Every year I discover new Apple products and accessories that become integral to my day-to-day lifestyle. It’s been an eventful year for Apple technology, with the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar, and the Apple Watch Series 2, and with the new products come a variety of new offerings from other companies.
Ecobee HomeKit Thermostat
While Apple may have missed the mark for a pair of its big products, there are a variety of other products on the market that would make great gifts for the Apple fanatic in your life, even if they are from third-party companies.
Read on for my personal picks for technology and Apple fans this holiday season. I’ve broken down the best gadgets, accessories, and other random technology that have become crucial to my day-to-day ritual, across a variety of different price points…
Wallet cases for iPhone have always stuck me as nerdy and unrealistic because of how many cards I keep on me. Recently, however, I’ve started using the Mujjo’s leather wallet case for iPhone 7 Plus, and I love it. The case is sleek and slim, which means it doesn’t come across as nerdy as other wallet cases do.
The Mujjo case comes in three different color choices: black, gray, and tan. Personally, I’ve been using the black option for the past few months. The case holds 2-3 cards, which certainly won’t do the trick if you carry a multitude of cards with you. Personally, I keep my state ID, student ID, and debit card in the case without issue.
While printing images may seem like a step back in terms of technology, I still enjoy printing out physical copies of my favorite images. The Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer allows you to seamlessly print image from your iPhone.
The images are the 2×3 iconic polaroid size, so they’re perfect for wallet slots or smaller frames and picture holders.
The Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer is available for $129 on Amazon and makes the perfect gift for someone who is taking a lot of important pictures.
One area of technology that I haven’t explored very much is drones. They’ve always piqued my interest, but I’ve never taken the time to sit down and research them enough to form an opinion. Earlier this year, however, Trevor over at 9to5Toys reviewed the DJI Phantom 4 and it caught my attention.
One of my initial thoughts was about how sturdy the DJI Phantom 4 was, but as Trevor notes, it’s the most well-built drone to come to market yet. It also features support for 4K video and 12MP still images, and can really produce some quality footage:
The Phantom 4 definitely has a learning curve, but if you’re buying for a tech-lover, it’s definitely something they would take the time to teach themselves. The Phantom is available on Amazon.
HomeKit has become much more mature over the past year, perhaps most notably with the launch of the new Home app in iOS 10. For this reason, I’m anticipating that HomeKit accessories will be some of the most popular techie gifts this year.
Below are some good ideas to get started with HomeKit and truly deck-out with the technology:
- Phillips Hue White Ambiance Starter Kit – $129.99
- Phillips Hue Go – $69.99
- Phillips Hue Lightstrip Plus – $89.99
- August Smart Lock – $217.99
- August Doorbell Camera – $164.99
- iDevices Switch – $41.99
My personal favorite purchase of the year have been the Bose QuietComfort 35s. I’m not the only 9to5Mac employee to praise them, and all of the praise is definitely warranted. They’re easily the most comfortable headphones I’ve used, while they also offer solid sound quality and noise cancelling.
The QuietComfort 35s may not feature Apple’s W1 chip that makes life with wireless headphones easier, but they’re still a solid choice for iPhone 7 users who need to make the switch to wireless.
The Bose QuietComfort 35s are available on Amazon for $349.
I was a skeptic of the fourth-gen Apple TV when it was first released. I wasn’t convinced that Apple was on the right track with its set-top box by putting such a heavy focus on third-party apps. As time has progressed, however, the tvOS-powered device has quickly become one of the most used devices I own.
There’s still no 4K support, which is upsetting, but the tvOS App Store has significantly matured. Now that the majority of networks are either supported by services such as DirecTV Now, or offer their own apps, the Apple TV is a viable option for both cordcutters and people who have never used streaming media before. Seriously, if you want to see someone’s face light up, get them an Apple TV and show them Netflix and how much content is instantly available.
Apple may have missed the mark with two of the most anticipated wireless options of the year, but the Powerbeats3 did actually come to market and are a solid choice for users looking for a pair of W1-equipped headphones.
The Powerebeats3 are designed with exercise in mind, featuring secure earhooks to ensure they stay on during running and other activities.
With W1 support, the Powerbeats3 can easily be paired with any iOS product, while there’s also Fast Fuel support for gaining 1 hour of battery life with just 5 minuets of charging time.
I’ve always been a fan of the Apple Watch Sport band, wearing it more often than my Milanese Loop. Recently, however, I purchased one of Apple’s Woven Nylon bands for Apple Watch and it’s quickly become my go-to choice.
The Woven Nylon band offers a slightly more sophisticated look than the Sport band does, while also being a softer and less irritative design.
The only downside with the Woven Nylon band is that it’s not waterproof, so you’ll want to make sure you either take your Apple Watch off or switch to a Sport band if you’re going to be in a water environment.
The Woven Nylon band is available for $49 in a variety of colors.
I’ve never invested in home theatre audio before, but I recently decided to dip my toe in the water with the Vizio SmartCast 38-inch 3.1-Channel Soundbar. Since switching to it from my TV’s built-in speakers, I’ve been kicking myself for not doing it sooner.
The Vizio option I’m using is by no means top of the line, but it’s definitely a notable improvement over my TV’s built-in speakers and is relatively affordable.
The package I purchased includes a soundbar and subwoofer and comes in at $169.99. I fully intend on adopting a higher-end solution at some point, but for now the Vizio 38-inch option with a subwoofer has definitely been a way for me to ease my way into home theater audio.
For more holiday gift ideas, check out our other guides below:
- How to upgrade your holiday lights with HomeKit for Siri control and automation
- Apple Watch Gift Guide: best docks, bands, and active lifestyle accessories
- Gift Guide: Michael’s favorite wallet cases for iPhone
- Premium Wireless Audio Gift Guide: a sound choice for the music lovers in your life
- Gift Guide: Ben’s top picks for the gadget lovers in your life, from $6 to $1000
- Gift Guide: Benjamin’s top ten picks for best iPhone, iPad & Mac tech gifts any Apple user will love