Must-have hardware for your new Mac

The right hardware for your new best friend

Apricorn Aegis NetDock - Mac Edition

Love your new MacBook or MacBook Air, but wish it had more connectivity options? The Apricorn Aegis NetDock might be what you’re looking for. This three-in-one docking station was designed with the MacBook and MacBook Air in mind, and essentially gives desktop functionality to these smaller Macs. Requiring just a single USB connection, it features a dual-layer DVD burner, a four-port USB hub, two “always on” USB ports for charging, and a high capacity 2.5-inch SATA hard drive enclosure. Use the NetDock to connect your MacBook to several USB devices at once, for extra storage (500GB and 1TB versions available), or to add new software.

$69 to $229, depending on storage; Apricorn

Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX

If you want something different than trackpad navigation or Apple’s Magic Mouse, the Logitech Anywhere Mouse MX is a great alternative. According to Logitech, this portable high-performance mouse can be used on practically any surface (hence the name), including glass, granite, and lacquered wood. The wireless mouse also features Logitech’s Unifying receiver, a tiny USB dongle that supports up to six compatible wireless devices (meaning your mouse and wireless keyboard can share a single USB port).

$60; Logitech

Jawbone Jambox

The compact, colorful Jawbone Jambox portable Bluetooth speaker produces stereo-quality sound at a fraction of the size. It easily pairs with your Mac, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch–turning the Jambox on actually puts it into pairing mode and quickly finds your Bluetooth device. Its rubber body and solid, rectangular shape ensure that the Jambox stays in place while blasting tunes–an impressive feat for a device that only weighs 1.5 pounds. Use the Jambox to listen to music, as an additional speaker when watching movies on your iPad, or dictate incoming text messages from your iPhone.

$199; Jawbone

Be.ez LA Robe Air Sleeves for MacBook Air

The Be.ez LA Robe Air sleeve snugly fits your MacBook Air and offers lightweight, yet sturdy, protection–a winning combination for MacBook Air owners. The LA Robe is made of low-resilience polyurethane, which acts like memory foam that dissipates impact and then slowly returns to its original shape. A padded lip inside the sleeve’s zippered opening offers additional shock protection and prevents the zipper from scratching your notebook. Rest assured that this sleeve will keep your MacBook safe in a bag or backpack filled with other goodies.

$30; Be.ez

MonoPrice Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt to HDMI, DVI & DisplayPort Adapter

Connecting your new MacBook to a different display requires an additional adapter–one formatted for Thunderbolt. MonoPrice’s Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt to HDMI, DVI & DisplayPort Adapter fits that need for a bargain price. One end (the Mini DisplayPort side) connects to the output of your MacBook, and the other end has DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI output ports. You can only connect to one display at a time with this adapter, but the combined output ports means that this single adapter will fit most standard display ports.

$14; MonoPrice

Focal JMlab XS Book desktop speakers

Music aficionados will like the Focal JMlab XS Book Music System, a solid set of desktop speakers that physically match your new iMac. These heavy-duty speakers each house a 0.75-inch tweeter and a 4-inch woofer, which produce crisp, rich sound with hefty bass. The right-hand speaker has an internal power supply, RCA inputs, a 3.5 mm stereo input jack, and a single RCA-style jack for connecting the left speaker. The rotating volume control is also the power button. Although we wish the XS Book speakers were connected via USB instead of headphone jack, they pack enough power to fill a medium-sized room with sound­, making it a great desktop companion.

$399; Focal

Wacom Bamboo Tablet Line

Hobbyists and professional artists alike will find something to sing about in Wacom’s updated line of Bamboo Tablets. These three drawing tablets each meet specific needs–the Bamboo Connect is designed for business illustration and doodling, the Bamboo Capture ships with Sketchbook and Photoshop Elements to grab the attention of photographers and budding illustrators, and the large Bamboo Create was made with artists in mind, since it ships with Corel’s Painter Essentials and has a pressure-sensitive work surface. Each tablet comes with a stylus and provides digital inking functionality within any installed illustration application.

$80 to $200, depending on the model; Wacom

TwelveSouth BassJump2 Subwoofer

Sometimes the sound quality of the MacBook’s built-in speakers just won’t cut it, if you’re, say, watching an action movie or listening to a bass-heavy album. For an extra sound boost, check out the BassJump 2 Subwoofer by Twelve South. This compact device connects to your MacBook with a USB cord and adds extra bass and midrange frequencies to your laptop’s built-in speakers. It’s compatible with third-party USB speakers as well as Apple’s Thunderbolt Display speakers, but make sure you have Mac OS 10.5 or later.

$70; TwelveSouth

Apple Care Protection Plan

Any new Apple product should be properly covered with an Apple Care plan, especially a new Mac. The Apple Care Protection Plan extends the basic one-year limited warranty and 90-day telephone tech support that comes with every Mac, and includes global repair coverage in case something goes wrong. It also covers Apple hardware support, Mac OS X, iLife, and iWork.

$149 to $349, depending on your Mac configuration; Apple Store

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