iPhone Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Still looking for gifts for the iPhone owner in your life (or if people are asking you what you want)? Here are some suggestions that we think you’ll like. Trust me, there is something for everyone.

These gift ideas should be a good start and cover a range from the easy stocking stuffer/Secret Santa gift level to something more expensive. Let’s face it though, I picked 12 things here for this list, but I could have filled it with tons more stuff. So if you’re stuck for ideas or just want to know “is this any good?”, ask in the comments. We promise we’ll try not to ruin the surprise.

iTunes or Apple Store card

Price: up to you.

Site: Apple store online or near you.

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Right off the bat, these are not cop out gifts. If you know someone is addicted to apps, book, or music and you give them money to spend on whatever they want, how can you go wrong? Really, have you ever had someone turn up their nose at an iTunes gift card? Same goes for an Apple Store card. Have some bucks to spend at (probably) one of your favorite stores? The only caveat I have on either of these is the whole country issue. My mom (who lives in the States), kept buying my kids American iTunes cards. Which was nice, but they couldn’t use them. So I bought Canadian cards of the same value and traded numbers (since I do have an American iTunes account in addition to my Canadian one). For Apple Store cards, I haven’t personally had an issue with using American cards in Canada, however ask before you buy if you’re sending the card to someone in another country.

Joby GripTight Stand

Price: $30

Site: Joby

JOBY JM2 urban

I’ve had a few adapters to mount my iPhone onto a tripod, but none as simple and adaptable as this one. You can buy the GripTight alone from Joby or with a GorillaPod (the bendy tripod), but I really like this set up. The GripTight adapter screws onto a wee tripod/stand that is perfect for FaceTime or shooting video. And portable? Heck the whole thing is about the size of my car key (stand and adapter). Since the Grip Tight does come off of the little stand I can use it with any of my tripods I have (including a GorillaPod I’ve had for ages). The best part, I think, is that the Grip Tight doesn’t make me take my phone out of the case to use it. In fact the clamp is marketed that if fits lots of different phone models, so a one trick pony this is not!

Bonus, if you just use the bottom part of the stand, it holds an iPad mini quite nicely. So it’s truly an multipurpose device.


Price: $70

Site: OlloClip

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I picked up an OlloClip for my iPhone 4 over the summer and loved the pictures I took with it. Yeah it doesn’t fit my iPhone 5 (without some shims), but there is an iPhone 5 version out now, so….hmm. Anyway, the wide angle and macro lenses are the coolest part. I happen to like the look of fisheye lenses, so I did use it a lot. Other folks, not so much. But for the iPhone photographer on your list, this is an easy, peasy gift that will make him or her smile with kid-like glee.

Telephoto Lens

Price $35

Site: PhotoJoJo

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Sticking with the photography angle here, I’ve always thought this is a cool idea. Connect a telephoto lens to your iPhone (a tripod and adapter is included in the sets I’ve seen) for great distance shots. None of the lenses have autofocus, so you’ll have to do that old school, but getting the awesome shot from far away just got easier.

TwelveSouth BookBook (for iPhone 5)

Price: $60

Site: TwelveSouth

Twelvesouth bbiphone5 camera hires

I had a BookBook for my iPhone 4, and while I loved using it, the lack of a built-in hole for the camera got old. The iPhone 5 version does have a camera hole so…get it! I found I could carry everything I usually carried in my wallet in the BookBook. In fact I used the BookBook as a wallet for a while even after I took my iPhone out of it.

The leather ages so nicely and I think it makes a nice retro look (with utility) for an iPhone.

Elevation Dock

Price: $90 for dock, $15 for Lightning adapter (for iPhone 4 model to support iPhone 5)

Site: Elevation Lab

Elevation dock

The Elevation Dock won praise for its elegant, simple style and beautiful quality. However, it came out about the time iPhone 5 did. Ouch. Undaunted Elevation has not just an iPhone 5 version, and iPhone 4 version, but also an adapter for the original for the iPhone 5. This dock is probably one of the closest pieces of functional art you could have on your desk.


Price $35

Site: Apple store

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If you have an iPhone 5, well you have a pair of these already. How about share the joy of these with someone with an older iPhone (or iPod or iPad)? Much better fit, much better sound, and the control bar is easer to use as well.

Jawbone Jambox

Price: $150

Site: Jawbone

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I think we can all agree that the built-in speakers on the iPhone make most music sound tinny and muddled. In a pinch, sure, but for more than a song, it’s painful. Instead of picking a larger, less portable, speaker for the iPhone gift list, I’m going with the Jambox here. Why? Because it’s small, portable, battery-powered, and works nicely over Bluetooth. Choice of colors, meh, I care more about the sound. They aren’t going to blow your mind, but they do sound good. Good enough for a party or listening at your desk or in the park. Bonus, it can also serve as a speaker phone with a built in mic.

Apple TV

Price: $100

Site: Apple Store

Apple TV 002

This might not be the first thing you think of when thinking about iPhone accessories, but streaming audio and video to an Apple TV is just so easy and the price of Apple’s “hobby” can’t be beat for all the awesomeness you get. What has really impressed me the most is that when streaming an HD video from my iPhone or iPad to my TV there is no loss of quality. The picture and sound are amazing. Plus with iTunes Match and Home Sharing you can watch/listen to your iTunes library as well.


Price: $10-30

Site: Cocoon

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This isn’t as much for your iPhone as it is for everything else. The Grid-It is covered in little elastic bands that hold your gear in place. I have one that stays in my bag all the time that has all my critical adapters, connectors, etc on it. If I need to switch bags, I just grab that one thing and put it in my bag. That takes care of moving almost all my critical stuff. My wife has one in her purse for make up and all that other stuff. She didn’t think she’d like it at first, but now it’s the first thing into her go bag (not her purse, that’s different).

Grid-Its come in lots of sizes, colors, and features. I can’t recommend them enough. Yeah they look strange, but once you start using one, you get it.

iKlear cleaning kits

Price: $10-30

Site: iKlear

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Oleophobic my tush. iDevice screens start getting pretty smudged pretty fast. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to stop and reshot video or stills after I realize how icky the screen looks. I like the iKlear stuff. Spray on the cloth (not the device), buff off. Done. I like the little travel wipes as well for use on the go. Even if you don’t use the cleaning solution all the time, the cloths are great alone for getting smudges off your screens.

Evernote Smart Notebook by Moleskine

Price: $25-30

Site: Evernote

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As a bridge between the physical and digital, I give you the Evernote Smart Notebook. Unlike other physical-to-digital notebooks, this doesn’t require a special pen or really anything fancy at all. Just write, doodle, note, draw as you usually would, then use Evernote on your iPhone to take a picture of the page in page capture mode. The paper has cool dotted lines that help with the capture process plus stickers that let you automatically add tags to the note as well. Personally I’v carried Moleskine notebooks for years and love the feel of them to write on, these Smart Notebooks are a great extension of something that I love to do already.

Those are my picks, and just for the iPhone, more are coming for Macs and iPads, what did I miss?

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