With Hanukkah over and Christmas only a week away, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve already completed most of your holiday shopping. But just in case you haven’t, I wanted to share a handful of last-minute gift picks that are great for Apple lovers, reasonably priced, and guaranteed to be in stock as of the time of posting.
These picks are all recent — 2015 releases — and hand-selected to be particularly worthwhile. Read on for the details…
1. Apple Watch. Thanks to new colors, new software, and lower prices, it’s no surprise that the Apple Watch has become one of the season’s most popular gifts. I still wear mine every day, and at today’s heavily discounted ($100 off) B&H pricing, with no tax outside NY State, any model you choose is a much better value. As a $249 gift for a wife or girlfriend, the 38mm Apple Watch Sport comes in gold, rose gold, silver, or gray aluminum, each with your preferred band color. The larger 42mm Sport model is better-suited to mens’ wrists, and sells for $299.
2. An Apple Watch Band. Getting the right band for your wrist takes the Apple Watch from “pretty good” to “must wear.” I was less than fully enthusiastic about the rubbery Sport Band that shipped with my Watch, but the moment I added Apple’s Milanese Band, I fell in love — it’s the best watch band I’ve ever owned, and should be for $150. JETech sells a virtually identical knock-off for under $30, and if you don’t mind slight imperfections in the links, consider it. Otherwise, look to this collection of top-rated alternatives, which cover many different styles.
3. Nomad Stand for Apple Watch. I reviewed this stand half a year ago and it’s still my top pick, the rare Apple Watch stand that looks and feels worth the $60 asking price. My guide to the best Apple Watch stands and docks has many other options, but if I had to choose just one, Nomad Stand would be it.
4. Spigen’s Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount System For iPhones. I’ve tried dashboard mounts, air vent clips, and all sorts of wacky things that stick out of cup holders and charging outlets. The best and easiest solution I’ve ever tested, hands-down, is Spigen’s $8 set, which bundles two metal plates with a circular, air vent-mounted magnet. You choose one metal plate to put into your iPhone case, then just touch your case to the magnet to mount your iPhone in the car. I use mine every time I get into the car, and love it.
5. Anker’s Ultra-Slim Extended Battery Case For iPhones. With last week’s release of the $99 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case, Apple effectively conceded that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s can benefit from some assistance in the battery department. Save yourself nearly $60 and get Anker’s Ultra-Slim Extended Battery Case for iPhones, the top pick from our guide to the Best iPhone 6 Battery Cases, which offers superior power for only $40.
6. Eye-Fi Mobi / Mobi Pro For Photographers With iPhones or iPads. If you’re still using a standalone camera in addition to the one built into your iPhone, you’ve probably wished you could share the camera’s pictures immediately after taking them, rather than returning home and putting them on your computer for processing. My strongly preferred solution is Eye-Fi’s Mobi and Mobi Pro SD cards, which wirelessly send shots directly to your iPhone (or iPad, or Mac). They range from $30 to $80, and the sweet spot is the $45 16GB Mobi.
7. An iPad Stylus – Apple Pencil for iPad Pro, or Adonit’s Jot Dash for other iPads. After years of ambivalence, Apple finally embraced iOS styluses with the $99 Apple Pencil for iPad Pro, which is fantastic — but still almost impossible to find in stores (unless you’re willing to pay a premium). Adonit’s Jot Dash is a great pick for every iPad except the Pro, and readily available in your choice of colors for only $40.
8. An iPad Stand-Case. A stand is the single most conspicuous feature every iPad is missing, and the best way to add one is to incorporate it into a case. The iPad Pro’s best option is Urban Armor Gear’s $80 Composite Case, still in stock in your choice of blue or red, while iPad Airs and iPad minis are best fit with ZeroChroma’s Folio-Slide (above), which goes for $35-$50 depending on the model.
9. A Backup or Video/Photo/Music Storage Drive For Your Mac. If you’re going to buy a hard drive for backups or storing important files, your best option is G-Technology’s G-Drive USB, the ultra-reliable, fast, and professional-class desktop drive I use and highly recommend. For on-the-road convenience in much smaller packages, Seagate’s ultra-thin Seven (shown above) can be had for under $100, and OWC’s tiny Envoy Pro SSDs start at $120.
10. Bluetooth Speakers or Headphones. Any Apple device — Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV or Apple Watch — sounds better when you pair it with either Bluetooth speakers or headphones. You can currently grab Apple’s first Bluetooth speaker, the just-released Beats Pill+, for a discounted price of under $185, or its regularly $380 Beats Studio Wireless headphones for only $250.
More From This Author
Check out more of my reviews, How-To guides and editorials for 9to5Mac here! I’ve published a lot of different topics of interest to Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Apple Watch users, as well as a great holiday gift guide for iPhone users, a detailed holiday gift guide for Mac users, and a separate holiday gift guide for Apple photographers.