TUAW's Holiday Gift Guide: Slightly wacky last-minute gifts
Welcome to the TUAW Holiday Gift Guide! We've sorted the treasure from the junk and are serving up suggestions to make your holiday gift-giving a little easier.
It's getting late, the shopping season is nearly over, and you just haven't found the perfect item for everyone on your list. Well, worry not: here are a few suggestions for your stocking stuffers that may align very nicely if that special someone is also getting an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone this year.
ClamCase Gift Card: The idea of combining a Bluetooth keyboard with an iPad case is so compelling, it's no surprise that plenty of companies have introduced products along the same basic lines. Unfortunately, one of the most anticipated variants won't ship in time for Christmas, but if you've got your heart set on giving a ClamCase, you have an option: a customized gift card, ready to give to your iPad-toting family member. As a bonus, you'll save US$20 off the regular $119.99 cost of the case/stand/keyboard combo.
Kork Case: If you don't need the keyboard but you do like the idea of keeping green when you encase your iPad, consider the Kork case. The lightweight 50-euro case is made from recycled (and recyclable) natural cork, giving you protection and peace of mind. Be sure to watch the instructional videos to avoid breaking your Kork when you put it on the iPad!
iPlunge: It's a prop stand for your iPhone or iPod touch. It's a tiny little plunger. Really, now, what more do you need? As they say, "just lick it and stick it" ($5.99).
Griffin Slap: Another one of those blindingly obvious products, and yet Griffin does it in style. The Slap gives your iPod nano 6th gen all the fashion sense of a watch you'd find in a carnival game prize rack, but if you like having your music right at hand this might be for you. Starting at $24.
ViewSticks: A Connecticut inventor tackled the problem of rear-seat car mounting for the iPad with this ingenious and relatively low-tech solution. The two brackets slide easily onto the headrest posts, and the rubber band attachment scheme holds the iPad pretty securely (note that if you got an early version of the product, the instructions have been revised). The ViewSticks setup also works with the iPhone or iPod touch, although there's another product (the Seat Buddy) specifically designed for the smaller iThings. If your gift recipients would rather cook than drive, maybe the Kitchen iPad Rack is a better choice.
ProMini Keyboard: If the ClamCase is the Cadillac of keyboard solutions for the iPad, maybe this is the Yugo. The ProMini delivers a Bluetooth keyboard in a decidedly downscaled form factor, but if you absolutely positively gotta have a hardware keyboard (with a handy yet iOS-unfriendly trackpad!) then this might fit the bill. It's $53, and it comes with a built-in laser pointer! Bonus.
i-Karaoke: What could be more fun? Slot your older iPod (it doesn't claim to work with iPhone or the latest-gen iPod touch) into the i-Karaoke, and sing your heart out! Connects to your TV, and it also works with traditional CD-G karaoke discs ($149).
aLoksak: We've often sung the praises of the simple zip-closure plastic bag as an economical solution when you need to protect your iPhone or iPad in moderately risky environments (like the kitchen or the beach). For the iDevice owner who's got more demanding tactical needs, there's the aLoksak -- designed for extreme conditions and far less likely to leak, while still letting you operate the device through the plastic. Prices vary by size, but a three-pack of iPad-sized bags is $11.59.
HeadCase: Finally, for the beer aficionado who also totes an iPhone, this case delivers. Open any bottle with ease using the built-in bottle opener, and keep track of your intake with the included app. The $25 cases are available for the iPhone 3G, 3GS or iPhone 4 and come in black or pink (except for the 4, which is in black only).
Software Updatesmore updates
- Apple Remote Desktop updated with Yosemite support
- OS X Yosemite 10.10.2, iOS 8.1.3 updates now available
- Sports Illustrated 120 SPORTS channel comes to Apple TV
- Logic Pro X update brings AirDrop support, new effects, tools, and more
- Parallels Access 2.5 released, adds file manager, computer-to-computer remote access
- The Google Translate iOS app is about to get a lot smarter