2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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There are plenty of great articles around pointing out some of the best iOS and general tech deals coming up over the next few days. If that is more what you are after, take a look at BGR’s or The Huffington Post’s Apple Black Friday Deals Articles. For this Holiday Gift Guide, I’m going to focus less on what sales are out there, and more on potential gifts that can fill various needs for the iOS users in your life.

For Someone Looking for an iPad

This is definitely on the expensive side for a gift, but if you have a significant other or child who is looking for one, this could be a present they never forget.

iPad (Fifth Generation)

If you don’t need the power or size of an iPad Pro, the iPad is a great and far more economical option. Target, Walmart, and BestBuy have it discounted to $249.99, which is $80 off the regular retail price. BestBuy actually has it discounted to $269.99 already, so if you don’t want to wait or fight the online hoards, you can save right now.

10.5” iPad Pro

While quite a step up in price, if someone close to you needs the larger screen or Apple Pencil compatibility, there is at least one good deal to be had. Target will have this version of the iPad Pro for $529.99, which is $120 off retail price.

 

Getting an iPhone for Someone at Home?

Giving iPhones is a trickier business, since they tend to be used with phone service. Sometimes these deals come with strings attached because of that. Still, it isn’t uncommon for parents to give children cell phones, so here are a couple of good deals.

iPhone SE

If you need an inexpensive iPhone for someone who doesn’t require the latest and greatest, or a larger screen, then Walmart has the iPhone SE on their Straight Talk service for only $99. Just understand that this price is offered in return for a commitment to Straight Talk phone service,as a service plan may be required for activation. There may not be a dedicated contract, but the phone is locked to that service, and can’t be used with another for at least a year. However, if you are looking for a reasonably priced stand-alone phone plan, then this should be a good fit.

iPhone 8 or 8 Plus

If you are already planning to get someone you know an iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, Target is offering a $250 Target Gift Card with activation.

 

For Someone Looking for an Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 1

If you know someone who is interested in the Apple Watch, but doesn’t care for or need LTE or full waterproofing, then the Series 1 is an excellent choice. I loved mine while I had it, and found that it ran the watchOS 4 beta with plenty of speed, and should work just fine with the release version. Target will be selling the Series 1 for only $179 for the 38mm version, and $209 for the 42mm.

 

For the iPad Pro Owner

Apple Pencil

Many iPad Pro owners who need an Apple Pencil may already have one. However, maybe you know someone who just took the plunge when the new models were released this Summer. If so, this is a great gift that they will definitely appreciate. You can get a new Apple Pencil for $95 at Walmart, which is $4 off the normal retail price.

DraftTable from Elevation Lab

If you know someone who does any kind of Pencil work with the iPad Pro, then the DraftTable would be a perfect gift. Unlike most iPad stands that are designed to hold them in positions for media viewing or typing, the DraftTable is designed to hold the iPad Pro steady in positions that are ideal for drawing and working. You can get the DraftTable from our Deals site for $82.99.

PaperLike Screen Cover for iPad Pro

The PaperLike is an interesting product that makes your iPad screen feel more textured, like paper. This may be a unique and useful gift opportunity for anyone you know who uses an Apple Pencil extensively. I reviewed the PaperLike earlier this year, and still personally use it. I can vouch for its usefulness with the Pencil. You can get a 2 Pack of PaperLikes for any size iPad Pro for $34.26.

 

For the iPhone Owner

Apple Leather Cases

Apple’s own Leather Cases are thin, made from quality leather, and have a pleasingly simple look and feel. They are also available for all current Apple iPhone models, and are easy to find at either Apple Retail Stores, Amazon, or BestBuy. They range in price from $39 to $49. However, BestBuy is currently running a 10% off sale, so you can save a few dollars. The more expensive Leather Folio is also on sale at BestBuy for $89.99, as well, for those who prefer a wallet case.

Vaja Cases

If you are looking for a more premium and distinctive leather case than Apple’s own, look no further than Vaja. I had the opportunity to review their Niko Wallet-Leather Case for the iPhone 7 Plus earlier this year, and came away VERY impressed with it. They have a wide variety of case types, covering everything from wallets, to slim covers, to flip cases, but it is their selection of colors in both bridge and floater leather and the texture of the leather that makes their cases stand out. Vaja also has models for all available iPhones, from the SE to the X. Their ready to ship cases are available from $89 to $149, with custom models starting between $119 to $289, depending on type. While these are more expensive than the typical case, you will feel a difference when you put it in your hand.

Carved Cases

If you want to give someone a distinctive case, but leather isn’t your thing, then take a good look at Carved. These guys make some of the most creative and interesting cases that I’ve ever seen using many different kinds of woods and shells, combined with beautiful stains and precise etching and embossing work. Their standard cases, which include models for all available iPhones, run from $24 to $55.

Carved also has special editions and collections available, such as the Satellite Series pictured above. I reviewed the Satellite Series Wood Power Bank earlier this year, and was blown away with how the wood looked and felt. These cases run a little more at $59, but in my opinion, they are worth every penny. If you know someone with an eye for the artistic, this may be the perfect gift. Be sure to check out their various Holiday sales and giveaways here.

Ztylus Switch 6 Camera Lens Case

If you are looking for a gift for an iPhone owner who is interested in photography, then the Ztylus Switch 6 may be a good, yet affordable option. I reviewed it earlier this year, and though it isn’t perfect, it definitely adds to the experience of iPhoneography. While the Switch 6 isn’t on the level of products from Moment and olloclip, at $29.95 for the 7 Plus or 8 Plus and $34.95 for the iPhone X, its lenses add a lot of versatility without breaking the bank. If you are shopping for the owner of a single-lens iPhone, then Ztylus’ Revolver (which I also reviewed this year) will do the trick. They run a little more at $49.95 to $59.95.

Mophie Wireless Charging Base

If you know an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or X user who’s looking to take the plunge into wireless charging, the Mophie Wireless Charging Base is one of the best available and will make a perfect present. It will handle any of the new iOS device, as well as any Qi-enabled devices. It will also deliver the 7.5W of power that iPhones can now accept, thanks to a recent iOS update. The Mophie Wireless Charging Base is available for $59.99 from Amazon.

 

For the Apple Watch Owner

Apple Watch Bands

Apple has a wide variety of styles and colors of Watch bands. While many of the models can be quite expensive, the Woven Nylon, Sport Bands, and Sport Loops are are affordable enough to make excellent gifts for any Watch user on your list. All of the above are available from Apple for $49 each.

 

Casetify Watch Bands

There is a massive gap between the quality of Apple’s Watch Bands and the knockoffs that can be found all over eBay or Amazon. However, there are a few manufacturers that stand between the two extremes, and Casetify is one of them. They offer a similar selection of designs and materials as Apple, but for example, where the first party leather bands costs $149, the Casetify Leather versions run between $50 and $90. Another reason to look at Casetify is because they also have a huge selection of creative and artistic band designs that you won’t find from Apple or others. If you go through our Deals site, you can save $20 on a $70 purchase.

Griffin Travel Power Bank

If you know anyone who tends to run their Watch’s battery down often, whether due to extensive workouts or media streaming, here is a perfect gift. The Griffin Travel Power Bank is a portable backup battery for the Apple Watch that has an MFi-certified magnetic charging surface built-in. It is small enough to be easily pocketable and has a keychain ring on one end, which makes it easy to keep up with. It also comes with a base that slips over the key ring that can turn the Travel Power Bank into a portable Watch stand. This is the perfect accessory for the Watch user on the go. Amazon has the Griffin Travel Power Bank for $39.99.

Belkin Valet Charger Power Pack

If your recipient needs something with a bit more versatility and capacity than the Griffin Travel Power Bank, then this Belkin Valet is a perfect next step up. Like the Power Bank, it also has an MFi magnetic Watch charger. However, Belkin’s Valet also includes a USB port for charging other devices, and enough capacity to refill the Watch 16 times. This is a great idea for a Watch-wearing road warrior. The Belkin Valet Charger Power Pack is available from Amazon for $79.82

 

General Accessories for All of Your Tech-Savvy Friends and Family

Apple AirPods

There is only one difference between this year and last when it comes to Apple’s AirPods. This year you can actually get them. Apple’s second hit wearable product has drawn rave reviews for their versatility and ease of use. If you know someone who is heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem and loves to listen to music or podcasts on the go, these buds are the perfect compliment. At $159, they are on the high side, but they will still make a great gift for someone special.

 

Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones

The Powerbeats3 sport the same W1 wireless chip as the AirPods in a much different package. They offer both construction meant to stand up to workouts, and 12 hour battery life at the same $159 price as the AirPods.

ZAGG IFROGZ Impulse Wireless Headphones

If cans are more the preference of your recipient, then ZAGG’s IFROGZ Impulse Wireless headphones are a great value-priced option. The padding offers passive noise isolation, the earpieces have full on-board controls, and the phones can also work with a wired connection through an aux cord, bypassing any battery life limitations of Bluetooth. The Impulse Wireless Headphones are available from ZAGG for $59.99.

 

Carved Acoustic Acorn Bluetooth Speaker

If you are looking for a unique musical gift, then the Carved Acoustic Acorn may be just the thing. I reviewed it earlier this year, and came away impressed at how warm and rich the sound was for how small that it was. It is also quite beautiful, and its simple design will fit in with most decors. The Carved Acoustic Acorn is available for $59 from Carved.

If you are looking for something even more unique that is a little offbeat, take a look at Carved’s Flexible Wood Wallet. Looking at the pictures, its hard to believe that they are made out of wood, and not leather. They are available from $40 to $60 from Carved.

SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick Flash Drive

Do you know an iOS or Android user who is constantly running out space on their devices? Someone who is filling them up with pictures and video faster than Google Photos of iCloud Photo Library can back them up, or maybe they want to carry their entire music and movie collections along on every trip and flight, and just can’t squeeze it all in. If you know someone like this, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive may be just what they need. This flash drive can connect to a computer and be loaded with files, just like any other. However, it can then wirelessly stream its content to up to 3 devices at once via a mobile app or a web interface- no Internet connection required. You can also offload large files from your mobile devices to it on the fly to free up space. This is mobile storage for the mobile world. The SanDisk Connect Wireless is available in 64GB for $29.99, 128GB for $52.99, and 200GB for $69.99, and 256GB $94.99.

The Power Packer

If you know someone who carries a lot of cables and small accessories around, then do them a favor and get them a Power Packer as a gift. Whether they need it for daily use, or travel a lot and are shuffling items from bag to bag, this organizer will save them a lot of time and hassle by keeping all those little cables and items exactly where they are supposed to be, all of the time. I backed the Power Packer on Indiegogo, reviewed it in October, and I’m still carrying it with me in my laptop bag every day. I know practical gifts like this aren’t for everyone on your list, but for the right person, this could be a real winner. The Power Packer is available from Side by Side through Indiegogo for $39, with a gift version available for $49.

While there are so very many Apple devices and related accessories that make great gifts, these are items that I either have some direct experience with, or come from names that I know you can trust and will fit some specific needs. Also, many of these items are unique, which will hopefully make your gifts just a little more special and memorable when received. If you have any questions about any of the items listed here, or other gift ideas, feel free to ask in the Comments section below, on Flipboard, on our Facebook page, or on Twitter @iPadInsightBlog. Happy Holidays!


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