab 4.5 ($549), from FontLab (www.fontlab.com): Fontographer (or something like it) is back. Font-designer pros who take the time to tackle FontLab's somewhat confusing maze of toolbars will be rewarded with the power to create full-featured OpenType fonts (July 2003).

  formZ 4.0 ($1,495), from autodessys (www.formz.com): This completely reengineered version of the venerable solids and surface modeler and renderer was worth the wait. Architects will appreciate the new network-based renderer and the NURBS tools, though the latter still need work (August 2003).

  Kung-Log 1.44 (free), from Adriaan Tijsseling (www .kung-foo.tv): A rich feature set helps Kung-Log manage Web-logs on multiple servers. As a plus, the developer is very responsive (July 2003).

  Lift NN/g ($549), from UsableNet (www.usablenet .com): If you have a complex Web site but want to avoid the hassle of designing and testing it for maximum accessibility, look no further. This tool offers valuable references and great features for finding and fixing errors (August 2003).

  Live 2.0 ($399), from Ableton (www.ableton.com): DJs and other live musicians will love Live 2.0's ease of use, implementation of OS X music technologies, and cool new Tap Tempo feature (July 2003).

  Location X 1.2 ($10), from Alex Keresztes and Greg Novick (http://homepage.mac.com/locationmanager): This utility does most of what the old Location Manager did, and a little more. Location X is not a big deal, but it can make your life easier as you travel (July 2003).

  Mask Pro 3 ($200), from Extensis (www.extensis.com): This latest upgrade to Extensis's excellent masking plug-in for Photoshop offers a number of new selection tools and masking utilities, as well as OS X support, making it essential for the avid Photoshop user. We recommend it to anyone who needs to make quick, accurate masks (August 2003).

  NEC MultiSync LCD2080UX ($1,699), from NEC (www.nec.com): This highly flexible flat-panel LCD is tops when it comes to retaining consistent color from any angle. It offers great quality in a sleek, attractive package (August 2003).

  Orbz 2.0 ($20), from GarageGames (www.garagegames .com): Version 2.0 is Orbz's debut on the Mac, and it was definitely worth the wait. Its simple mechanics, nonviolent play, and cartoonish graphics make it a hit for families who want a game everyone can play (August 2003).

  Portfolio 6.1 ($200), from Extensis (www.extensis .com): Taking advantage of OS X's interface and structure, this version gives you the power to quickly decide whether a file is a digital asset or digital detritus (July 2003).

  PowerShot S50 ($699), from Canon (www.canon .com): Almost identical to the PowerShot S45, the 5-megapixel S50 has a full suite of manual controls, an AF illuminator, a good movie mode, and excellent photo quality (July 2003).

  PowerShot S400 Digital Elph ($599), from Canon (www.canon.com): This great 4-megapixel digital camera features a stunning all-metal body with a special scratch-resistant coating; quite good photo quality; and no red-eye problems (July 2003).

  Pro Tools LE 6 ($75), from Digidesign (www.digi design.com): Pro Tools LE 6 doesn't hold any surprises, but it does provide a comfortable transition to OS X. Its new file-management tools and MIDI capabilities are excellent additions (June 2003).

  RealBasic 5.0 ($100), from Real Software (www.real software.com): With a rebuilt compiler and debugger, and the incorporation of OS X's interface features, RealBasic remains the most fun way to develop modern and muscular Mac applications (July 2003).

  ShuttleXpress ($60), from Contour Design (www.contourdesign.com): This compact, useful controller follows neatly in the footsteps of the ShuttlePro. It offers solid construction, stylish design, and customizable features. The only downside is that its programmable buttons can't be labeled (August 2003).

  Salling Clicker 1.5 ($10), from Salling Software (www.salling.com): This preference pane lets you use your Sony Ericsson Bluetooth phone to control your Mac remotely, making it one of those wondrous little utilities that demonstrate the power of interconnected technologies (June 2003).

  Sorenson Squeeze 3.1 Compression Suite ($449), from Sorenson Media (www.sorenson.com): This all-in-one compression suite is easy to use and offers professional-quality compression and helpful Flash-stitching capabilities. But depending on the format you need, you may want to look into Discreet's Cleaner (August 2003).

  SPSS 11 ($1,145), from SPSS (www.spss.com): If you have mountains of social-sciences or business data to analyze, SPSS 11 is uniquely designed to help you. For large-scale statistical problems, it's the best choice available on the Mac (June 2003).

  TextWrangler 1.0 ($49), from Bare Bones Software (www.barebones.com): This is a moderately powerful tool for sorting, processing, and editing text files. If you spend a lot of time looking at config files or database exports, TextWrangler is a good option (July 2003).

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