Here are a few gift ideas for the special Apple professional in your life.
Apple's iPhone 6 will certainly appear on many a gift list. At just $199.00 (USD), and on contract with several carriers, the 16 GB model offers a compelling combination of features. With a 4.7-inch Retina HD 1334 x 750 display, 1080p HD 60 fps camera, fast CPU, Touch ID, and improved battery life, the iPhone 6 is sure to please many mobile users.
As a gift, though, the phone can prove challenging to purchase, due to the need to understand the recipient's data usage needs and cellular service requirements. If the phone's bought on contract, there's also the need to pay the monthly fees, which typically total thousands of dollars throughout the contract's life. Don't forget, too, the likelihood the recipient will wish to continue using his or her existing phone number, which requires porting permissions the gift giver likely doesn't possess. For these reasons, the iPhone 6 may not prove to be a reasonable gift, except for Apple professionals within one's own family.
Gifting a MacBook Pro is a dangerous proposition as well, because corresponding configuration options are daunting. But if you possess the means to give a MacBook Pro as a gift, then you can likely afford to purchase the proper model. Opt for the 13-inch Retina display model with the 2.6 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB flash storage. At $1,499 (USD), this laptop configuration is arguably the best pound-for-pound laptop money can buy. The balance Apple strikes with this unit between cost, power, and capacity is close to ideal.
Obviously, some gift recipients are more difficult than others. Maybe the beloved Apple professional in your life is a video production artist, in which case the 15-inch 2.5 GHz model with 1 TB flash storage upgrade may be required. Just make sure that you tell the recipient the configuration before he or she cracks the tape.
iPad Air 2
Apple's iPad Air 2 is a perfect gift. It's doubtful any recipient of the device will be disappointed. Whether the Apple professional in your life needs an e-reader, a first-time tablet, a first-gen iPad replacement, or they don't even realize that they would enjoy an iPad, the iPad Air 2 is a wise choice. The silver, 16 GB Wi-Fi model will store a considerable sum of books, games, photos, apps, videos, and songs for $499 (USD). For just another $100, storage capacity increases to 64 GB. Combined with Apple's arresting iOS 8 user interface and ease of use, the iPad Air 2 is almost a sublime present.
LaCie 1 TB Rugged Thunderbolt drive
I'm an IT consultant. I've met many professional business users, including some Apple aficionados. However, I've never met anyone who possessed too many external hard disks, and the LaCie Thunderbolt external drive is wonderful. The orange casing is easy to spot and carry. The Thunderbolt connectivity makes it a cinch to transfer even large amounts of data quickly. The LaCie drive, at $189 (USD), is a thoughtful and useful gift for less than $200.
Headphones are all the rage. They come in handy when working in cubes where they can aid concentration and block out extraneous noise, add joy to commutes, or make exercise more tolerable. Yet, there are so many options within a bewildering range of prices. I've had the pleasure of owning and using numerous different models. If you cast aside marketing (let's face it, Beats own the zeitgeist) and focus on practical sound reproduction and comfort, I've found RHA's MA750i noise-isolating in-ear $129 (USD) headphones as pleasant, comfortable, and functional as any Apple, Beats, Bose, Scosche, Sennheiser, Realistic, or Sony headphones I've ever used or heard.
They seem a pedestrian gift, but there may be no gift more useful or convenient than an extra power adapter. It's uncanny how often power supplies are lost, misplaced, or damaged. Apple professionals with a MacBook, iPhone, or iPad almost always benefit from possessing an extra power supply. They can keep one at home and another at work, or one downstairs and another upstairs, or a spare in the car. Trust me, Apple professionals find it difficult to have too many Mac, iPhone, and iPad power supplies. And at less than $100 (USD) — genuine iPhone and iPad power supplies are considerably less expensive — they make outstanding stocking stuffers.
What gift(s) do you plan to get the Apple professional in your life this holiday season? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.