The holidays are once again upon us, which for most folks means cooler weather, hanging decorations, and gift shopping. While we can’t help you with the first two things, we can offer up some great gift ideas so you don’t have to spend hours fighting your way through crowded retail stores. Today’s roundup is focused on iPad users.
A good stylus can unlock a whole new world for the iPad, allowing you to do things like draw, take notes and even interact with digital coloring books. And if the person you’re shopping for has an iPad Pro, the best stylus you can get them is the Apple Pencil. It was designed by Apple to work as accurately as possible with their tablet, and it can charge quickly via its Lightning port. Again, it’s for iPad Pro models only.
Alternative: If they don’t have an iPad Pro, we really like the Adonit Jot Pro.
Apple Smart Keyboard
A physical keyboard also makes for an excellent gift for iPad owners. It allows you to type faster and more efficiently, and most offer shortcut buttons that can make you more productive. I like Apple’s Smart Keyboard for two reasons: it connects to the iPad Pro’s Smart Connector, so there’s no need for external power or pairing, and it can fold up around your tablet like a case for ultimate portability. Unfortunately, like the Pencil, it too is only for iPad Pro models.
Alternative: if they don’t have an iPad Pro, or you just don’t like the Smart Keyboard, we really like the Logitech Create.
STM Atlas Slim Folio iPad Case
Given that the iPad has a large glass display and an even bigger scratch-able surface area, it’s not hard to advocate iPad owners to use a case. As with the iPhone, there are literally thousands available, but we really like the Atlas Slim Folio from STM. It looks great, covers the iPad front-to-back, and it can fold into a stand for watching movies. Also, there are versions available for all late iPad models, and the iPad Pro version features a built-in holster for an Apple Pencil.
You can buy the STM Atlas case for iPad starting at $38 (price depends on iPad model).
Alternative: if you’d prefer something more minimal, try something like the Incipio Feather case that just covers the back of the iPad.
Apple Smart Cover
Apple’s Smart Cover is very thin and extremely versatile. It attaches via magnets on the edge of the iPad’s display so it can be folded to cover either the front or back, or molded into a stand for typing or viewing media. I actually own both a Smart Cover and an iPad case, and tend to use the former around the house and the latter when traveling. If I could only choose one, though, I’d pick the versatility and thinness of the Smart Cover.
Twelve South Book Book Travel Journal
What’s even better than a case or cover? Twelve South’s Travel Journal. It features the familiar Book Book design, with hand-stressed genuine leather, and it has interior storage pockets for everything from headphones, to battery packs and charging cables. If your iPad user travels frequently, this is a no-brainer. And even if they don’t, this makes for a great all-around storage spot for Apple’s tablet.
ROLI Lightpad Block
If you’re looking for a more outside-the-box gift, check out the Lightpad Block from ROLI. This modular music studio is probably one of the hottest new iPad accessories out right now—you’ll probably see it front and center at your local Apple Store. The Block features a touch-sensitive silicon surface that allows you to shape sounds and music through tapping, sliding and other intuitive gestures. It can connect to other Blocks, or to your iPad via Bluetooth, for even more functionality.
Apple Lightning Digital AV Adapter
I know an “adapter” doesn’t sound like a great gift idea, but this one has functionality that will truly delight. Apple’s Lightning Digital AV adapter allows you to connect your iPad to any HDMI-equipped TV or projector. This not allow enables you to mirror your tablet’s display to the big screen, but also output video for things like movies and games.
Logitech Base Charging Stand
This is probably my favorite accessory for the iPad Pro. Logitech’s Base charging stand uses Apple’s Smart Connector tech to add power to your tablet, so all you have to do is drop your iPad onto the stand, feel the magnetic click, and your iPad automatically starts charging. There’s no cables to fumble with or special cases to worry about. This is about as close as you’ll get to wireless charging on the iPad. Plus, the stand itself is very sturdy and holds your iPad at a nice, viewable angle. Worth noting again, this is for iPad Pro models only.
Alternative: if the user doesn’t have an iPad Pro, or you’d prefer something less expensive, check out Twelve South’s Compass iPad stand.
SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller
We recommended this game controller in our iPhone user gift guide, and I have no problem recommending it again here. A good gamepad like the Nimbus essentially turns your iPad into a portable gaming console. Apple’s tablets, including the latest Pro models, are extremely powerful and capable of pushing very high-level graphics and gameplay. The consensus is that the Nimbus is the best gamepad on the market right now, and it works with iPad, iPhone and Apple TV.
UE BOOM 2 Bluetooth Speaker
I always say that Bluetooth speakers make the best presents (for people that don’t already have one), and one of my favorites right now is the UE BOOM 2. I have given multiple BOOMs as gifts over the years, and the recipients are always impressed with its size and sound. Version 2 of this speaker features better waterproofing, enhanced connectivity options, and a physical button for accessing voice assistants like Siri.
You can buy the UE BOOM 2 Bluetooth speaker for $165 (sale price).
Alternative: for a less expensive option with similar features, check out the JBL Flip 3.
Be sure to check out our other gift idea roundups: