TMO Holiday Gift Guide Part 1

Finding the perfect holiday gift for that special tech person in your life can be a real chore, so the crew at The Mac Observer put together a list of some cool ideas to help out. In part 1 of our gift guide, there’s some ideas for Mac, iPhone and iPad users, music fans, entertainment, and more.

iPhone Playing Cards
There are plenty of card games for your iPhone, and now there are playing cards that match your iPhone thanks to Meninos. The iPhone playing cards look like an iPhone with traditional hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds. Since they’re also iPhones, some cards include iOS-style dialogs and other surprises, too. At US$24.99, they’re cheaper than an actual iPhone, and depending on where you live they might offer better reception, too.

Apple Magic Trackpad

 The Apple Magic Trackpad (TMO review) combines the best of Macintosh gesture and touch technologies with a classic trackball concept that allows the forearm and wrist to rest comfortably on the desk. With the Magic Trackpad, it’s not just Apple notebook users who can enjoy all the new Mac OS X gestures; desktop users can have it too for $69.

OtterBox Defender iPhone 4 Case
Most iPhone 4 cases do a fine job of protecting your combination iPod and smartphone from the occasional bump, but when it comes to heavy duty protection the Defender from OtterBox ($49.95) is the way to go. This case includes an inner plastic shell wrapped in a silicone skin for extra protection and a removable belt clip holster. It sports a built-in screen protector, covers for the iPhone’s ports and buttons, and leaves the phone’s cameras and flash exposed so you can still capture photos and video. The Defender is available in several colors such as black, red, blue and white.


 If you know someone who’s an AT&T wireless customer and often needs their own mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, this is a great gift. Take your Wi-Fi iPad anywhere there’s a 3G signal and be on the Internet. Up to five users can access the Wi-Fi hotspot, and it weighs just three ounces. Beware, however, a separate data plan is required, with the minimum at $35/month for 200 MB. $49 after $100 rebate.

OWC Elite-AL Pro Mini (FW400, FW800, eSata, USB 2)

One can never have too much storage, and this classy, small, drive, just a little bigger than a Magic Mouse, with an aluminum case is also very portable. It has ports for USB 2, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, and eSata, and comes is sizes from 250 GB ($100) up to 1 TB ($185). It’s perfect for backing up an Apple MacBook that moves around often.

Agloves Touch Screen Gloves
Using your iPhone or iPad outdoors in the winter can be an act in frustration because your naked fingers get too cold too fast. Agloves has solved that problem with their Touch Screen Gloves ($17.99). They include capacitive threads woven into the glove fabric that lets you take advantage of the multi-touch goodness that makes iOS so great to use, and they’re available in multiple sizes. Of course, they’ll work with other capacitive touch screens, so they’ll make for a great gift for your Android loving friends, too.

Carina Voyager for Macintosh
“View the heavens on your computer from any place on Earth, in the Solar System, or beyond. Witness celestial events thousands of years in the past or future. Voyager (TMO review) includes millions of stars, clusters, nebulae, and galaxies visible only through powerful telescopes,” Carina says. For anyone with even a minor interest in the sky and astronomy, this gift will both dazzle and educate. It’s like having a planetarium on your Mac for $100.

iPod shuffle
Apple’s iPod shuffle fits in the palm of your hand, comes in several colors, and at $49 makes for an inexpensive way to give that someone special the gift of music. Now that Apple has realized that sometimes buttons really are useful, the shuffle is easy to use again. It holds up to 2 GB of music, podcasts or audio books, includes VoiceOver audio feedback, and the built-in spring-loaded clip makes it easy to attach your shuffle to a shirt, pocket, or bag. Apple is offering free engraving, too, so you can personalize your gift, too.


Incase Snap Case for iPhone 4

This sturdy but thin clear plastic case will protect the iPhone 4 (TMO review), yet not hide its beautiful design for only $35. Even inside this case, the iPhone will still fit into some belt holsters. All ports remain accessible, and a notable feature is an anti-glare ring around the camera port. It’s easy to snap on and off without the need for sliding.

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin mini
Sometimes, there’s a remote place where you just need a classy speaker system for your iPhone or iPod: A patio, a den, a family room or your office. The B&W Zeppelin Mini ($399) provides big time sound via the 30-pin digital port, and looks like something from Captain Kirk’s office. (Check the product compatibility guide; some older iPods don’t work.) Comes with a remote control. TMO reviewed it and loved it.

Custom GelaSkins

 GelaSkins offers a large collection of skins you can use to customize your iPhone, iPod, iPad, Mac, or other electronic device. The company can also convert your artwork or photos into customized skins that let you turn your electronics into truly customized expressions of who you are. GelaSkins offers an easy to use online system for uploading your artwork, templates so you can see where your art sits on the skin, and each custom skin includes a matching wallpaper graphic. Pricing starts at about $15.


Looking for more holiday gift ideas? Check out part 2 of TMO’s Holiday Gift Guide.