It’s nearly Father’s Day, the time to say thanks to the man who took you fishing, taught you to ride a bike, built a radio for you from something called a “cats’ whisker” and was standing at your side when you killed your first deer. And maybe your second.
Or he just used to sit you in front of a DVD, while he microwaved dinner for both of you. Either way it’s time to give something back. And if you’re anything like us, that “something” will be an awesome iGadget. So sit back, add this page to your Instapaper, make yourself a bottle of milk with a tot of rum in it and enjoy the Cult of Mac Bumper Father’s Day Gift Guide. You’re welcome.
Obviously your dad has an iPhone, otherwise why would you be reading this guide? — you’d have his gift planned out already. And if he also rides a bike, then you should buy him Wahoo’s neat fitness dongle that reads both bike speed and cadence (pedal speed) using magnets on the wheel and crank. This is them beamed to the iPhone via low-powered Bluetooth 4 and can be used by any of the many apps that support external sensors.
Quad Lock Case — From $40
The Quad Lock case is a polycarbonate iPhone case which clicks bayonet-style onto a mount. One of these mounts is for boring old walls, but the other — called the Bar Mount — can be quickly clamped to a bike’s handlebar, a kid’s push-chair or any machine down at the gym. It can be permanently fixed using cable ties, or you can go for a tough but temporary fix with the included O-rings.
If you’re feeling really generous, this will go great with the Wahoo dongle above.
Cocoon Grid It — From $10
If you travel a lot, you’ll know that organization is the key to success (well, that and an immunity to foreign STDs). And nothing needs organizing more than cables and gadgets.
Grid-It’s system covers cases with criss-crossed bands of elastic. The iPad (or whatever) goes inside, and the charger/cables/phone/anything can be tucked in on the outside. Not only does this keep things neat, it also keeps them in view and easy to find.
In fact, this is so useful that you might consider it even if the longest trip your pop takes all year is to the office.
Until you try them, you can’t know what a relief noise-canceling cans can be on an airplane flight. They cut out mush of the wind-noise and background engine rumble, which is restful enough on its own, but they also let you listen to music and movies at a much lower volume, saving your poor eardrums from a beating.
Better still, they make conversation easier, not harder, for the same background-noise supressing reasons. And if you’re going to buy a pair for daddy, these Able Planet phones are better than many. Music is clear, bass is deep and they make rock rock, not floppily roll, into your ears. They also come with a neat case for organized travel (see above).
Cool Cigar-Box Speaker — $350
Your old man should probably spend his spare time making a set of these speakers, but we all know he’s too lazy to do that so you’ll have to buy them.
The cedar cabinets still have the sticky paper seal on them, but inside you’ll find a 2.5-inch aluminum speaker and a 2.5-inch copper-lined bass port. You can hook them up to almost anything via mini-jack, and they plug straight into the mains to get their power (who needs batteries anyway when you never go out?).
This case is ok for toting the iPad wherever you go, but it really shines at home. The soft leather will carry your idle father’s hand, the microfiber lining will clean the iPad’s screen and the multi-angle stand holds the iPad at the perfect angle whether pa is watching TV shows, or watching TV shows (see what I did there?)
Nomad iPad Brushes — From $20
The brushes really do make it feel like you are painting on the iPad’s screen. Used together with an art app like Brushes or Procreate, your pappy can lose hours bringing his creations to the ten-inch screen.
Not convinced? I used to paint with oils, and when I first used Brushes on the iPad with whatever crappy stylus I managed to find here in Barcelona two years ago, I was instantly sucked back into the world of painting. These brushes make the experience a lot, lot better.
And how will daddy hold his iPad as he paints? The Speck HandyShell is just that — a rear shell case with a handy handle on the back. This handle can be hinged and twisted to make a stand at any angle, to hold the iPad like a guitar or just to grab onto to steady the thing as you snap photos or paint on the iPad’s screen.
Bonus: the rubbery rear shell is also great to cushion against small bumps.
Changers Solar Charger — $150
Maybe your father is so outdoorsy that he eschews technology in all forms. In which case, he’ll probably have forgotten about Father’s Day altogether and you’re off the hook.
But that’s unlikely. What is likely is gadgets going dead in the wilderness. What your begetter needs is a solar panel and charger like this one from Changers.
The panel is tough, flexible and light, and the charger has a battery that is good to juice and iPhone around once. Two holes can be filled with the supplied suction cups, or paps can just use them to bungee the panel to his backpack or whatever.
I use one, and I find it ideal for bike trips.
The Biolite stove takes leaves and twigs and turns them into a howling gale of heat along with 5-watts of handy USB power. It does this by using a fan to pump air into the flames, and the power for the fan is produced by the heat from the fire itself.
So hot and efficiently does it burn that there is juice left over for your iPhone. Sure, for a full charge it’s probably better to rely on the sun’s power, but to run a light in camp, or just to top-up the batteries on your GPS it’s ideal.
The Composer is at the sweet spot (forgive the pun) in Lensbaby’s lineup of image-mangling lenses. It costs just $200, but offers a good glass lens and an easy-to-twist body.
The Lensbabys are all about one thing — blurring most of your photograph and leaving just one small sweet spot in sharp focus. This spot is moved around the frame by physical tilting the lens barrel, and its size is governed by the size of the removable aperture rings.
For a photographer, it’s just about the most fun you can have with your clothes on (short of a quick spot of frottage).
At just $8.50, this is probably the cheapest gift in this lineup. It is also the one that is most likely to disappoint your dad. These little plastic cups are in fact rear caps for lenses, and they have various focal lengths printed on them. The idea is that you can quickly pick the right lens from a bag so you never miss a shot.
But if your pops is smart enough be earning money as a photographer (for why else would grabbing the shot be so essential?) then he is also smart enough to buy a whiteout marker and do the job himself.
Then again, of your father is an OCD neat freak, this might be just the thing.
The iGrill is great for BBQs, and even better for long, slow home cooking. The probe sticks into the target food and you can use it just like any other probe thermometer. The neat bit comes when you add the companion iPhone app, which talks to the thermometer via Bluetooth and gives you remote access to all kinds of info and alarms. It comes in black or white and ships with two probes.
Thanks to you, your male parent need never burn a roast again.
Back. Forth. Back. Forth. That’s the way the food and utensils are usually brought out to the yard in preparation for a cookout, and if your dad is anything like mine, it’s you that does the carrying, not him. So do yourself a favor and buy him this purpose made tray and organizer.
The Porter Grab has three lidded plastic sections for raw and cooked food, plus a neat wire condiment tray that can hang off the side or be stowed within. All of this fits inside a serving tray, also with a lid, so the only trips you’ll be making to the kitchen will be to fetch more beer.
If your poppy loves driving more than he loves your mother, then he should probably do something about that pretty soon. In the meantime, give him this beautifully machined aluminum charger, which converts the cigarette lighter socket into a 5-volt USB plug, ready to juice the gadget of his choice.
Of course, now he’ll have to use a regular lighter to light his cigarettes, but that’s a small price to pay to always be able to remain distracted by the phone and endanger other road users
Plugging your iPhone into your car stereo is so 2007. Why not ditch that dumb stereo altogether and replace it with a stereo and head unit that are built for the iPhone? That’s the Devium Dash, which consists of a standard car-stereo-sized dash unit (into which the iPhone slides) and a box in the trunk that does all the radio tuning and amplifying duty.
Available in machined aluminum (if you really love your father) or cheap plastic (you’re a bad son/daughter).