Buying Guides Stories December 25, 2015

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One of the most common gifts every year is an iTunes gift card. For the techie that already has everything, it’s often the gift that many give out of a lack of other options. Nevertheless, it’s a gift that any iOS user will certainly put to use. iTunes gift cards can be used for basically anything, including music, movies, apps, TV shows, and subscriptions. If you’ve got some money to spend on iTunes now thanks to a gift card, keep reading for some of the best things on which to spend it…

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Buying Guides Stories December 17, 2015

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Every year, Apple puts together a beautiful-looking holiday gift guide on Apple.com, packed with the latest iOS devices, Macs, and accessories people would love to receive as gifts. The hitch is that Apple’s prices are almost always full retail, with no discounting, so it’s easy to spend anywhere from $5 to $300 more per item than if you shopped around.

This year, 9to5Toys and 9to5Mac have done the bargain hunting for you. We’ve found savings on virtually every item on Apple’s holiday shopping list, which this year is organized into 6 sections: Gaming, Photography, Music, Fitness, Learning and Travel. Using the links below, you can save up to $350 on a new 12″ MacBook, between $20 and $80 on many third-party accessories, and up to $130 on a pair of Beats headphones

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Buying Guides Stories December 16, 2015

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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…

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Buying Guides Stories December 13, 2015

my_first_computer_byte_v31 Apple fans are a dedicated bunch. Many of us diehards run out and buy every new gadget, making it nearly impossible for friends and family to come up with an original gift idea related to one of our biggest passions. My holiday gift guide includes items that you can’t buy from your local Apple store, but are sure to delight any fan of the company. These aren’t complementary products like a nice iPhone stand or Apple Watch band, but rather hard-to-find swag and collectibles that only real Apple fans would appreciate. Head below to take a look at my outside-the-box gift ideas for the Apple lover in your life: expand full story

Buying Guides Stories December 12, 2015

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Chances are, you’ll be doing some traveling this holiday season. Or perhaps you have someone on your gift list that is a regular puddle jumper. Below you’ll find my top-picks for either scenario that will keep all your devices organized and operating at peak performance.

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Buying Guides Stories December 11, 2015

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Earlier this month I broke down all of the gifts you should get for the Apple lover in your life that loves entertainment. Items in that guide ranged from speakers to game controllers to headphones to TVs and more. In this guide, however, I’m going to breakdown some of my personal favorites on the market right now that I use everyday, as well as some items that are on my own wish list this year. These items are all gifts that any tech lover in your life would love to receive this holiday season…

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Buying Guides Stories December 9, 2015

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In my last gift guide, I did a themed roundup of the best HomeKit gear to deck out your home this holiday season. This post is about my personal favorite items and accessories across all of iOS and Mac ecosystems, most of these products I use every day for work and for fun. My picks include the Gorillapod tripod, the Philips Hue HomeKit lights, Rock Jaw earbuds, MH30 earphones, MarsBox Bluetooth speaker, the latest Apple TV, an MFI game controller, some Elgato smart home gear and an iPad Pro. I love technology but I consciously refrain from buying too much stuff and have a relatively slim personal gadget portfolio, so these products are carefully chosen.

Read on after the break to see why I selected these ten items specifically …

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Buying Guides Stories December 7, 2015

Siri

The iPhone is an amazing device. It fits in a pocket, yet it’s an incredibly powerful computer that connects us to the world, entertains us wherever we go, and captures quality photos and videos.

However, some of the iPhone’s tricks are hidden until you connect it to specific accessories. Did you know, for example, that you can save energy on your Christmas lights using your iPhone? Or improve the quality of your sleep with an iPhone-connected sensor? Or turn your car into a giant Siri-controlled entertainment and communications system? These accessories range in price from affordable to expensive, making them perfect gifts for iPhone users who want to unlock new capabilities. Read on to discover these hidden features, as well as the accessories you should grab or put on your wish list to unlock them… expand full story

Buying Guides Stories December 4, 2015

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For many people on your gift list, you probably knew right away the sort of thing you wanted to get them, and at best needed a little help narrowing it down to a specific model. Hopefully one of our gift guides focusing on specific areas like entertainment, photography or audio will have helped.

But there may be others on your list who are trickier. You know they love technology, but there’s so much to choose from. That’s why we’ve also put together some more varied guides – all the way down to stocking stuffers.

But if you’re still looking now, you probably need more inspiration, so in this guide I’m rounding up what both 9to5Toys and Amazon have identified as some of the most popular tech products of the moment …  expand full story

Buying Guides Stories December 2, 2015

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Welcome to our Entertainment Holiday Gift Guide! Apple this year has breathed new life into its kick-back offerings with the new tvOS-powered fourth-gen Apple TV and the larger iPad Pro. Both offer new ways to relax with your Apple products and binge watch your favorite TV show, listen to the new Coldplay album, and more.

The new Apple TV is the first to feature support for Bluetooth peripherals, including headphones and speakers. The new device also features support for gaming with MFi controllers, opening up an entirely new market for Apple TV developers and users.

These are essentials accessories you need to get the most out of your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV to have the most fun and enjoyment.

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Buying Guides Stories December 1, 2015

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There’s no need to go straight to stuffing your stockings with socks and other go-to but boring gifts. If you have an Apple lover on your list, there are a ton of great must-haves for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users that can be had for under $10, $25, or $50. And if you’d rather let them decide, stick with a gift card that any Apple product user can take advantage of from places like iTunes and Amazon.

Head below for our roundup of the best stocking stuffers for Apple lovers at every price point: expand full story

Buying Guides Stories November 30, 2015

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Welcome to our iPad Holiday Gift Guide! There’s currently a lot of excitement around the world of iPad, and rightfully so.

On the software side, Apple injected new life into prior models by adding side-by-side apps and picture-in-picture video with iOS 9. In hardware, the smaller 7.9″ iPad mini family got major speed and notable display quality improvements with the iPad mini 4, while brand new 9.7″ iPad Air 2’s are being sold at prices lower than minis, and a completely new class of iPad debuted in the just-launched 12.9″ iPad Pro.

There are essential accessories in all price ranges for every iPad regardless of which size you’re addressing, and we’ve tested a lot of products over the years. Read on and please share our iPad Holiday Gift Guide so you and your loved ones can buy the best iPad accessories for the holidays.

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Buying Guides Stories November 26, 2015

Apple Black Friday Gameplan – knock out holiday shopping quickly, save tons of cash

Update: We’ve got hundreds of items in our Apple Black Friday Mac/iPhone/iPad accessories and software guide

As the Thanksgiving turkey and wine buzz starts to wear off and we head into the pinnacle of American consumerism known as Black Friday, we here at 9to5Mac have some tips which should make the shopping experience pleasant, efficient and productive. Over the next 24 hours, everything Apple related will be at the lowest prices of the year. We’re going to guide you to getting in, saving a bunch of cash and getting on your way.

First some don’ts:

  • Don’t for any reason actually go to a physical store. The 2-3 $150 50″ Best Buy TVs per store isn’t worth being in the vicinity of Black Friday shoppers and the “Door Busting”. It’s a nightmare out there. Go to a park. Play with your kids. Spend a few minutes with us and we’ll knock out that gifting.
  • Don’t actually buy anything online until Black Friday. Prices keep dropping in the runup to Black Friday. Wait. Enjoy the time with your family, watch some football. If you must, grab some small ticket items and get those out of the way. If you miss something, it will likely be around again on “Cyber Monday”.
  • Don’t buy anything at an Apple Store or Apple.com. Apple has outsourced Black Friday to their retail partners and have normal prices across the board. The stuff you buy at Target/Best Buy/Walmart/Amazon/etc.com is the exact same product and warranty you get at Apple. Pro-Tip: Apple Stores are for showrooming and repairs.
  • Don’t touch that dial. Stick with us here at 9to5Mac, 9to5Google and most importantly 9to5Toys for all of the best deals. Heck, now’s the time to subscribe to 9to5Toys TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications. We’ve got a team of 20 people scouring the web for the best deals out there and tomorrow it is going to come fast and furious.

As for Apple products, we’ve distilled the absolute best deals out there into just a few options. Important considerations include state tax at time of purchase, gift cards vs. actual savings, shipping and rewards. Also, AppleCare discounts. Here’s the quick rundown:

Apple Watch

Target, B&H and Best Buy in the US have the biggest discounts we’ve seen this year. Best Buy will knock off $50 on Sport and $100 on Stainless. Target gives you a $100 gift card on both models which is of course good for an additional 5% cash back using their RedCard. Both sites charge tax in all 50 states but offer free shipping.

However, the best option might be B&H Photo which offers the Apple Watch in fewer varieties than Best Buy but for the same $50 off Sport/$100 off Stainless. In addition, B&H throws in a $50 gift card, B&H only charges Tax in New York State which may save you big money.

B&H Photo:

Best Buy:

Target:

Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 and comes with a free $100 Target Gift Card. Use your REDcard to save an additional 5% and your effective net cost is just $231.55. That’s the lowest price we’ve seen on new Apple Watches. Target will throw in the free gift card on any in-stock Apple Watch.

Apple TV

Target has the New Apple TV for ~$50 off in store but those prices will likely hit retailers like Walmart ($112) tomorrow. HHGregg also is expected to have some availability on Black Friday at reduced cost. Staples has $25 off if you checkout with Visa Checkout. The 3rd Gen Apple TV is $50 in a number of places and $40 Geek squad refurb at Best Buy. Stay tuned.

iPods

For those of us that still love the iPod touch, there are a few nice deals around. Best Buy cuts $50 across the board, Target cuts $40-$60 and Walmart cuts $35.

iPhone

iPhones with plans from the major US carriers are marked down significantly in a number of retail outlets

iPad

iPad Air/2

iPad mini 2/3/4

iPad Pro

Macs

Mac prices and inventory will fluctuate wildly on Black Friday. Best Buy gives an extra $50 off to students on iMacs and MacBooks

Retina 12-inch MacBooks are now widely available in Gold, Silver and Space Gray. The best prices as of this writing are:

MacBook Airs: B&H are running the table as of this writing with $120 off across the board, Tax only in New York and 6 months of Parallels Access but things will likely change – stay tuned.

MacBook Pro

B&H is leading the way with $150-$500 off 13-inch MacBook Pros and $200-$500 off 15.4-inch MacBook Pros. We expect to see some lower prices at eBay and other locations through the day.

iMacs

The entry level iMac is a whopping $200 off at Best Buy ($899) and with the .EDU  credit drops down to $850 shipped. After that B&H is leading the way with at least $100-$300 off on standard models and MacMall leads the way on custom configs. We’ve heard whispers that a retailler is going to do some serious price drops so we’ll post those when they happen.

Mac mini:

B&H takes $50 off the base model which now starts at $449 and $70 and $100 off the higher models. Other places take off less but will likely drop prices tomorrow.

Mac Pros:

Again, B&H has the lowest base model price and most of the configurations along with MacMall.

The above prices and inventory will likely be all over the place on Black Friday so we’ll be updating frequently. Thanks again for joining us for Black Friday 2015.

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Welcome to 9to5Mac’s official Mac Holiday Gift Guide! This has been an exciting year for Mac lovers, thanks to the cool new 12″ Retina MacBook and 21″ Retina iMac, as well as great accessories from Apple and others. I’ve been canvassing all things Mac throughout the year, so what you’ll find inside are some great options at various price levels — everything from stocking stuffers and apps to “best gift I’ve ever received” material. Also included: the best (limited time only) prices I’ve found anywhere on new Mac computers.

Before you go further, I’d recommend that you bookmark and/or send this page to your favorite people, because either you or someone you care about is going to get a great gift from this guide. Beyond great Macs, apps, and accessories, some of my picks are designed to help an old Mac run better than new…

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If you’re buying gifts for music lovers in your life, there has never been a better time to do it: there’s a vast range of products to choose from at every price level. But here I’m focusing on the premium end of the market – a main gift for someone who you love as much as they love music!

These are products consistent with my philosophy of buying the right thing once. Gifts that will be appreciated as much a few years down the line as they will when first unwrapped.

Let’s start with headphones …  expand full story

Buying Guides Stories November 23, 2015

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Welcome to 9to5Mac’s iPhone Holiday Gift Guide. Bookmark it or send it to your favorite people, because either you or someone you care about is going to find the ideal iPhone holiday gift inside!

I’m genuinely excited to present this collection to you, because the iPhone is the one Apple product I take everywhere — and couldn’t give up. Since I’ve been using iPhones and their accessories since the first iPhone debuted in 2007, I have a lot of experience sorting the good and great stuff out from the junk.

My iPhone Holiday Gift Guide picks are all best-of-breed options, selected for their combination of reasonable pricing and excellent performance. Whether you’re looking for the perfect case, great headphones, a smart car mounting solution, a battery pack, or a way to improve your iPhone’s camera, you’ll find the smartest iPhone gift picks below…

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Buying Guides Stories November 16, 2015

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Human curation matters. We trust recommendations from friends and experts more than suggestions by the best computers. That’s why millions of people come to 9to5Mac each month to discover our product recommendations!

Product reviews are great if you know the exact product you want to buy, but they rarely cover all the best products in one place. That’s why Curate With Me is here — to connect you with curated lists of great products recommended by friends and experts.

Curate With Me helps you canvas categories of products, apps, and dining experiences that other people are recommending, combining the power of Reddit-style upvotes with Pinterest-like visuals. Lots of experts, including the 9to5Mac team, are already creating Curate With Me guides. It’s a place where Apple fans, beauty mavens, foodies, gamers, home decorators and everyone with product knowledge can come together to spotlight the best of everything!

Want a shot at winning this year’s best Apple gift? Sign up for Curate With Me at this link and contribute ideas to our 2015 Ultimate Apple Holiday Gift Guide. After one week, the person who contributed the most upvoted item in the Guide will get to pick one or more items from the list (worth up to $200), courtesy of Curate With Me! So get curating right away to maximize your votes! More details are below…. (Update: Congrats, Aaron P!)

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Buying Guides Stories November 12, 2015

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If you own an iPhone or Mac, you’re probably a photographer — either with your iPhone’s camera or a standalone camera you connect to your Mac. Just as iPhoto’s simple editing and storage tools helped Apple sell iMacs, photography has become a major marketing focus for iPhones, empowering people to capture increasingly beautiful images and videos with the one device they’re always carrying.

Over the past year, I’ve reviewed some of the very best hardware, software, and services available to Apple-loving photographers. And I’ve spent the last month adding new choices to the list. So just in time for the holidays, I’ve put together 9to5Mac’s Holiday Gift Guide with top photography picks, at price points ranging from $2.99 to $2,200. From basic accessories to smart photo backup solutions to amazing photo-to-wall art printing services, there’s something for everyone inside…

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Buying Guides Stories November 11, 2015

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New for the holiday season, Apple is offering some bundles for the photographer and videographer. The iPhones have a great camera, as demonstrated by the Shot on iPhone 6 campaign and Apple is certainly looking to capitalize on these capabilities. With these bundles, they are making it easier for a hobbyist or a professional to get started with accessories.

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Buying Guides Stories June 24, 2015

ultimatemachomeoffice

Like Apple Watches, home offices are “personal” — the look and furniture that work well for one person might not seem “right” to another. But the unified metal and glass aesthetic of Apple products works really well with modern office furniture, and there are also some iconic decor items Apple lovers can incorporate into a home office.

I spend a lot of time working from my home office, and have considered it a work in progress ever since I started building it around an aluminum PowerBook many years ago. Below, you’ll find a collection of items that will help you build a beautiful, practical home office that really spotlights your Apple gear, based on a mix of affordable and small investment-worthy choices…

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Buying Guides Stories May 27, 2015

Over the past six months, I’ve published quite a few tutorials to help Mac users improve the performance of older computers, as well as some great guides to the best Mac accessories across a variety of categories. Today, I’m tying them all together in this handy, one-stop roundup of the best Mac accessories and upgrades.

This guide walks you through everything: in one place, you can learn about the best Mac hard drives, RAM upgrades, docks, keyboards, trackpads, stands, bags, and travel accessories out there. And you can also get free apps to improve your Mac’s storage and responsiveness, find plain English explanations of your Mac’s technical specs, and learn about the little security screws Apple uses to tamper-proof its machines. There’s a lot inside, so you may want to bookmark this piece for future reference!…

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Buying Guides Stories April 20, 2015

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Traveling with any MacBook is a lot easier today than it was five or ten years ago. Apple’s latest laptops consume much less space than their predecessors, and last much longer when they’re in active use. Whether it’s on a seat-back tray or resting in your lap, your MacBook can deliver quite a few hours of productive work time, video viewing, or even gameplay without assistance. But it can do even more if you bring the right accessories along.

My goal is to help you choose the best items to carry with you on the road — the type of items I’ve spent years testing. The picks below are highly practical and focused to make good use of space and address real-world concerns that many travelers have. Read on!

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Buying Guides Stories April 16, 2015

Up until now, Bluetooth wireless audio was purely optional for Apple’s devices: every iPad, iPhone, and iPod has shipped with a 3.5mm audio port to connect with wired earbuds and headphones. The Apple Watch is different: it’s Apple’s first fully wireless device, with no user-accessible ports to connect accessories, even though it can work as a standalone music player during workouts. The lack of a headphone port is actually a positive, since tethering your wrist to your head with a cable would look silly, and isn’t ergonomically ideal. Thankfully, Bluetooth headphones have come a long way over the past few years, shrinking from gangly and boxy earmuffs into earphones comfortable enough to exercise with.

Since one of the Apple Watch’s major selling points is fitness functionality, this quick guide to the best Apple Watch headphones and earphones focuses mostly on accessories that can work anywhere, rather than options you can’t wear while exercising. But I’ll include some larger options, too, just in case you’re picking a pair for non-athletic use, or to share with your iPad, iPhone, iPod, or Mac…

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Buying Guides Stories December 18, 2014

 

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iPads need stands. Whether you’re watching videos, long-form typing, or making FaceTime calls, it’s a chore to hold the iPad upright for extended blocks of time. To address that need, Apple launched the first iPad with regular and keyboard docks, but quickly gave up on them in favor of simpler folding lids called Smart Covers.

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If you’re looking for an iPad stand or dock, you can do better than that. We know because we’ve tested lots of options for Apple’s tablets. Following up on our guide to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus docks, we’re looking today at the very best of what’s out there for every iPad, covering four broad categories: simple portable stands, simple desktop stands, cases with integrated stands, and charging docks. expand full story

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