Cult of Mac’s 2011 Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts for the Imagination



Everyone knows that Apple creates products that are great for creating. But part of what makes that statement true is the deep selection of third-party gadgets that make the most of artistic impulse. We’ve painted this next section, Gifts for the Imagination, with examples that’ll help nourish the next Pissarro, Satriani or Cartier-Bresson.

Snapseed iOS Photo App ($5)

Every iPad and iPhone should come with this breakthrough photo-editing app that Apple just named iPad app of the year (it received a noteworthy mention on the iPhone side too). Digital editing software powerhouse Nik Software, long the software filter go-to outfit for professional photogs, took all their image-editing know-how and crammed it into this stunning app — and at the same time, created a revolutionary interface that’s extremely simple and gratifying to use.

Adonit Jot Stylus ($20)

Adonit’s Jot stylus took top honors in our roundup a few months back. Unlike most other styli, the Jot’s clear tip is perfect for precise drawing. It’s also beautifully crafted, machined from a solid block of metal and comes in three pretty anodized colors. Or if you’re feeling generous, pop for the Jot Pro with its more comfortable grip and magnet.

Pix & Stix iPad Drumsticks and Picks ($25)

The iPad version of Garage Band is fantastic; it’s so good, in fact, that an Aussie Kickstarter project has created rubberized conductive drumsticks and picks for the app’s ultra-realistic drum and guitar renditions (of course, it’ll work with other virtual drum and guitar apps too).

iPhone 8x Telephoto Lens ($35)

With its macro, wide and fisheye lenses, the Olloclip lens set for the iPhone we reviewed a few days ago is a great kit — but there’s no telephoto. Add the big boy above and you’ve fixed that  — it’s powerful 8x zoom should be great for ball games or wildlife. There’s probably a good deal of hand shake to deal with though, so the kit thoughtfully comes with a mini tripod.

Wacom Bamboo Capture Wireless Tablet ($99)

Until our Macs get touchscreens, the best way to create and edit design-oriented projects is still with a pad and stylus. The Bamboo Capture, middle rung of Wacom’s just-refreshed Bamboo series, comes with 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity and the option to go wireless with the addition of a $40 add-on. Bonus: also comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements and Autodesk Sketchbook Express.

Apogee Jam ($99)

While the Pix & Stix kit is a great way to play music on your iPad, Apogee’s Jam lets musicians plug a guitar directly into the iPad (or iPhone) and use Garage Band’s awesome recording tools to create music with. And it’s completely plug-and-play — no roadie required.