The Thrifty Apple Holiday Gift Guide


Have an Apple-lover on your Christmas list? Unless it’s someone you love very dearly, you probably aren’t going to go out and buy the new MacBook Air (s aapl) or iPad the Mac fan in your life has been drooling over. Here are some suggestions for Apple-related gifts that won’t break the bank.

Decent Headphones

This is an upgrade for that person in your life who loves music and is making do with the iPod or iPhone headphones that came in the box. You don’t have to spend too much to get good results, and if you’re willing to go a little bit beyond $100, the field opens up considerably. Here are two great options:

Klipsch Image S4i ($99.95). These in-ear headphones offer much better sound and durability than Apple’s own variety, and do so for not much more money (Apple’s in-ears cost $79.00).  They now come in white and black, and sport an inline remote and mic combo that provides all the same functionality of the Apple in-ear headset.

Sennheiser Adidas PMX 680i ($69.95). If anyone on your list likes to use their headphones while working out, these are a great option. They won’t break down if you sweat while wearing them; they feature a comfortable wraparound design; and they have an inline remote with mic so you can take calls while you’re sweating it out.


There are a few accessories that will never go unused, even if they don’t seem like the most glamorous gifts you could possibly buy. Here’s a few suggestions for different Apple products:

Apple MagSafe Adapter ($79.00). This is something every Mac notebook owner probably already has, but the spare power cord makes a great gift. Forgetting your MagSafe somewhere while travelling, or at home before you go somewhere else, is a virtual death sentence for your notebook. Providing an extra on hand to keep in your travel bag or somewhere where you’ll always have it is a great gift with real value for the travelling Mac addict in your circle.

Spare sync/charge cables (price varies, usually around $20). My sync cables tend to break around where the 30-pin dock connector meets the actual cable. It sucks, but it’s also the point that endures the most stress, so it makes sense that it’s the first to go. Having spares around is a great way to reduce the wear on any one, and you get the added benefit of always having one close at hand. You can get these from any accessory maker, and from Apple itself, but buyer beware: Make sure the brand you’re looking at has a lot of positive reviews before picking it up.


Now that you can gift apps, they make for a great little virtual stocking stuffer that doesn’t cost very much at all, and many won’t think to buy for themselves. I know so many people who exclusively download free apps, and that’s exactly who would benefit most from some gifted paid iOS content.

Reeder for iPhone/iPad ($2.99/$4.99 respectively). The Mac version just hit beta, but the iOS versions are still must-haves for portable device owners who like their web news. Grab it for your news junkie friends, but make sure they’re comfortable setting up the required Google Reader account.

Angry Birds ($0.99 iPhone, $4.99 iPad). If your friends aren’t willing to buy apps, then they probably shy away from paying for games, too, which is a shame, because that probably means they’re missing out on Angry Birds. Bring them under your wing this holiday.

TuneIn Radio ($1.99). An Internet radio app is a great thing to have on either an iPhone or an iPad now that iOS 4.2 is here, with background audio capabilities. TuneIn Radio is probably the best out there, with an exhaustive database, and it provides some nice extra features like the ability to record your streams.

Wrapping It Up

A new MacBook Air costs at least $999 from Apple. There are very few people on my Christmas list I’d be willing to spend that much cash on, even if I did have it to spend. But a little bit can go a long way, especially if you think about what people will get the most use of that they wouldn’t buy for themselves, such as the items we’ve listed here. What are your suggestions?

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Surprised you have $100 headphones etc listed but not AppleTV. Great price for creating an easy home theater and integrated audio system.

Would also add in some nice cases skins, hopefully get some idea of the person’s tastes first. You can get skins printed from various designs, maybe a good way to have a personalized gift that has some special meaning without risking the value of the item with laser etching.

Get ’em a iTunes gift card and a simple glossy magazine that specializes in app reviews, this will help those folks that don’t do apps much to get their feet wet transitioning from printed reviews to online reviews. Provide assistance as needed in helping trying out some of the apps, such as using a camera app with features to memorialize the holiday.

For folks with a Mac, could get them a magic touchpad or magic mouse. Could get folks with older computers a webcam. Get folks an upgrade to iLife. If they install it immediately, help them make a movie trailer of video recorded that day.

Lot of stuff is more exciting than a power adaptor. That is something you might get for yourself, but not a good gift. A backup adaptor is by default something that you hope not to use. It is even less exciting than a backup harddrive, which you will use and hope not to HAVE to use.


Totally agree about the TuneIn Radio app. Love it. Records streams without fuss. Syncs your favorites (“presets”) with the site. The clincher for me is how it immediately shows songs and program names plus cover art for anything that’s playing, even on saved audio. It’s magic.

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