Holiday Gift Ideas and Gift Guide 2015

BY Kelly Hodgkins

Published 26 Nov 2015

Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of the year when gift giving is on everyone’s mind. If you have an Apple owner on your list, then you may appreciate our holiday gift guide below. Read on for our picks of the best Apple products and accessories on the market right now. If you need some additional inspiration you also can check out Apple’s recommended buying guide, which not surprisingly heavily recommends Apple products.

Recommended Full-Sized Tablet: iPad Air 2 ($499)

Apple’s iPad Air 2 is a year old, but it still leads the pack among 9.7-inch tablets. The Air 2 features a fingerprint sensor, a fast A8X processor and support for multi-tasking with iOS 9. It’s perfect for reading at home, watching movies and playing games. If you are not sure which iPad to purchase, get the Air 2. You can’t wrong with the form factor and the performance of the tablet.

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Recommended Medium-Sized tablet: iPad mini 4 ($399)

The iPad mini 4 takes the internal hardware of the iPad Air 2 and packages it into a smaller, more portable form factor. The mini 4 is the best compact tablet on the market, providing a very portable size and power for the best games in the iOS App Store. The iPad mini is perfect for owners who prefer a smaller size that they can stuff into a bag and go. Similar to the iPad Air 2, the mini 4 is perfect for gaming and watching movies. It’s smaller size also makes it suitable for use as a navigation device.

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Recommended Desktop Replacement: iPad Pro ($799)

The iPad Pro is Apple’s latest tablet and it sets a new standard for Apple’s tablet lineup. The iPad Pro is being marketed as a business-focused device for professionals, who want the power of a computer with the size of a tablet. It is available as a standalone tablet or it can be paired with an optional keyboard and Apple Pencil stylus.

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Recommended Smartphone: iPhone 6s ($649; $32.45/month)

Introduced this fall, the iPhone 6s is a modest upgrade from the iPhone 6. It offers the new 3D Touch display, faster hardware, improved fingerprint sensor and new camera features that’ll appeal to casual photographers and professionals alike. Before you go out and drop $600 on a new phone, keep in mind that a phone can be an awkward purchase to make as it requires the recipient to subscribe to monthly service plan. It also is a very personal purchase — you really have to know the person well or have them tell you what they want in a phone. If you know someone who is in the market for an iPhone and you are reasonably sure they want the bigger iPhone 6s Plus, then you can’t go wrong with this iPhone model.

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Recommended Large-sized Smartphone: iPhone 6s Plus ($749 or $37.45/month)

Also introduced this fall, the iPhone 6s Plus mirrors the iPhone 6s — offering only a modest upgrade from the iPhone 6s. The same advantages in the iPhone 6s also are present in the iPhone 6s Plus. The newer model includes the new 3D Touch display, faster hardware, improved fingerprint sensor and new camera features that’ll appeal to casual photographers and professionals alike. The same purchasing warning applies to the iPhone 6s Plus. Make sure you know the recipient well or you may end up returning your most favorite Christmas gift. That being said, if you know your recipient is in the market for an iPhone and you are reasonably sure they want the bigger iPhone 6s Plus, then you can’t go wrong with this iPhone model.

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Recommended External Battery Pack: AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank – 10,000 mAh ($25)

If you are looking for a simple accessory that every iPhone or iPad owner needs, then look no further than the AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank – 10,000 mAh. The portable charger provides 10,000 mAh, which is enough juice to charge an iPhone and an iPad multiple times.

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Recommended iPhone Case: Apple’s Leather Case ($45 – $49)

Apple attention to details reveals itself in its devices and in its accessories. Case in point is the Apple leather case for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. With its smooth feeling leather exterior and its form fitting design, the Apple leather case is as close to perfect as it gets.

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Recommended Rugged iPhone Case: Otterbox Defender ($50 – $69)

Otterbox is known for its rugged cases and the Defender is the best in the series. The rugged 3-layer case provides exceptional protection from impacts and does so without adding too much bulk to your iPhone. It even includes a built-in screen protector, helping you keep your device and its screen scratch-free.

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Recommended iPhone Dock: Twelve South HiRise for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ($35)

Twelve South makes some of the best stands for the iPhone and iPad and its HiRise is no exception. Crafted from the finest metal, the HiRise has dual purpose of charging your iPhone and also using it for hands-free calls, Facetime video chats and more. The Deluxe model include both MFi-certified Lightning and Micro-USB cables. It is available in Silver, Black and Gold color options.

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Recommended iPhone Case Alternative: ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass ($19-29)

Zagg Glass is the best way to protect the display of your iPhone 6s or 6s Plus. The protective covering provides a second layer of glass that absorbs impacts and will shatter in a fall instead of the iPhone screen.

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Recommended Fitness Tracker: Apple Watch ($349)

The Apple Watch is a fitness tracker for iPhone owners who want the best all around smartwatch and fitness tracker on the market. The device tracks fitness stats such as step counts, workouts and your heart rate. Not only does it cover your fitness level, the Apple Watch also interacts with your iPhone, allowing you view and respond to notifications, run apps and more from your wrist.

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New Apple TV

Recommended Home Entertainment device: Apple TV4 ($149)

Apple updated its Apple TV this year, overhauling the device to include games, apps and an iOS-like interface. The new Apple TV has improved hardware and internal storage for storing media. Also included in the package is a new Apple TV remote with a clickable Touch surface and support for Siri. The new Apple TV may not be a huge update if your recipient already has the latest Roku or Fire TV, but if they are in the market for a media player and already buy into the Apple ecosystem, then the new Apple TV is a no-brainer.

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Recommended Portable Bluetooth Speakers: UE ROLL 360 ($89)

The new UE Roll replaces the aging Mini Boom in the company’s portable Bluetooth speaker lineup. With its colorful exterior and flying saucer shape, the UE Roll can’t be missed. Not only is its sound superb for a portable speaker, it also includes a solid strap to attach it to your surroundings and IPX7 waterproofing so you can bring it with you and not worry about the weather.

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Recommended Wireless Speakers: SONOS PLAY:5 ($499)

Excellent sound, wireless connectivity, top-notch sound and support for a variety of online streaming services — what more could you want? If you want the best in wireless speaker, then spare no expense and grab the SONOS PLAY:5  system for the “bestest” buddy on your holiday gift list.

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Recommended Speaker Dock: Bose SoundDock Series III Digital Music System with Lightning Connector ($249)

Bose is another audio company whose products are superb in their sound quality, craftsmanship and their features. If you want the best of the best, it’ll cost you $250, but you’ll get a great music system that’ll accommodate an iPhone for music playback and also function as a dock.

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Recommended Miscellaneous Gift: Apple Store or iTunes Gift Card ($10 – $2000)

If you just don’t know what to purchase for the Apple fan on your list, you can always snag an iTunes or Apple Store gift card. The iTunes gift card will add funds to iTunes and the App Store, providing an Apple owner with money to purchase apps, movies, music and books. The Apple Store gift card works in an Apple retail store or at the Apple online store where users can buy hardware, accessories and more.

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Happy holidays! Here’s hoping you find just the right gift for the Apple lover in your life this year!