Believe it or not, Black Friday has already come and gone. Pretty soon the Christmas season will begin, and we’ll mark this midwinter festival by getting together with friends and family and continuing to drink and eat far too much.
Meanwhile, we also buy gifts for those same friends and family members, whether they want them or not. Luckily, we’re here to help, and if you follow our festive advice, your gifts just might make it into the “wanted” category.
From now until Christmas, Cult of Mac will be putting together holiday gift guys full of ideas for the special ones in your life, no matter what their interests or your budget. Today, we’re looking at gifts for Mac lovers (not Mac fighters).
One little USB 3.0 port is pretty useless. In fact, the MacBooks aren’t particularly well-endowed with USB holes of any kind, so do your notebook-owning friend a favor and nudge him towards peripheral heaven with this four-port USB 3.0 hub from Kanex.
I have a couple of other Kanex gadgets in the Cult of Mac office for review, and the build quality is top-notch. Plus, port number one keeps providing ten-watts of power even when disconnected from the computer, so it works as a kind of oversized iPhone charger, too.
Another corporate-y gift, this one is pricy, but will save the giftee a fortune because he won;t have to buy a Thunderbolt display to dock his MacBook.
The DS1 hooks into a single Thunderbolt port and connects the Mac to a DVI or HDMI display, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, a mic input and an audio-out jack
Thus equipped, the MacBook Air can become the brains of a whole desktop setup just by connecting this and a power cable. Neat, if a little too practical to make a romantic gift.
Handsome, tough, and leathery: just like Harrison Ford. The City Slicker combines three layers of protection — impact-resistant plastic and neoprene plus a padded liner — with a distressed leather outer so your lucky MacBook-owning friend (it’s available for Airs and Retina Pros) can stalk the city without anyone knowing what they’re packing. Whip optional.
The KwikDock really is quick. MacBook Pro owners can plug all their cables — USB, Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort and FireWire — into the dock and, when they get to their desk, just shove the whole thing into the left side of the machine. The MagSafe cable can just pass through, your iPhone gets its own built-in dock (the iPad’ll fit too), and there’s even an extra USB port on the front.
Bonus: the iPhone dock’s flip-up stand supports an iPhone 5 perfectly if you’re using the 30-pin dock connector to Lightning connector.
So. Hot. The Dutch Mujji case (available for most Apple devices) is made from felted wool and leather. Felt is tough, super-light and (if coated like this case) water-resistant. And leather is leather.
The case fastens with a single snap closure, and the corners are reinforced with rivet-like things. Buy this for the person you want to take to bed.
Color calibrating a monitor might seem high end, and that’s because it is. But the little Smile forgets about the whole screen-to-print workflow and just makes your monitor display colors accurately. Hook it up, run the software wizard and your colors will be made more neutral, more accurate and more — as the ignorant kids say — better.
Before the Jambox, there was the Bass Jump. Designed to be intimate with the MacBook, it hooks up via USB and outputs only the bass part of your music. The MacBook’s little speakers take care of the mid and high-end, and the crossover can be controlled from a system preference pane.
I have a friend who owns one of these and he completely swears by it.
You’d never catch me paying $450 for an external battery pack for my MacBook — I’d rather buy an iPad mini and enjoy its ridiculous 12-hour battery life instead. But some suckers need the juice, and if you are a) rich and b) married to them or whatever then you should buy them one of these. Hell, you should probably just buy them a spare MacBook Air.
A desktop scanner is great for all those Paperless freaks, and is clearly the way to go for heavy use. But the IPEVO document camera is ideal for low-volume scanning, and it looks a lot better on the desk (feature request: put an LED lamp into v2). Scans can be sent direct to Evernote, and $60 is a helluva lot less than the $200+ you’ll need for a dedicated scanner.
You can never have enough disk space, and that storage can never be fast enough. So why not drop a cool $560-plus on a 4GB ThunderBolt drive from Western Digital? It’ll turn even the lamest little MacBook Air into a lean, mean, media-storage and playback machine.
Bonus: WD’s MyBook drives are fanless, which keeps the noise down during those movie-watching sessions.
Turn your better half’s old HDD-based MacBook into a speedy SSD wonder with the OptiBay. It’s a simple swap-in sled that replaces any Mac’s optical drive with a spare SATA drive bay. Just drop in an SSD to speed up their aging machine, or add a 1TB hard drive for extra storage. Works with any Mac that still has a spinning optical drive.