If you're enough of a fan of Apple’s designs that you insist that your accessories not spoil the aesthetic, take note: We’ve rounded up some of our favorite gear that will blend right in with the aluminum-and-black motif of an Apple-equipped home or office.
And if you’re doing some last-minute holiday shopping for a Mac-using friend or family member, you can't go wrong with these items—they're sure to look at home next to any Mac.
Twelve South HiRise for iMac
The stand on Apple’s latest iMacs and displays isn’t always tall enough. Twelve South’s $80 HiRise for iMac raises your iMac or Apple display while also providing some hidden storage for hard drives, accessories, or even a Mac mini.
Looking much like a Mac Pro laid on its side, the sturdy, metal HiRise provides an adjustable interior shelf for the base of your iMac, Cinema Display, or Thunderbolt Display. (One of the shelf slots is designed specifically for a 27-inch iMac to line up perfectly with a Thunderbolt Display.) The front and back ventilated panels attach either with screws or magnets, the latter making it easy to access your gear.
Just Mobile AluRack and HeadStand
Looking for a place to stash your MacBook while using an external display? Or to hide your backup drive? Just Mobile’s $60 AluRack (right) mounts securely to the leg of an iMac, Thunderbolt Display, or Cinema Display and holds either a closed MacBook or a hard drive. The AluRack is made of aluminum with an antiscratch coating on the cradle.
The $50 HeadStand (left), on the other hand, is designed to show off your gear—specifically, to keep your stylish headphones on display and within easy reach. The aluminum headphone stand holds one large set of headphones or two smaller sets, and you can even wrap your headphone cable in the large groove in the stand’s base.
Rain Design mTower
Like the AluRack, Rain Design’s $50 mTower holds your MacBook securely while you're using an external display. But instead of hiding your laptop, the mTower proudly keeps it in plain view. Made from a single piece of solid aluminum, the mTower conserves desk space while helping to keep your closed MacBook cool thanks to dedicated ventilation slots and an upright position that improves airflow over the bottom of your laptop.
Macessity LapTuk Pro Stand
Want the convenience of the HiRise with the laptop storage of the mTower? Macessity’s $95 LapTuk Pro Stand raises your iMac or external display 2.5 inches and provides a convenient slot that holds any recent Apple laptop while still allowing you to access the MacBook’s ports and drives. (You can instead use the slot for an iPad, hard drives, or other accessories.)
A second slot on the bottom offers a place to stash your keyboard, and a powered, four-port USB 2.0 hub makes it easy to connect your desktop peripherals to your MacBook with a single cable. The solid-steel LapTuk Pro is 16.1 inches wide and 11 inches deep, and it holds up to 35 pounds.
Satechi USB Hub
Satechi’s $28 ST-UHA Satechi Premium 4 Port Aluminum USB Hub is a USB 2.0 hub designed to perfectly match the rear of Apple's Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard—and apart from a slightly steeper angle on the face, matches it does, right down to the shiny endcaps. The aluminum hub connects to your Mac by way of a conveniently short cable, and the ST-UHA is compact enough to toss in your laptop bag.
Elecom Ultra-compact USB Memory
Speaking of USB, for those who insist that even USB flash drives match their MacBook, Elecom’s Ultra-compact USB Memory ($59 for 16GB, $91 for 32GB), imported from Japan by GeekStuff4U, is a tiny USB 2.0 drive that sports the same metal finish as Apple's laptops do. In fact, it matches so well that you’d be forgiven if you forgot the drive was even plugged in. (You might want to encrypt the contents of the drive just in case you lose it.)
Given that you can buy a brand-name 32GB USB stick for $20, this 2-gram, aluminum drive epitomizes the term “luxury item.” But we all have our vices, right? (HT to iLounge+Mac.)
Ultralink USB speakers
Most computer speakers require a power cable, audio cables, and lots of space. Ultralink’s $150 UCube Compact USB Digital Loudspeakers, on the other hand, use a single cable to draw both power and audio from your Mac’s USB port. (A second cable connects the left and right speakers.)
As a result of their smaller size and the limited power provided by USB ports, USB speakers generally don’t sound as good as AC-powered computer speakers, but the UCube is one of the better USB-powered systems out there—and the speakers look great underneath your iMac or Apple display, or bookending your MacBook.
Everyone needs an external hard drive (you do back up to an external drive, right?), but few drives look as good connected to a Mac as G-Technology’s G-Drive line. The desktop G-Drive (shown here; $230 to $350) sports USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and FireWire 800 interfaces. The portable, bus-powered G-Drive mini ($150 to $200) features FireWire and either USB 3.0 or USB 2.0. Both models use 7200-rpm drives, include USB and FireWire cables, and come in an aluminum enclosure that doubles as a heat sink to keep the fanless drives cool.
If you're looking for a hard drive for a 2010-or-later Mac mini, NewerTech's aluminum miniStack ($79 to $1130, depending on storage options) is a perfect mate. Thanks to identical footprints, the miniStack and the Mac mini stack perfectly, with the two connecting via FireWire 800/400, USB 3.0/2.0, or eSATA. (FireWire and USB cables are included.) You can even pile multiple miniStacks on top of one another and daisy-chain them together using FireWire.
NewerTech sells the miniStack empty for DIY-ers, or you can order it with a traditional hard drive (500GB to 4TB) or a speedy solid-state drive (SSD, 120GB to 960GB). The company also sells the miniStack Classic for pre-2010 Mac mini models.
Belkin Charge + Sync Dock for iPhone 5
We’re still waiting for iPhone 5 docks that have Apple’s new Lightning connector built in. Instead, Belkin’s $30 Charge + Sync Dock with Audio Port uses your iPhone's own Lightning-connector cable: Just thread the cable through the Charge + Sync’s base, and it plugs into your phone’s Lightning-connector port whenever you dock the phone, letting you charge the handset and sync it with your Mac. (The dock also works with the latest iPod touch.)
A pass-through headphone plug lets you listen to headphones (or powered speakers) while your phone is docked, and you can easily remove your Lightning cable when you need to take it with you. The dock is made of plastic, but it still matches Apple’s aluminum products well.
Bowers & Wilkins P5
We liked Bowers & Wilkins’s $300 P5 Mobile Hi-Fi Headphones so much when the product debuted in 2010 that we gave it an Eddy award. The P5 remains one of the best portable headphones on the market, as well as one of the most attractive thanks to its black-and-silver, metal-and-leather design that looks great next to your Mac—and hanging from the aforementioned HeadStand. (The P5 is now available in creamy white and silver, as well.)
The P5 offers full-size-headphone sound quality and comfort, outstanding passive noise isolation, and superb construction. We love the swappable, no-strain cables and the magnetically attached, replaceable earpads; the Apple-style, three-button inline remote/microphone works with both your Mac and your iOS devices.
If you favor in-ear headphones over full-size models, Swedish company Nocs creates audio accessories with a modern, clean design that just so happens to mirror Apple’s aesthetic. The company’s $200, top-of-the-line NS800 canalphone headset features high-quality, balanced-armature drivers housed in surprisingly tiny stainless-steel earpieces. The result is a pair of in-ear headphones that look great and sound great, with crisp, clear highs; natural midrange; and solid, tight bass performance.
Available with black or white accents, the NS800 sports an Apple-style, three-button inline remote and microphone. (This slide was adapted from our article on great-sounding and great-looking headphones.)
Sanho HyperJuice 2 battery
Plan on being away from power for a while? Sanho’s sleek, aluminum, $300 HyperJuice 2 External Battery will keep your gadgets going. This 100-watt-hour lithium ion battery sports two USB ports and a power jack for your MacBook, letting you power three devices—including two iPads—simultaneously. (Powering a MacBook requires Apple's MagSafe Airline Adapter.)
Sanho claims the HyperJuice 2 can power a 13-inch MacBook Pro for up to 18 hours, an iPad 2 for 50 hours, or a third- or fourth-generation iPad for 34 hours. A screen on the end of the battery shows the remaining battery percentage and time, as well as the battery’s temperature. The battery uses a modular design, so you can upgrade the battery cells down the road.
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