Believe it or not, Christmas is almost here, 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.
Today, we’re looking at last-minute stocking stuffers. To be honest, if you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping, you should really be out hitting the malls today. But seeing as you’re here reading this instead, here are a few ideas.
Camera Pro Dot – $10
The Camera Pro Dot is a soft, nubbly rubber button which sticks onto your camera’s shutter release and makes it easier to use.
The feel of the button is part of the fun: it’s soft and jellylike, and the nodules give your fingertip a massage as you shoot. If your mind is in the gutter, like mine, then you may be able to think of other even more pleasurable uses for the Dot.
And if you can, the good news is that the smallest pack still contains two dots, meaning there’s one for your giftee, and one for, well, you know…
Why should iPod touch owners get all the fun when it comes to not dropping their device? After all, the iPhones 4/S and 5 are not only slipperier and easier to drop than their non-cellular counterparts; they’re also way more expeensive.
So you might want to buy a $35 wrist strap for your clumsy iPhone-owning friend. The straps are made from leather, and both models come with an aluminum bracket which screws into the bottom of the iPhone (you remove the existing screws and replace them with the supplied longer ones.
Happy warranty-voiding holidays!
Ziploc Baggie – $Not Much
Let’s be honest here: Almost nothing on this list will be available to you today, December 24th, unless you live in a big city. Mail order is out, and time is ticking away. So what about the ultimate gift, the Ziploc baggie.
Seriously. It’s almost free, it’s available anywhere, and it is – along with duct tape – the one MacGyver tool that you can carry as hand luggage on that last minute homeward-bound flight.
Use it as a waterproof case for an iPad or iPhone, and it’ll magically transmit your capacitive finger-rays to the screen within. Use it to cook breakfast in boiling water, or to read your Kindle in the bath. Use it whilst cooking to keep your iPad mini free of kitchen spills, and even use it to cook your Christmas turkey sous-vide style (after chopping the bird into bits, of course.
No, it’s not a great gift. It’ll look like you really don’t care. And – let’s be honest again – if you left your gift-buying this late then you probably really don’t care.
This widget works with any camera-equipped iOS device, triggering the shutter via the headphone jack by sending a volume-up signal to the camera app. Plus, it’s packed in a cute little container that looks like an old 35mm film canister.
Yes, you could chop up little Johnny’s EarPods and stuff them in his stocking, and they’d do the exact same thing. But you would look like a psychopath if you did.
Griffin Mini USB Cable Kit – $25
I have a set of these tiny USB charging cables from Griffin, and they have lasted me for ages. No, there’s no Lightning cable (use an adapter), but they’re still super convenient and can be kept always to hand.
And no, a set of USB charging cables isn’t the most glamorous of gifts, but then neither are socks or ties, and that’s what people usually end up stuffing into stockings.
These genuine Apple Lightning cables are cut up and customized by hand. You can specify length and finish, and then you can hand over your $85, safe in the knowledge that your giftee will lose this even faster than the easy-to-spot white cable that came with his iPhone.
A USB hub might seem like another dull gift, and that’s because it is. So if you’re planning on buying one for somebody you love, then at least have the decency to pony up the $28 Satechi is asking for this stylish, Apple-inspired hub. It won’t stop the recipient from hating you, but it will mean that they’ll hate you a little less.
Sweet! An embarrassing Christmas sweater – for your iPhone. 3-D printed from plastic, the stitches slide over each other like real wool stitches. This is not only great to play with, but makes the case flexible whilst still offering protection. Or you could just give a $75 iTunes gift card.
Memo Pad Organizer – $61
It’s a pad of paper. It costs $61, and it’s full of holes. And yet that description – while completely accurate – fails to do justice to this handsome desktop memo pad. Pro tip: If you do buy this for somebody, leave the price tag on it. Otherwise they’ll think you spent like two bucks on the thing.
$6. Six dollars. SIX DOLLARS. Six. Dollars. That’s all you’ll have to spend to turn a workaday modern-day iPhone into a classic piece of retro design. The re-usable decal sticks onto the back of the iPhone and also offers scratch protection.
Buy it now, while people still know what a Polaroid camera is.
This is a gift not only to the giftee, but also to you, which justifies the $99 price-tag. The Jam connects a guitar to an iPad, iPhone or Mac via USB, and it does it digitally for maximum quality.
What does this mean? That the owner of that electric guitar will spend the Christmas holiday jamming into a pair of headphones and not into a noisy, overdriven amp. You’re welcome.
In my testing so far, this Solar charges fills up fast and charges an iPhone even faster. It’s also portable (it folds up into a neat package with its own mesh storage pocket) and (so far at least) rugged.
Want your kids to spend more time out of doors? Then buy them this.
The best iPad stand out there, and it folds up small enough to fit into a real stocking. Desktop, tabletop, floor-top or thigh-top, it’s stable just about anywhere, and features an embarrassment of iPad (and iPhone) propping features. In fact, you should buy two and keep one for yourself.
This pressure-sensitive stylus will work with any crappy old iPad or iPhone, as long as it has a microphone. The JaJa Hex uses high-frequency sound instead of fancy Bluetooth, which not only lets it work with old devices but also extends the battery life.
Compatible apps are required, but as it works with Noteshelf, PDF Pen, Procreat and Photoshop already, there’s plenty to choose from.