It’s that time of year again when we are all consulting a gift guide or two trying to find that one perfect gift. Wooden horses and toy soldiers won’t do it anymore. If you’re looking to buy modern toys for children of all ages, you’ll need to find the best tech gift.
Fortunately, Apple happens to be the tech world’s Santa Claus. From Apple hardware to the perfect accessory and some of the best apps, there is no shortage of gift options out there for everyone on your list. Here’s your holiday gift guide for 2019.
Hardware Gift Guide
Yes, the iPhone XS is technically the shiniest new iPhone on the block. It might even be the technically superior phone. However, we still think that the iPhone XR is this year’s best iPhone upgrade. That’s especially true for someone who didn’t upgrade to the iPhone X.
The XR is iPhone’s best attempt at a “budget” iPhone. It’s not cheap ($749), but it’s cheaper than most iPhone models. For that money, though, you get a phone with very few compromises. It’s better than the already incredible iPhone X, and it even surpasses the iPhone XS in a couple of areas. The XR is a brilliant phone and the perfect gift.
We’re not going to lie. The iPad Pro is often excessive. At $799 ($999 for the 12.9-inch model) it’s also a very expensive gift. It sounds obvious, but this is an iPad that’s truly for pros only. In fact, casual iPad users might not get much out of this.
However, the iPad Pro is also the first iPad we’d call a possible laptop replacement. With the right accessories, the Pro is Apple’s impressive answer to the Microsoft Surface. It’s a stunning, powerful, and unbelievably versatile piece of hardware that will be worth the investment for the right people.
Apple Watch Series 4
With the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple finally turned the controversial product into a contender. However, the Series 3 was a highly flawed step in the right direction. It was a glimpse into the future, but not much more than that.
The Series 4 is different. It’s a sleek piece of reliable hardware that’s almost as reliable and versatile as an iPhone. The Series 4’s battery and software are significantly better than what came before. The result is a product that makes being an Apple fan easier and more enjoyable than ever.
Apple’s desktop line isn’t nearly as popular as it once was, but it’s far from dead. In fact, Apple saves some of their best work for their desktop devices.
While the Mac Mini is lacking in power and versatility, it’s still one of the best desktop options out there for Apple fans. This small desktop device fits into just about every set-up and sets a new benchmark for subtle desktop design. It’s an incredible – and surprisingly capable – desktop option for those who don’t want/need a laptop and love iOS.
Smart Home Gift Guide
Look, Apple fell a little behind in the smart speaker game. As a result, most people already have a similar device in their homes. However, if you know someone who doesn’t own one (or prefers Apple), the HomePod is an essential smart home accessory.
The HomePod is, perhaps, a bit too tied to the Apple ecosystem, but it’s also beautiful and features top-of-class sound. In fact, the HomePod sets a new standard in terms of sound quality from a smart speaker. On top of that, you get a device that works naturally with your iPhone or iPad. It’s the perfect gift for the Apple fanatic in your life looking to tie all their devices together.
Elgato Eve Energy
As corny as it sounds, Elgato Eve Energy is kind of like the Clapper for a smart technology generation. On a basic level, it allows you to control devices hooked up to it via your smartphone. That’s neat.
What really makes the Elgato special, though, is how it allows you to monitor your daily electricity usage. It also allows you to program certain electronics in a way that allows you to really feel like you’re in control of your home technology.
Philips Hue White Ambiance A19 Starter Kit
Customizable light bulbs used to be a gimmicky piece of technology that was primarily marketed towards technophiles with money to burn. Now, it’s hard not to see their practical merit.
This starter kit contains pretty much everything that you’ll ever need to join the rapidly growing group of people who love customizing their home lighting. From enhancing movie night to managing your energy consumption, this kit opens up an entirely new living experience.
Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt with Century Trim
There’s a bit of an argument at the moment regarding which devices need a “smart” option. For instance, you probably shouldn’t have to perform a firmware update on your refrigerator.
However, smart locks are actually quite interesting. The Schlage Sense Smart Deadlock allows you to ditch the primitive process of opening your doors with keys. It also allows you to do things like lock your door remotely. This is simply the best device of its kind.
Accessories Gift Guide
Even though Google’s Pixel Buds broke into this market in a big way in 2017, our nod for wireless earbuds goes to the Airpods. Granted, that’s largely because Pixel Buds work best with the Pixel phone.
That’s not to say that the Airpods are inferior. Actually, they sound better than Google’s earbuds and are truly wireless. Sizing issues aside, it really does feel like Air Pods are the future of wireless earbuds.
AirPods are fantastic, but they’re not perfect. In fact, they don’t even work that well with non-Apple devices. This can cause some people to consider carrying a second pair of headphones around.
Instead, we highly recommend purchasing an AirFly. The AirFly allows you to easily connect your AirPods to just about any device. From gym TVs to the Nintendo Switch, the Airfly opens up a whole new world of devices for your AirPods. Quite frankly, we think the Airfly is an essential companion for any pair of AirPods.
Mophie Wireless Charging Base
Apple is supposed to release their own wireless charging pad at some point. We’re sure it will be great. However, we’re not sure how much they’ll improve upon Mophie’s device.
The Mophie Wireless Charging Base is a fantastic option for those tired of cables. It’s reasonably well-priced and uses the same charging technology that Apple has committed to moving forward. You really should own a wireless charger, and this is one of the best out there.
Moshi IonBank 5k Portable Battery Pack
Portable battery packs are an essential device for any traveler. They offer a world in which you never need to worry about your phone or tablet dying. They’re cheap, tend to work well, and are quite sturdy.
What separates the IonSlim is its size. Unlike other battery packs, the IonSlim doesn’t look like a blocky battery you’ve got to drag around. It’s sleek, works very well, and compliments your Apple device quite well.
Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headset
Not everyone likes earbuds. They’re convenient, but they’re sometimes uncomfortable. While there are a ton of headset alternatives out there, the Jabra Move Wireless Stereo Headset is rightfully making a name for itself as one of the best.
The Jabra is just solid across the board. Its wireless battery life is great, the sound quality is excellent, and it looks pretty clean on your head. It’s hard not recommend this headset to everyone.
Apple Smart Keyboard
While many consumers are choosing their tablets over laptops, there are many hesitant to completely make that switch yet. A good tablet keyboard can go a long way towards helping you make that leap.
So far as that goes, the Apple Smart Keyboard is possibly the iPad’s best keyboard option. It’s lightweight, but it still feels like an actual keyboard. The Smart Keyboard is designed to eliminate the annoyances that accompany most iPad keyboards.
Just For Fun Gift Guide
Carved Phone Case
If you’re looking for a phone case that will steal the show, you need to know about Carved. Carved creates custom wood cases for a variety of phones. They’re strikingly beautiful and actually offer decent protection.
What really makes Carved special, though, are the custom options. The folks at Carved really can create the case of your dreams. Granted, you’ll pay a bit of a premium, but these are the best-looking cases around.
AmazonBasics Felt Laptop Sleeve
This is one of the best budget items you can purchase for someone that doesn’t have a separate bag. Don’t be fooled by its low price; the AmazonBasics Laptop Sleeve is a wonderful laptop bag.
While we do wish this sleeve came with a strap, this is a great secondary holder that is easy to carry around the office or in class. It looks rather nice and never gets in the way. You don’t even have to tell the recipient that it’s a budget item.
Inspire Mac Candle No. 2
Do you have someone in your life who is really obsessed with Apple. As in…kind of creepily obsessed? If so, then you might want to get them this rather unique candle.
The first edition of Twelve South’s candle was designed to smell like a newly opened Apple product. It was cute, but a bit gimmicky. This new model of Twelve South candle has a more general scent designed to spark creativity. It’s quite pleasant and lasts up to 70 hours.
Tile Key Finder
If you never want to lose your keys, wallet, or phone again, you need a Tile. Tile is a small device that you attach to your keys, wallet, or whatever. If you ever lose the item it is attached to, you can ping it through a separate app.
Even better, you can use the other end of the Tile device to page your phone at any time. This makes it a nearly foolproof way to ensure you always know where your valuables are.
Prynt Pocket, Instant Photo Printer
We may live in a golden age of digital photography, but there’s something special about a physical photograph. Now, the Prynt Pocket Printer allows you to experience the best of both of those worlds.
After hooking your iPhone up to this device, you can print any digital photo you have in just 30 seconds. The included app even allows you to customize the photo before you print it. This is a gift any camera obsessed iPhone owner will love.
App Gift Guide
It takes a lot to recommend another weather app. After all, how much more could a modern weather app really do? In the case of Dark Sky, it turns out the answer to that question is “quite a bit.”
Dark Sky Weather’s calling card is the accuracy of its predictions. Its incredibly detailed series of metrics ensures that you will never have to hope that rain prediction is accurate or whether or not clouds will ruin your day at the beach. On top of that, the app’s interface is simply stunning.
Forest is a productivity app unlike any other. Its mission is to get you to focus on one thing at a time. How does it accomplish that? Well, it ties your productivity to the growth of a digital tree.
It sounds like a gimmick – it kind of is – but it really does work. By tying your productivity to the growth of a forest, Forest naturally incentives you to stay on track and stop using your phone to procrastinate. It’s a non-intrusive and surprisingly motivating way to get things done. It’s also a lot of fun.
As the sequel to one of the best iPhone games in years, Alto’s Odyssey does its predecessor proud by remaining…one of the best iPhone games in years.
Described as a flawless sequel, Alto’s Odyssey takes the simple snowboarding gameplay of its predecessor and builds upon it. There’s more to do, everything is beautiful, and Odyssey makes it easier than ever to kill a few minutes or even a whole day.
There’s just not enough room on your phone for all your media. What’s worse is that Apple makes it hard – or impossible – to truly rely on expanded storage. That being the case, your best media storage option is Plex.
Plex is a versatile virtual media server that makes it easy to access stored media on most devices. The premium version of the app even lets you access more content and some official Plex media. Either way, Plex is an essential piece of technology for those who don’t want to leave most of their media at home. \