Like last year, Apple is once again dedicating the entirety of its Apple.com home page to commemorate Marin Luther King Jr Day. A black and white photo fills the entire width and height of the browser, with all product marketing removed to focus on the celebration. The quote used cleverly reflects Apple’s company values in products as well as their goals towards society and ecology: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”
Every year during the holiday season Apple products top the wish lists of many consumers and end up being one of the top gifted items when it’s all said and done. Now, Yahoo-run analytics firm Flurry Insights has shared the gift giving trends for this holiday season, again showing that Apple devices were among the most popular items received this year.
In my last gift guide, I did a themed roundup of the best HomeKit gear to deck out your home this holiday season. This post is about my personal favorite items and accessories across all of iOS and Mac ecosystems, most of these products I use every day for work and for fun. My picks include the Gorillapod tripod, the Philips Hue HomeKit lights, Rock Jaw earbuds, MH30 earphones, MarsBox Bluetooth speaker, the latest Apple TV, an MFI game controller, some Elgato smart home gear and an iPad Pro. I love technology but I consciously refrain from buying too much stuff and have a relatively slim personal gadget portfolio, so these products are carefully chosen.
Read on after the break to see why I selected these ten items specifically …
There’s no need to go straight to stuffing your stockings with socks and other go-to but boring gifts. If you have an Apple lover on your list, there are a ton of great must-haves for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch users that can be had for under $10, $25, or $50. And if you’d rather let them decide, stick with a gift card that any Apple product user can take advantage of from places like iTunes and Amazon.
Head below for our roundup of the best stocking stuffers for Apple lovers at every price point:
Continuing its ‘From one gift come many’ campaign, Apple has published a new commercial entitled ‘The Song’. The ad depicts a young woman listening to a song on a record player, from her youth. The girl then learns the tune using their guitar, recording the tune on a Mac.
The girl then leaves an iPad preloaded with the same song for an older relation, her grandmother, provoking the same emotions of her childhood and memories. The ad concludes with a Happy Holidays message from the company. Apple describes the ad with the following prelude on its website:
Some gifts create a million more. Watch as one budding musician uses Mac and GarageBand to make a heartfelt song for her grandmother.
Flexibits, makers of Fantastical for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, just kicked off their huge Black Friday holiday sale early with savings up to 65% off the regular price of their apps.
If you haven’t already tried Fantastical, it’s my favorite calendar replacement app–especially for iPhone–with natural language input and a clear list view for finding your appointments easily. Both the iPhone and iPad versions feature Today view widgets, extensions, and interactive notifications for iOS 8 users, and the Mac app is a simple menu bar app for accessing from anywhere.
Here are the deals:
Fantastical for iPhone:
$4.99 $1.99 (60% off)
Fantastical for iPad:
$14.99 $4.99 (65% off and lowest price yet)
Fantastical for Mac:
$19.99 $9.99 (50% off)
In addition to discounting Fantastical for each platform, Flexibits is also taking half off its Chatology app which helps you archive and search messages on your Mac. Available from Flexibits.com, the $19.99 app is on sale for $9.99 for the holidays. For more deals and savings, stay tuned to 9to5Toys for all the best Black Friday deals.
Today it was revealed that for the holiday season Google will be giving its employees a Nexus 5 or a Nexus 7. In past years, Apple has not given its retail employees a significant gift for the holiday, though employees have been given hoodies.
The first gift to Apple Retail Employees was $10 off of a $50 iTunes gift card. This isn’t something to brag about considering a lot of stores offer this promotion frequently. Another gift Apple gives its retail employees is the ability to purchase third-party accessories at a steep discount, with new products being added to the selection each week. Apple has done this in past years:
Select Apple Stores across the United States will open up at 6 AM for Black Friday on November 29th (via MacRumors). Apple typically holds a special shopping event with minor discounts on iPads, iPods, Macs, and third-party accessories on Black Friday, and we’re expecting Apple to do the same next Friday. Many Apple Stores in the U.S. will not be open at 6 AM on Black Friday, and many stores seem to be opening at their regular time, 7 AM, 8 AM, or 9 AM. The 6 AM stores seem to mainly be those in malls. It is best to check Apple’s retail hours on their website. Stores in Canada will open at their regular time, a couple hours earlier, or as early as 7 AM.
Ahead of the Mother’s Day “commercial holiday” in May, Apple has updated its online store with a Mother’s Day theme. Apple seems to be heavily promoting the iPad more than other products. Additionally, the company is promoting various accessories.
Walmart now offers iPhone 5 for $127, 4S for $47, and third-gen iPad for $399; Target to discount Virgin’s Prepaid 4S to $399 (updated)
Walmart is continuing to slash price tags on Apple products this holiday season, as the global retailer just announced it is now offering the 16GB iPhone 5 for $127.
Walmart also cut the iPhone 4S from $89.97 to $47 starting today, with both smartphones sales subject to the usual two-year contract, and it further lowered the (update below) 16 GB third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi to $399. Walmart said its iPad deal would feature a bonus $30 iTunes card beginning Dec. 17, but all special rollback prices are in-store only.
Target plans to offer an Apple product sale, as well. It will discount Virgin Mobile’s Prepaid 16GB iPhone 4S from $449.99 to $399.99 starting Dec. 16, but the deal is only available at Target Mobile locations.
Update 1: Walmart’s story continues to evolve. We’ll continue to update.
Update 2: Walmart’s PR agency made multiple corrections to its original announcement today. While the first press release said the third-generation iPad would go on sale for $399 on Dec. 17, a later correction indicated the deal actually started today for the fourth-generation iPad. Now, this evening, Walmart’s PR agency has made another correction: today’s $399 sale is for the third-generation iPad. The rollback prices for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S remain correct.
9to5Mac contacted Walmart directly today on multiple occasions to verify the sale prices advertised in the press release, but only its PR agency would comment on specifics and make subsequent corrections.
With this year’s holiday season looming, the online Apple Store is ready with the new Holiday Gift Guide section. Holiday gift ideas include Apple’s most popular mobile devices and computers as well as a hand-picked selection of third-party products, add-ons, device accessories and even fashion cases to carry your products around in style.
The gadget maker teases:
All kinds of gifts for all kinds of lists. Shop the season’s finest accessories for iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Mac.
All products on offer in the Holiday Gift Guide come with free shipping, Apple notes. And with gift wrapping and free personal laser engraving, plus in-store pickup, it gets even better. If you were planning on making anyone’s season bright, including your own, shop the Holiday Gift Guide section over at the online Apple Store. Or just use the updated Apple Store app to shop from the palm of your hand or use the self-checkout option in-store.
From the Toys section:
Amazon has a small special Christmas gift for shoppers today: $2 in free music. Simply head here, click the Button and enter the Code “GIVEMP3S”. $2 will be automatically applied to your account. Use it to buy holiday music or send a small last minute gift to someone? MP3 Gift ideas here.