The iPad started life in a weird place. Caught for many years in the limbo between iPhones and Macs, the iPad has finally come into its own as a powerhouse that can rival the productivity capabilities of the beefiest of MacBooks.
Whereas the laptop comes with everything it needs to be that productivity powerhouse, the tablet requires additional accessories to unlock its full potential. Some are obvious, like the functionality-adding Apple Pencil, while others are invisible, but just as essential to leading a life of safe, productive iPad use.
If someone in your life (or you with a holiday gift card) is using their iPad for work and wants to get more out of it, these 10 gift ideas have the potential to make their iPad experience, and holiday season, the best it can possibly be.
The Apple Pencil
While it only works with select iPad models (so be sure your giftee has a supported one), the Apple Pencil is the holy grail of accessories. It’s super responsive, makes using the iPad as easy as paper, and the apps that support the Apple Pencil make it even more amazingly usable by artists, designers and note-takers alike.
I could have chosen one of the many keyboard folios that are meant to fit with various iPad models, but I think this is a better option, honestly: It doesn’t rely on having a particular model of iPad, so you can attach it to any tablet, or even smartphone, for typing on the go. It’s also waterproof, gets three months to a charge and comes with a stand to set your iPad on while using it.
Satechi foldable aluminum stand
This foldable aluminum iPad stand is quite hefty, but collapses down for easy portability. I have one myself, and it’s where my iPad rests while using it in Sidecar mode with my MacBook, and it does exactly what it’s designed to do in an entirely proficient manner.
iPad Smart Cover
This folio-style cover for the iPad line comes in various prices, colors, and model options. Instead of linking to one particular product, the link for these will take you to the entire category on Apple’s site to find the proper one. These covers are great for several reasons: They attach magnetically, are unobtrusive, and can be rolled up and used as a stand. They’re an excellent choice for someone who wants to protect and prop their iPad with one color-coordinated accessory.
iPad Pro USB C hub
This multi-device hub can plug into the bottom of any iPad with a USB C port, granting it seven additional ports that are able to support HDMI, 3.5mm audio, USB 3.0, SD card, Micro SD card, USB C data and USB C PD. Creative professionals, especially photographers, will love to get their hands on one of these.
This nifty tabletop accessory is designed for creative professionals that use their iPad. Available for several different iPad models, the Sketchboard Pro is like an easel for the iPad, adding a huge area for resting your arms while you sketch, draw, design or do whatever else you might do with an iPad where you’d need a nice big work surface for it.
Paperlike screen protectors
Paperlike screen protectors for the iPad are designed to be perfectly functional screen protectors, but they’re actually designed for Apple Pencil users who miss the tactile feeling of paper. Paperlike screen protectors have a matte surface that is slightly rough, giving Pencil users the sensation of writing on paper. I own one, and it really is a neat experience to write on it. Thankfully, you get two screen protectors to a pack because, if you’re like me, you’ll inevitably get cat hair stuck under it while putting it on.
If you’ve ever wished you could have a touchscreen MacBook, this iPad case is the closest you’re going to get, at least for now. With keyboard backlighting, a 360-degree hinge, a trackpad and other fantastic features, this case really does make the iPad look and behave like a laptop in a way other cases don’t.
Aunote holder case for Apple Pencil
I carry my iPad and Apple Pencil with me a lot, and while the magnet that holds the Pencil in place is strong, it’s not strong enough to keep my Pencil reliably attached while it’s in my bag. That’s why I have a pencil case a lot like this one. Along with holding the Pencil itself, this case can hold AirPods, a power brick, spare Pencil tips and other small accessories an iPad user may need.
iPad case from bertiescloset
Having a nice sleeve for a tablet is a necessity, especially if you travel a lot and don’t want a full-on case for it. Bertiescloset, an Etsy shop, makes fantastic cases out of lots of different fabrics. I included this one because it’s one I have, but if you or the intended recipient want some different fabrics there are plenty to choose from.