In 2016, Apple is currently offering a set of Beats Solo2 Wireless Headphones if you buy a Mac for college by mid-September. They also offer a free set of Powerbeats2 Wireless Headphones when you buy an iPad PRO model (only) - or an iPhone 6 or 6s (only.) These are a good thing, because frankly young folk like to BLAST their music to people who might not share their audio preferences. But that's what being young is like - not knowing where your sound-space ends and others right not to have to listen to it begins. Kudos to Apple for choosing personal listening headphones as their 2016 Back-To-School promo!
Amazon is also featuring back to college deals and discounts for computer technology needed to gear up for the school year with thier Shop Amazon For Off To College promo loaded with Mac compatible accessories and gadgets.
For most secondary ed and college bound students, I recommend the ultra-light and ultra slim MacBook Air to ease the pain of lugging around just that much LESS along with their textbooks and whatnot. Select students in certain fields of art and design, architecture and others might really need the added screen space and extra CPU horsepower of a full-blown 15" MacBook Pro laptop, but they may be the exception.
Check out these pages of specific MacBook Air peripherals and MacBook Pro accessories that MacGizmoGuy recommends to round-out your Apple compatible computing gadget arsenal.
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Best Tax Software For Mac
Download TurboTax 2015 For OSX
NOTE: Self-Employed and Schedule-C filers need to buy the Home & Business edition to unlock Sched-C and home office deduction features. The Deluxe version no longer does that. While you can pay to upgrade to Intuit's Home & Biz version from inside the Deluxe software if you need to, it's cheaper to buy the Biz version in the first place.
TurboTax Mac 2015 is also available in boxed retail packaging on DVD if you need it. Frankly though, with Apple having discontinued the inclusion of a SuperDrive in any of it's more recent Macintosh desktop and laptop computers, most will simply prefer the downloadable Mac OSX version of the tax software linked above.
If you prefer to use H&R Block's Tax software for Mac OSX, here's a slightly more affordable alternative than Intuit's TurboTax Deluxe:
H & R Block Tax Software 2015
Deluxe Fed + State Mac Edition
Like Intuit - H&R Block's Deluxe Fed+State version doesn't include Schedule-C, rental property and small biz features. For that you'll need the Premium version.
Once you've keyed in your 2015 tax-year Federal income and expense data, and have gone over any of your deductions, the Turbotax application can likewise assist with State tax prep for those Mac owners who live in states which require them. The crucial data from your Federal filing gets automatically imported into the State portion to ease the procedure. One may then additionally e-File (electronically submit your returns) over the web for faster, paperless filing and getting a return quicker.
Best ThunderBolt 2 Dock - From OWC
Multi-Port Support + USB Charging
Some of the Apple ThunderBolt 2 docks have seen port changes and enclosure redesigns as they've been revised. Depending on whether the new docks are from Belkin, Matrox, ElGato, OWC or others - you may or may no longer have FireWire 800 or eSATA connectors. Higher power USB 3.0 ports may be offered to better support charging high-demand USB devices like Apple iPad tablets. Others have shifted from DVI to HDMI as the supported video out as vendors strive to match their docking hardware with the kinds of interfaces most currently in demand.
It's important to note though that Apple's implementation is just the 1st revision of the USB 3.1 standard. Rev 1 means any new devices connected to it will still operate at USB 3.0's 5Gbps speed. It won't be until full USB 3.1 SuperSpeed+ (Plus) chipsets are used in future Macs that the data transfer rates will bump up to SS+ 10Gbps speeds - and on a par with 1st generation Apple ThunderBolt devices.
In a way, that's okay. Very few Apple computer peripherals need or can even come close to maxing out a 5Gbps USB connection anyway. Really, only multi-drive RAID storage arrays and 4K video displays need that kind of bandwidth. (And in particular - PCIe based solid-state drive arrays.) As such, expect the industry-wide rollout of SuperSpeed+ to 10Gbps to be a slow one. It remains to be seen if, how and when Apple implements it across their MacBook and desktop line in the year ahead.
Mac And IOS Brother Laser
Airprint Compatible B&WPrinter
Plunk one of these in the middle of your home or business - and ANY Apple, Windows or Android device will easily print to it wirelessly. Sure it only prints black and white. For the rarer times where you actually NEED color. you can always have a secondary ink-sucking color inkjet photo printer when needed.
Portable Epson Printer WF-100
WiFi Mobile Direct Printing + USB
This 3.5 pound printer offers an LCD display control panel, USB and WiFi connectivity, and a Lithium Ion battery that's rechargeable via AC adapter (included) or from your MacBook's USB port when needed. Easily print from an Apple iPad, iPhone, tablets, smartphones as well as PC or Mac laptops.
For a listing of all the Apple compatible mobile printing solutions available: Visit http://www.maclaptopprinters.com to see what's available from HP, Canon and Epson.
In the past quarter - which spans the holiday shopping season - Apple sold a record-breaking 5.4 million Mac systems. That's great for both MacGizmoGuy's like me - and consumers like you. The market trend towards dominance in cell-phones and computing tablets has been somewhat detrimental to the shrinking share of the pie for conventional desktop computer peripherals and Mac accessories. Although there's some cross-over, many gadget and gizmo manufacturers are focusing ever-more R&D dollars towards mobile computing products geared for handhelds.
With Apple on trajectory to likely sell 20+ million Macs, 5 or more million each quarter. 4+ million of those will be MacBooks. That helps insure a reasonably healthy market for conventional computing peripherals designed especially for Mac.
Cheap Mac Mini Computer
Price Starting Under $500
You could say this price cut is long overdue when commodity value-priced desktop Windows PC's have easily hit the $249 - $399 price range. So at least Apple is moving in the right direction. What's the tradeoff for the cost savings? Besides the ongoing general trend of lower electronic component costs, Apple has opted for a modest 500Gb hard drive, and a SLOWER CPU clock-speed in the Intel i5 processor down to 1.4Ghz. Yes, it's slower than it's predecessor, but for the average Mac user at home, it's dual-core CPU can handle everyday tasks with ease regardless. Remember, with TurboBoost, Intel processors can temporarily throttle up their clock speed when they're doing demanding tasks as needed.
But don't underestimate this super-cheap Mac mini Late 2014: In addition to quad SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports - it also features an upgrade to the latest 2nd generation 20Gbps ThunderBolt 2 interface, an SDXC card slot, HDMI video, Gigabit Ethernet that you can hold in the palm of your hand. And if you need more there are certainly higher-end models and build-to-order options to get an SSD / Fusion drive and much higher clock speed CPU if your wallet wants it.
Canon AirPrint Portable Printer
Wireless + USB Photo Prints
Although competitor Hewlett-Packhard has it's OfficeJet 100 and 150 Mac compatible mobile printing solutions, they only offer wireless Bluetooth printing. So the addition of AirPrint compatibility for your Mac and any iOS devices is welcomed. However, unlike Canon's iP110 and 100, an internal battery is included and not a separate, optional and external add-on.
For a big picture view of currently shipping MacBook Pro and Air portable printing solutions, inks and accessories visit: http://maccompatibleprinters.com
Portable ThunderBolt RAID Drive
Dual 2.5" Drive Modules
Utilizing two 2.5" laptop size hard drives in a portable enclosure with integrated ThunderBolt cable, WD is delivering a portable ThunderBolt hard drive with excellent HDD performance up to 233Mbps using spinning platter mechanisms. The drive can be configured as Striped RAID 0, Mirrored RAID 1, or as JBOD for dual independent drives. Although SSD prices have come down precipitously in the past year, 2 and 4TB solid-state drive capacities still aren't affordable for most.
In a Striped RAID 0 configuration, 233Mbps significantly outperforms any single HDD solution and approaches the data transfer speeds a much lower capacity single SSD flash memory drive would provide at these price points.
For a wide range of Mac compatible ThunderBolt Storage solutions visit www.thunderbolt-hard-drive.com for the fastest file transfers and Apple TimeMachine backups ever!
Blue Tiki USB Condenser Mic
Dual Mode : Speech Or Music
Samson Go-Mic Portable USB
Cardioid or Omnidirectional Patterns
For a wide variety of recommended USB microphones for Mac desktop and MacBook laptop use, visit this site dedicated to better sounding audio capture and speech recognition on your Macintosh: http://www.mac-microphones.com