The Holiday Season is about to arrive, and we’ve got our Gift Guide right in time for your holiday shopping. If you have a few Apple lovers on your list, we are here to help with a handful of hardware and accessory recommendations that’ll please even the seasoned Apple veteran.
Recommended Full-Sized Tablet: iPad Air 2 ($499)
The iPad Air 2 was launched last month, with a thinner 6.1mm design, a better camera, an anti-reflective coating, Touch ID, a faster A8X chip, better GPU, 2GB RAM, a new gold color options and more.
The iPad Air 2 is a good update over the iPad Air 1, but for owners of the older generation iPads, this will be a very substantial upgrade, right from the design to the specifications to the camera and more.
The WiFi-only version starts at $499 for 16GB of storage, the WiFi + Cellular model tacks $129 on the base cost, costing you $629 for the 16GB model. Just for $100 more, you can get 64GB storage capacity, and another $100 gets you 128GB of storage. The iPad Air is available online and in stores from Apple and from third-party retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Radio Shack, Target and Staples.
Recommended Medium-Sized tablet: iPad mini 2 ($299)
Unlike the iPad Air, the iPad mini received a modest update this year, with the only new features being a gold color option and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. The iPad mini 3, at $399, costs $100 more than the iPad mini 2, and has no compelling features. So if you’re looking to buy a medium sized tablet, we recommend the $299 iPad mini 2, which has the same hardware internals as the iPad mini 3, but is $100 cheaper.
The iPad mini 2 sports an A7 processor, a 7.9-inch Retina Display with 2048×1536 resolution, 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, optional LTE, dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11n Wi-Fi and MIMO and more.
The iPad mini 2 Wi-Fi only model is priced at $299 for the 16GB version and $349 for the 32GB version. The cellular variant costs $429 for the 16GB version, and $479 for the 32GB version. The iPad mini 2 is available online and in stores from Apple and from third-party retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, Radio Shack, Target and Staples.
Recommended Smartphone: iPhone 6 ($649; $199 with a contract)
The iPhone 6 is Apple’s flagship smartphone this year. It has a larger 4.7-inch display that sports a 1334 x 750 resolution at a pixel density of 326 pixels-per-inch (ppi). iPhone 6 also sports an all-new ultra thin design with rounded edges. It is powered by Apple’s faster A8 chip, has an improved rear camera with focus pixels that can shoot 1080p HD at 60fps, slo-mo at 240 fps and do much more.
The iPhone 6 starts at $199 on contract, or $649 off-contract for the 16GB model but for $100 extra, you can get 64GB, that is four times the storage. $399, or $849 gets you the 128GB iPhone 6. The device is available online, in Apple Stores and other third-party retailers.
Recommended Phablet: iPhone 6 Plus ($749; $299 with a contract)
Apple this year released two flagship iPhones: The 4.7-inch iPhone 6, and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus is great for those who like the large displays on Android phones, but want to switch to iOS.
iPhone 6 Plus comes with a 5.5-inch Retina HD Display with 1920 x 1080 resolution and pixel density of 401 pixels-per-inch (ppi). It also features a rear camera that supports optical image stabilisation, and a much larger battery. All other features are the same as the iPhone 6, including the A8 chip, M8 motion coprocessor, a new design with rounded edges, and more.
The iPhone 6 Plus costs $100 more than the iPhone 6. So it starts at $299 on contract for the 16GB version, and goes up to $499 for the 128GB version. The device is available online, in Apple Stores and other third-party retailers.
External Battery Pack
If you do not want a case, but still want extra power back, you can carry a portable, pocket sized charger, that has a USB outlet, with which you can charge any of your devices. The Limefuel Blast L60X lets you charge four devices simultaneously, has a good design, and at 13000 mAh, it has the capacity to fully charge several of your gadgets. The Battery Pack costs $39, and can be bought from this link.
Recommended Case: Apple’s Leather Case ($45 – $49)
Apple’s leather case is made from premium, hand-crafted leather treated with high-quality aniline dye, designed to fit perfectly over the curved form of the iPhone 6 Plus with color-matched microfiber interior to keep the smartphones protected. As the case is designed to be form-fitting on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, it is also very slim and does not add a lot of bulk.
Apple’s Leather case is priced at $45 for the iPhone 6, and $49 for the iPhone 6 Plus and is available in the following colors: brown, black, beige, navy blue and red. We recommend buying the black variant, as other cases start getting discolored due to sweat.
Recommended Rugged Case: Otterbox Defender ($50 – $69)
Otterbox is known for making rugged cases for the iPhone, and the Defender is its ultra rugged case for the iPhone 6. The polycarbonate case will protect your iPhone from dirt, drops, scratches and slips. It comes with a screen protector, a belt-clip holster that also doubles up as a kickstand and a foam coating on the inside to ensure the impact from a shock is minimised.
The Otterbox Defender is available in 8 colors including black, grey, red, green and purple.
Recommended iPad Air 2 Case: Apple’s Smart Case ($74)
Apple’s Smart Case was recently updated for the iPad Air 2’s thinner design, and is our recommended choice for an iPad Air case. Unlike the cheaper Smart Cover, the Smart Case protects the front as well as the back of your iPad. The front of the cover can be rolled into a triangular stand that can be used while watching videos or typing.
The Smart Case is available in six color options including black, midnight blue, brown, (RED) and pink. You can buy the Smart Case for $74 from this link.
Recommended Dock: Twelve South HiRise for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ($39)
The Twelve South HiRise dock as you can see above works with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, lets you charge your iPhone, and doesn’t block the headphone jack, so you can continue listening to music or take your FaceTime call without having to undock. Since the dock doesn’t add anything around the home button, using Touch ID is much more convenient than other docks.
Recommended Case Alternative: Zagg Invisible Shield ($49)
If you prefer to go caseless, you still should consider an Invisible Shield skin to protect your iPhone’s body and screen from unexpected scratches. The Invisible Shield is colorless and adds little to no bulk to the form factor of a device. It has a grippy feel which prevents a device from slipping from your hand.
Recommended Fitness Band: Garmin Vivofit ($75)
The Garmin Vivofit is a fitness band that you can wear around your wrist, that tracks your activities, helps you set daily goals, and has a display that tells you steps, calories, and distance. If you’ve been inactive for too long, the band has an indicator that flashes red, to motivate you to move. The band monitors your sleeping patterns, lets you count calories, and has a year-long battery life, after which they have to be replaced.
Recommended Home Entertainment device: Apple TV ($99)
The Apple TV connects to your HDTV and allows you to receive streaming content from a variety of sources including Netflix, YouTube, iTunes and more. It also supports AirPlay, allowing you to stream content from your iPad and iPhone to your TV. The Apple TV is simple to install — just plug it in and starting sending videos and more from your smartphone, tablet or computer right to your TV. Just make sure you setup the Remote app for iOS because the included physical remote is easy to lose.
Recommended Portable Bluetooth Speakers: Logitech UE MINI BOOM ($109)
The Logitech Mini Boom is a portable Bluetooth speaker with battery that can go up to 10 hours of music playback. It measures 3.9 x 3.3 x 6.3 inches, weighs 9.6 ounces, and can be easily carried around while travelling. It has a range of up to 50 feet, which is larger than other Bluetooth audio speakers, and it can even pair up with a second Mini Boom for stereo sound. The Boom also works as a speaker phone, paired with your iPhone.
The UE Mini Boom costs $109 on Amazon, and comes in a variety of colors, including black, orange and red. You can purchase it from this link.
Recommended Miscellaneous Gift: Apple Store or iTunes Gift Card ($10 – $2000)
An iTunes or Apple Store Gift Card is the perfect gift for the iOS or Mac owner who already has everything. This simple and easy gift will give the recipient a lump of cash that they can use to buy Apple hardware, music, movies, apps and more. Available in a variety of denominations, the gift card can be purchased online from Apple, Amazon and from retailers like Best Buy, Walgreens, Target, Walmart and more.
Happy holidays! Here’s hoping you find just the right gift for the Apple lover in your life this year!