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Six 'must-have' MacBook Pro accessories (summer-2013 update)

I've had my MacBook Pro for over six months, and here is a list of must-have accessories that I have bought (and carry around with me) to augment my new system.
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1 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Introduction

Switching from a PC to a Mac notebook has meant buying a handful of new accessories for the system. When I initially purchased the new notebook I published details of the initial crop of accessories I'd purchased to accompany it. But, as you might imagine, these have changed over time.

Here is an updated list of 'must-have' accessories that I have bought to augment my MacBook Pro system.

Image source: Apple.

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2 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

SKB iSeries 1813-5 waterproof laptop case

While I initially made use a G-Form sleeve to protect my MacBook Pro, it had two shortcomings. First, I couldn't pack any accessories in with the notebook, and secondly, while it offered a great deal or protection, I didn't feel that it offered enough, especially when I was taking my MacBook Pro with me on the road. Yes, it was fine for short trips to coffee shops and on-site, but anything more than that was a worry.

I've now augmented the G-Form sleeve with an SKB iSeries 1813-5 hard waterproof laptop case. This Mil-Spec, TSA-approved lockable case can take a notebook up to 17-inches, and has space in the lid and underneath the notebook for stuff. I have ripped out the leather divider supplied to give me more space, as we as added more foam to the underneath to life the notebook platform up to give me more space since the MacBook Pro is so thin, and these modifications allow me to carry a whole host of accessories, from external hard drives to power supplies.

Great case, highly recommended.

Price: $199.99.

Image source: SKB.

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3 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Twelve South PlugBug

I love my gadgets, but more gadgets means more chargers, which in turn means having to have more wall outlets.

The Twelve South PlugBug solves this problem by combining the MacBook Pro charger with a 2.1A USB charger. The output of the USB charger is powerful enough to charge an iPad, which means having to carry one less wall wart.

The only problem I've had with the PlugBug is that the plastic seam broke open after a few weeks. While I was able to fix this with a little adhesive, it is a little disconcerting to have electrified internals exposed.

Fantastic idea, could do with being a little more robust.

Price: $34.99.

Image source: Twelve South.

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Apple Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter

In an effort to make the MacBook Pro as thin as possible, Apple has done away with the gigabit Ethernet port. So this isn't something that I use all that often—Wi-Fi has all but replaced it—but there are times when I have to resort to a wired connection.

This is where Apple's Thunderbolt to gigabit Ethernet adapter comes in handy. I can throw it into a notebook bag and it's there waiting for me when I need it.

Since I take a lot of photographs, and I back up to a NAS box, I need a fast connection, and this dongle gives me just that.

Price: $29.

Image source: Apple.

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2TB Western Digital My Passport drive

The 256GB internal SSD on the MacBook Pro doesn't go far, especially when you're an avid photographer!

I love the 2TB My Passport. It's small, relatively fast thanks to USB 3.0 connectivity, and doesn't need an external power supply.

I use this when on the road, and back it up to separately, to another external hard drive, a NAS box, and the cloud.

Price: $105.

Image source: Western Digital.

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6 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple AirPort Time Capsule

There are two reasons I bought an Apple Time Capsule. First, I wanted an 802.11ac Wi-Fi access point to play with, and secondly, I now own enough Mac products to make owning a backup device that can leverage OS X's Time Machine software worthwhile.

A Time Capsule isn't cheap, but it makes backing up Macs a breeze.

Price: $299 for 2TB, $399 for 3TB.

Image source: Apple.

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7 of 7 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Apple USB Superdrive

In the pursuit of offering a device that is as thin as possible, Apple kicked the optical drive to the curb along with the Ethernet port.

Being without a CD or DVD drive on the MacBook Pro wasn't a deal-breaker for me, but I still use disks often enough that having a drive I can take with me is handy, hence the reason I grabbed Apple's USB Superdrive. Being no bigger than a CD case means that it is ultra-portable, and only needing a single USB cable for both data transfer and power means I don't end up with a huge kludge of wiring.

Many thought I would not carry this around with me that much, but it has proved itself invaluable over the six moths I've had the MacBook Pro.

Price: $79.

Image source: Apple.

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