Nov 12 2012 - Apple computer users tend to be fiercely loyal to their computers and the company that makes it. This makes giving a computer gift a bit more challenging but thankfully there are a wide range of peripherals and accessories for Apple's products. Here are some various ideas for gifts one can give to an Apple computer user.
Apple revolutionized tablet computing with their iPad. The big problem is that the tablets are also some of the most expensive available. With the rise of the low cost 7-inch tablets, Apple decided it was time to release a smaller tablet and the iPad Mini is the result. This incredibly thin and light tablet may not have as sharp screens as its competition but it is functional and of course compatible with Apple's iOS apps. Think of it very much like a smaller version of the iPad 2 but with some better features all while at a lower price. The best part is that this tablet manages to have running times longer than many of the 10-inch tablets. It is available in white or black versions with the 16GB Wi-Fi version prices starting at $329.
Apple has redesigned their Apple TV product to drop the networking storage and make it a low cost media streaming device. Once hooked up to your TV and wireless network, the device can be used to stream music and video from either an iTunes equipped Mac (or PC) or over the network from Apple for TV or movie rentals as well as Netflix. The device can be controlled by the included remote or via iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. With the removal of the small hard drive, the device also is much cheaper with just a $99 price tag.
As Apple moves more and more into the digital distribution, more and more of its products are now not coming with a DVD drive. If you have one of these computers and would still like to watch your DVD collection or maybe load some software from and old DVD, then you need to have an external drive. The Apple USB SuperDrive is a good choice because it is a slim and compact design that matches apple designs thanks to the aluminum exterior. It also has the advantage of being able to run off a single USB connector while most third part ones require two which is hard for some of the smaller laptops. The only downside is the $79 price tag.
Apple's iLife suite of software is one of the easiest to use set of applications. Whether it is used for photo editing via iPhoto, video editing with iMovie or making music with GarageBand, there are plenty of new features in iLife '11 that would make any Apple user happy. One of the nice new features is the inclusion of face recognition for the iMovie applications similar to what they did with iPhoto. The software is also very affordable with single user versions around $50 and family packs available for around $80.
Apple's Time Capsule is a merger of an Airport Extreme wireless access point and an external hard drive unit. The reason is to allow Mac computers running a version the Mac OS X operating system with the Time Machine backup feature to easily back up their computer system over a wireless network. The wireless network features support 802.11a/g/n networking standards and has dual-band antennae to work with both at the same time. It also includes a three port gigabit Ethernet switch for connecting the device via a wired network. A wide area network port allows the device to share an internet connection with multiple clients. It is available with either a 2TB or 3TB hard drive. Prices range from $270 to $500.
Apple's only display product now is the Thunderbolt display. This 27-inch display uses the same LCD panel found in the 27-inch iMac that provides a 2560x1440 resolution and uses very little energy thanks to the LED backlight. The panel comes only with a Thunderbolt port for video input and is essentially a reworked version of the previous DisplayPort version of the 27-inch LED Cinema Display. This is compatible with older laptops using the mini-Displayport but older DVI equipped Macs will require an adapter cable. The display also features a three port USB 2.0 hub, FireWire 800 port and Gigabit Ethernet for easily tying all these into the display rather than your laptop. Finally, there is a MagSafe power connector for plugging into your Apple laptop to charge. The price is pretty high though at $999.
Pretty much every Apple computer built comes built-in with a Bluetooth wireless adapter. This is perfect for use with Bluetooth peripheral devices to keep down the wire clutter on the desktop. The Apple Wireless Keyboard takes on an ultra-thin profile with aluminum casing found on its entire product line. This is a great item to add to any of the desktop units but is also useful to those looking to use a laptop in a desktop environment with an external keyboard. It can even be used as a full keyboard for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch instead of the virtual keyboards. The only real drawback to the keyboard design is the lack of a numeric keypad. Prices are around $70.
While most of the Apple computer products have built-in audio, they tend to still leave room for improvement due to their limited size. A set of external stereo speakers can help enhance the audio experience of Apple's computer. The Bose Companion 2 are a set of compact stereo speakers that won't take up much space but have very good audio. The aluminum color also compliments the aluminum designs of Apple's computers. Since it runs off a standard headphone jack for input, they can also be used with an iPod, iPad or iPhone. Best part is that it has two sets of inputs so you can use it with your computer but switch over to another device if you feel like it. Price is around $100.
Like using a trackpad instead of a mouse? Never fear, Apple hasreleased a trackpad that can be used with any computer via a Bluetooth interface. The design is similar to their wireless keyboard design with the majority of the surface taken up by a multitouch trackpad surface. With various gestures, it is possible to execute specific commands within the Mac OSX software. This is probably less useful for laptop users and best suited to compliment the wireless keyboard for iMac or Mac mini users. Pricing is around $70.