Type “Mother’s Day” into Google and right above the search results it’ll say “Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 13, 2012.” Put it in your diary, order some flowers and get ready to spend some money on the woman who gave the best part of her life just so you could sit around reading sites like Cult of Mac on your iPhone.
To help you repay her frankly pointless sacrifice, here’s our Grand Cult of Mac Mother’s Day Gift Guide 2012, the best and most definitive gift advice guide you’ll read this year. Whether you mother is a nerd, a technophobe, a globetrotting traveller or just plain lazy, we’ve got you covered. There’s a Mac- or iOS-centric gift for every kind of Mom in here… even yours! Read on:
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Every iCloud account comes with 5GB storage, and — happily — PhotoStream photos, and iTunes Match music don’t count towards this total. But if your mother is so sieve-brained that she will never remember to back up her iPad to her Mac or PC using iTunes, then you might want to buy her a little extra storage space on Apple’s servers
The pricing comes out like this:
$20 for 10GB
$40 for 20GB
$100 for 50GB
These are the prices for one year, and can be bought through the iCloud section in the Settings app on the iPad. As the price will be charged to your mother’s account, the easiest way to do this is to buy her an iTunes gift card, grab her iPad and set it up yourself. Don’t worry — she’ll have forgotten about it in a few minutes anyway.
You or I know exactly where you mother’s iPhone/keys/TV remote is: forgotten in her jacket pocket or jammed down the back of the sofa. But as your mother struggles to keep a fact in her head for more than a few seconds, she can never remember where they are. Enter the wireless keyfinder. You can probably pick one of these up in any store, but this one from Amazon seems as good as any, and comes with enough tags to attach to anything — even the cat.
To use it, mom just has to press the correct button on her transmitter and the corresponding tag will start to beep. Tip: it’s probably best to put the transmitter on a string around her neck.
Lenses For iPhone
These magnetic lenses from Photojojo will add fisheye, macro, telephoto and wide-angle lenses to your mom’s new favorite camera. The set comes with a few bags of self-adhesive metal rings which can be stuck onto the iPhone itself, or onto the backs of any and every case she might own, and the lenses snap onto these rings. When I tested them here at Cult of Mac, I found them to be pretty good for general photography, and a lot of fun when you start getting into the fisheye and macro experiments.
The kit costs $50 from Photojojo.
Jill-E Camera Bag
Jill-E makes camera bags that look like stylish purses, not the usual dorky nylon and zipper-festooned bags that men have to put up with. Fashioned from leather and other fabrics, the stylish exteriors hide padded, segmented interiors with pockets designed for all kinds of camera gear.
Make no mistake — Jill-E bags aren’t some half-assed attempt at putting a bit of padding inside a fashion purse. They’re designed as well as any bag from the likes of LowePro or Kata. Or maybe better, as they’re not so damn ugly.
Some moms are scared to touch the TV remote lest it spontaneously explode, killing the TV and all connected devices at the same time. Others, like your super geeky mother, are equally at home with Galaga and Halo as they are with changing your diapers for all those years, you ungrateful offspring, you.
For this mother, you should consider the iCade, a miniature replica of the arcade cabinets she used to stub out her cigarettes on during those wasted teenage years (you know she used to smoke, right? And not just cigarettes, either…)
The iCade has a slot for your iPad, and frankly it is cool enough just to use as a dock. But fire up one of a growing range of retro (and modern) games and you can use the knob-headed joystick and tough, slap-resistant arcade buttons to play games that were never meant for the touch screen.
The iCade, from ThinkGeek, will cost you $99. You know she’s worth it.
The Voomote zapper is a dongle that dangles from the 30-pin dock connector of an iPhone and beams infrared commands to any appliance capable of receiving them. In effect, it turns you iPhone into a touch-screen universal remote, only it does it for just $70 instead of the hundreds you might pay for a standalone hardware version.
If your mom’s TV, video, stereo and home-theater setup are already included in the Voomote’s database, then you’re good to go. If not, then you’ll need to go through a manual programming process. But fear not: are we not in the Geeky Mom section? Your mother will have no problem getting this ready for action.
TV Addict Mom
Elgato EyeTV Mobile
Is your mother a TV addict? Would she raher watch Who Wants to be a Millionaire than phone a friend? Then she needs the Elgato EyeTV Mobile, a widget which will turn her iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch into a TV she can watch anywhere.
Yes, Mom might have a TV in the bedroom, living room and kitchen. But does she have one in the bathroom? Does she have one in line at the supermarket? Does she have one sitting in her row at church? No, I didn’t think so.
The EyeTV Mobile is a €99 adapter that plugs into the iDevice and adds a TV antenna and tuner. The companion app lets you watch TV, pause it, record shows for later and even consult a program guide.
If you have used Elgato products on your Mac, you’ll know that they’re pretty good, but the Mobile goes one better because it is so, well, so mobile. Better still, the TV shows come over the air, so you don’t have to worry about killing your bandwidth allowance.
What’s better than watching live TV? Watching any TV show or movie you like, whenever you like. That’s the promise of Netflix streaming and — although the reality doesn’t quite live up to that promise thanks to backward-thinking license agreements from the TV companies — it gets pretty close.
As long as your mother has a decent internet connection, she will be able to watch shows without delay, on demand. And she can watch from pretty much any device in the house, from your cast-off old Xbox to a cheap Roku box to an Apple TV or an iPad.
Subscriptions start at $8 per month.
Is your mother terrified of technology? Does she “go into” her e-mail and believe that the entire internet exists inside Google.com? Then she needs an iPad.
Apple’s tablet does many things, but perhaps the most important is what it doesn’t do: scare people. With the one-touch rescue of the home button, the impossibility of installing malware from the App Store and the everything-just-works operating system, it’s the perfect computer for people who are scared of computers.
It’s so easy that you could probably also buy her Apple’s camera connection kit and she can finally do something with the photos on her camera, instead of showing them to friends on its tiny screen and deleting pictures when the card runs out of space.
Bonus: you only have to spend $400 for an iPad 2.
What could be more creepy than a son buying a bra for his mother? A son buying a low-tech bra-with-pockets for his mother, that’s what.
It’s called the JoeyBra, and it has see-through mesh (creepy!) pockets into which your gadget-hating mother can stuff her iPhone, credit cards or maybe even a pack of rubbers (creepier!). The JoeyBra will cost $30, and mother will never suffer the embarrassment of having to be seen using tech in public.
One word of warning, though: Storing a delicate phone right under a sweaty armpit might be a recipe for disaster.
You might not want to admit it, but you have a clumsy mom, a woman who is as sweet and as caring as could be, but who couldn’t manage to keep a hold of something if her life depended on it. If your mother has the motor skills of a three-year-old toddler, if the most familiar sounds from your parent’s kitchen are the crashes of pots and the smashing of china, if it sounds like an elephant is walking upstairs every time your dear mother goes to the bathroom, then you have a clumsy mom.
Luckily, we can do something about this, although it won’t necessarily be pretty. The Extreme Portfolio for iPad is an impact-absorbing case which will protect the iPads one through three from even the clumsiest klutz of a mother. The case is made from a material that actually stiffens up on impact, absorbing most of the shock, and the inside of the front flap has a hard, screen-protecting layer.
In demos, the cases have been launched from space and had bowling balls dropped on them. Each time, the iPad inside failed to notice. I use one as a handlebar mount for my iPad when out touring and it holds up just fine. $90.
Spigen Glass Screen Protector
Who really cares about the rear of the iPad anyway? After all, it’s the screen that’s really important. Which is where the Spigen Glass iPad screen protector comes in. It’s a tempered glass panel which sticks onto the front of an iPad 3 and pretty much disappears. Because it is glass, not plastic, it cuts out almost no light and feels just like the real iPad screen beneath. It is also easy to fit — you just line it up, press the centre lightly and watch as the silicone seal spreads across the gap, automagically.
And if you do scratch it, you’ll just have to buy a $70 replacement, not a whole new iPad.
Quad Lock iPhone Mount
Does your mom spend her days down at the gym or out riding a bike instead of sitting at home and playing sudoku? Good for her. However, you could make things even better for her by buying this ingenious Quad Lock case so she can visit the gym and play sudoku at the same time.
The Quad Lock is an iPhone case and mount which can be, uh, mounted on pretty much anything — from bike handlebars to a stroller to gym equipment to a car dashboard. And an included wall mount make it even more versatile. You know a gift is good when you want to buy another one to keep for yourself. The Quad Lock is one of those gifts. Starts at $40.
The Nike Fuelband is pretty much just a fancy pedometer, only it goes on your wrist, and instead of counting steps it measures your movements in “Nike Fuel.” Whatever this “fuel” might be, it is counted as you move, whichever kind of sport you do, and is displayed both on the band itself and on the companion iPhone app (yes, of course there’s an iPhone app).
The app graphs your progress, lets you beat targets and even tells you how many calories you have burned. The Fuelband isn’t cheap, though. You’re going to have to really, really have to love your mother to spend $150 on her.
Don’t Panic iPad Case
Some moms don’t get out much. By which I mean that your momma’s so fat that when she lays around the house, she lays around the house.
No matter, because we have just the thing for her lazy ass. The Don’t Panic iPad case is a great indoor case. Its felt and leather construction means that it can be wrapped, propped, folded and stood just about anywhere, and the super-strong magnets inside will even let you stick it to the fridge or wrap it around your leg.
It’s not the most protective of cases out there, and its magnets are like Kryptonite to ATM and credit cards, but indoors it’s hard to beat. Think of it as being like your favorite pair of slippers, only for the iPad. The Don’t Panic case costs $99.
Twelve South Hover Bar
Wait, you mother doesn’t even get out of bed? Well, then she might appreciate the Hover Bar. Sure, in the picture above it might look like it’s a way to keep your iPad up by your iMac, but that clamp works equally well on a bedpost. Thus secured, you mother can enjoy trashy daytime TV and romantic novels without even having to move. How’s that for showing your love?
The Hover Bar is available now, and will cost you $80.
Lucky you! Not only is your mom always bringing you back exotic gifts from her world travels, she doesn’t mind you living at her place while she’s gone. Why not repay the generosity with the Origami Workstation case and Apple Bluetooth keyboard for her iPad?
The Origami ($30) is a neat keyboard case that folds out to make a sturdy, stiff lap-desk with a section at the back for propping up an iPad. It’s ingenious, and means that you can use a full-sized keyboard with your iPad wherever you might be.
And if you’re really lucky, mom might give you that old MacBook Air she no longer needs.
Grid-It Tablet Bag
For the rest of your mother’s travel needs, why not pick up the Grid-it tablet bag ($25)? It’s a sleeve with a bunch of elastic strips criss-crossing the front. These stretchy straps are ideal for stashing cables, cords and other clutter when on the go, keeping everything organized and yet ready to access.
And if mom doesn’t have an iPad? There are plenty of other Grid-Its to choose from, even ones which are for organizing only, with no gadget sleeve included.
Lucky you. You get to come home to a delicious home-cooked meal every night. Say thank you with this combo of kitchen-friendly accessories, made to keep your mother’s gadgets safe as she fattens you up.
Chef Sleeves are waterproof, gunge-proof bags to protect the iPad from spills and accidents. Sure, you could use a reusable Ziploc bag instead, but nothing says “I love you” more than filling up the Earth with disposable plastic sacks that won’t decay for millennia (they are recyclable, should there be a hippie in your family).
The Sleeves come on a roll in a box which doubles as a dispenser, and the plastic is food-safe should you wish to eat off them too. What’s more, they’re “only” 80 cents each, with a box of 25 coming in at an astonishing $20.
Better than protecting the iPad is to keep it out of the danger zone to begin with. The iPad Ledge is an aluminum wall-mount for any tablet of smartphone. It is low profile, and can be either stuck or screwed into place up on the wall.
Thus perched, the iPad ($50) or iPhone ($25) can play music or video, act as a high-tech cookbook or just sit safely out of harm’s way, ready for use.
Finally, don’t forget apps. If you’re anything like the Cult of Mac team, who right this minute are typing things like “Wait. Is it mother’s day this weekend??” into our chatroom, then you probably won’t be reading this guide until it’s too late. If so, just head to the app store and try to find something your mother would like. And try to do better next year, you ungrateful little monster.