Macworld ’s Gear Guide

Gear Guide: Part Four

Macworld ’s Gear Guide

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Music shares the spotlight with moms and dads in Part Four of Macworld ’s Gear Guide, as we sing the praises of six cool Mac-compatible gadgets for music lovers and new parents.

Music Lovers

How to Spot Them: They’re amassing what you can only assume to be the definitive collection of every song ever recorded, one 99-cent download at a time. They never leave the house without their iPod. And ever since GarageBand arrived on the scene, whatever time not devoted to listening to music is spent creating it. Fortunately, there are more than a few gift ideas out there that will help the music-lover in your life make—or just enjoy—beautiful music.

Why We Picked These Gifts: Because every digital hub needs a few cool-looking spokes.

What You’ll Spend: $50 to $149.

Other Ideas: Hardware options abound, from networked audio players like the Sonos Digital Music System to iPod accessories like the PodFreq FM transmitter from Sonnet Technologies. Or, you prefer how-tos during the holidays, you could always use iTunes to create stylish CD inserts for your music lover’s burned CDs.

Digital Boom Box

iBoom

Remember the 1980s, the glory days of the boom box? Digital Life-style Outfitters’ new iBoom is a boom box for the iPod generation. Plop any dockable iPod in the iBoom’s dock slot, and you’ve got a 20-watt sound system that can hold 10,000 songs and still fit on your shoulder. (There’s also a small slot on top that serves as a handle.) The iBoom includes an FM radio and an auxiliary input, so you’re not limited to your iPod’s music selection. The iBoom runs off AC power or six D batteries.—DAN FRAKES

$149; Digital Lifestyle Outfitters

Bend It, Shape It

MicFlex

Thanks to Apple’s GarageBand, closet rock stars can now afford to make music at home. Recording vocals for your creations is easy and affordable with the MacMice MicFlex. It’s a unique USB microphone that you can use for everything from voice-overs to lead vocals to acoustic-guitar ballads. The flexible steel tube bends into many configurations, and you can remove the mike from the base and plug it directly into your Mac.—JEFF TOLBERT

$50; MacMice

Share the Love

JBL OnTour

True music fans aren’t happy just enjoying their tunes alone; they want to recruit new disciples of their latest melodic discoveries. Two portable speaker systems from Harman Multimedia let the audiophiles in your life share their tunes wherever they go. The JBL OnTour (pictured above) is a slick little package that hooks up to computers, MP3 players, CD players, and more through a stereo minijack. For better sound, try the JBL OnStage, a donut-shaped docking station; its included adapters can accommodate all iPods. (A stereo minijack lets you connect almost anything else.) Then add a copy of Playlist , Mac Publishing’s new cross-platform magazine devoted to digital music.—FRITH GOWAN

JBL OnTour, $100; JBL OnStage, $200; Harman Multimedia; Playlist, $6 on newsstands

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