Serious Apple fans probably already have iPods, iPhones and such. So if you’re looking to surprise a diehard fanboy (or fangirl) this holiday season, you’ll have to go a little off the beaten track in your search for the perfect gift. We’ve scoped out some of the most unique Apple-related products, as well as a few that you’ve no doubt heard of already, but we’re sure would delight any Mac fan. Either way, we’re sure you’ll find something awesome for the Mac geek on your list.
Exploded 128 shirt
Party like it’s 1984! Well, maybe “party” is a bit of an overstatement, but you can certainly bring some Apple-geek cred to your wardrobe when you rock this awesome shirt. Designed by artist Garry Booth, it’s a faithful graphic recreation of the guts inside the original 128k Mac. And yeah, that “128” refers to the 128 KB of RAM that the world’s first Mac had built in. Add in a 9-inch monochrome screen, and a chunky mechanical mouse, and you had the most innovative home computer that $2,495 could buy. Lucky for you, the shirt’s only 19 bucks. Hoodies and screen printed posters are also available.
Ever wish you could ask Steve Jobs for advice? Maybe he can finally figure out why you can’t selectively copy text in the iPhone’s Messages app. Or maybe you just want to know when (or if) a decent Apple TV update is ever going to happen. Unfortunately, the odds of you getting some one on one time with the big guy is slim--it’s easier snagging an audience with the Queen of England.
With Plush Jobs at your side though, you can ask him anything you want, any time of day. He could also hang out with your little sister’s Barbie dolls, or snuggle with you (you weirdo) and reassure you that one day, tethering really will be available on the iPhone. Unfortunately, Plush Jobs is sold-out for now, so if you really want one, you’ll have to try your luck on eBay, although Plush Jobs’ creator says that if there’s demand, more will be made.
Something from The Company Store
Everybody knows that the best place to get Apple gear is the Apple Store. But with more than 200 stores around the globe, and a web store open 24 hours a day, none of that stuff is very exclusive. And the Apple Store doesn’t sell t-shirts, hats or other Apple logo schwag. If you’re looking for something a bit more unique for your favorite Apple fan, you need to go to the source.
The Company Store is Apple’s employee store, located at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA--and you don’t need to be an Apple employee to shop there. It looks similar to the brick and mortar Apple store, and you’ll find a variety of software, books, and other accessories for Apple products. Additionally, the Company Store is the only official source for Apple memorabilia, including hats, shirts, pens and other items emblazoned with the iconic Apple logo. Our favorite is the t-shirt that reads “I visited the Mothership.”
Retro Apple Stickers
From 1976 until 1998, Apple’s logo was the bitten apple, with a six-color striped pattern. Designed by Rob Janoff at Steve Jobs’ request, the legend goes that Jobs wanted something colorful to bring a human element to the fledgling tech company’s image. When Jobs returned to Apple in the late 90’s after his infamous 1985 ouster by then CEO John Scully, one of the first things he did was update the logo to reflect the new, modern direction the computer company would take.
In it’s modern monochromatic incarnation, the Apple logo has become an icon, but for many an Apple old-timer, the striped logo brings back fond memories of 5.25-inch floppies, green monochrome screens, and Oregon Trail. And while ubiquitous Apple stickers are now only available in a bland white, you can still find the classic striped version for sale online by collectors. And at less than ten bucks, they’re certainly a lot cheaper to buy than the vintage Macs that they originally came with.
27” iMac i5
Quad-core iMac. Honestly, does the biggest, baddest iMac need an introduction? If the gorgeous 27-inch, LED backlit 16:9 display isn’t enough to convince you that the new iMac is the Apple gift of the season, think about the rest of the specs. It can accommodate up to 16GB of RAM, and rocks an ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR3 memory. A 7200 RPM, 1TB drive gives you plenty of room to store tons of HD video. The new 27-inch iMacs also fit standard VESA mounts so you can throw that bad boy up on the wall and make your own “Apple TV.” With video input, the iMac can become the center of your digital entertainment empire. And did we mention that the whole thing is powered by a quad-core Intel i5 processor?
In 1993, the MessagePad was the cutting edge in handheld technology. An early take on the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), Apple released several MessagePad models that ran Newton OS. They featured applications for notes, contacts, clock, calculator, and Works, a rudimentary word processor and drawing program. The whole thing worked with Newton’s built-in handwriting recognition software, which was quirky, to say the least. And Apple may have been a bit before its time with the Newton OS. While the MessagePad failed to catch fire, Palm came in a few years later and made a killing with the Palm Pilot, a handheld device with its own less-flexible form of handwriting recognition.
Even with its flaws, the MessagePad gained a loyal (if small) following. In fact, there are people still developing for the Newton OS, and the device has an active community of users to this day. MessagePads hardware isn’t being made anymore, but for Apple fans who want to get a taste of the iPhone’s predecessor, various MessagePad models show up for sale frequently online at reasonable prices, and many of them still work.
There are tons of cases available for your iPod or iPhone, in every color of the rainbow. Plastic, silicone, leather--you name it, someone is making an iPod case out of it. But for hardcore Apple geeks, a standard case off the shelf in the Apple store isn’t going to cut it. Miniot carves one-of-a-kind cases for iPods, iPhones, and iPod touches with a variety of wood and stain color combinations. They’re not cheap, but they’ve got all those other cases beat on style. Since they’re made out of natural materials, no two are exactly alike.
We particularly like the Cobra iPhone cases, which are made in two-tone patterns reminiscent of classic racing stripes. The Classic models feature hinged covers that provide 360 degrees of protection for your iPod, and all Miniot cases are available with customized engraved monograms and inscriptions for a personal touch.
HyperMac External Battery
True Apple fans use their Macs for everything. They’re the ones who keep their Macs running all the time, so that if they want to listen to music, read the news, play through a few stages of of Plants vs. Zombies, or catch up on Project Runway, their Mac is ready to go at a moment’s notice. Rumor has it that some people also use their Macs for work--spreadsheets and databases and boring stuff like that, but we’ve been too busy reading XKCD to bother checking up on that.
With all that use, keeping your MacBook juiced and ready can be a problem. Thanks to HyperMac’s external batteries, you can keep using your laptop powered for up to 32 hours, enough to feed even the most voracious Mac fiend’s electricity needs. There’s even an optional car adapter, for charging your battery from your vehicle’s power outlet, and HyperMac offers batteries with capacities ranging from 60 watt-hours all the way up to 222 watt-hours. There’s also a USB port for charging you iPod, iPhone or other USB-powered device direct from the battery.
Beatles “Apple” USB drive
It may not be from Apple (the computer company), but this apple comes straight from Apple Corps, as in The Beatles. But it’s no mere decoration. Inside the apple is a 16GB USB drive. But this isn’t just any flash drive. It contains the recent remastered versions of 14 classic Beatles albums, as well as expanded liner notes, artwork, and 13 mini documentary films about the makings of the most famous rock and roll records in the universe. The music comes in 24-bit FLAC and 320kbps MP3 formats. The Beatles still aren’t on iTunes, but for anyone who hasn’t bought them on CD, this digital collection (and its groovy packaging) are the next best thing.
iTunes Gift Card
The simplest gifts are sometimes the best. And even though it doesn’t have any buttons, screens or blinking lights, we can’t think of a single Apple fanatic who wouldn’t be happy with an iTunes gift card. The iTunes store is full of great stuff. Everything from the latest hit singles to ringtones, movies and TV episodes, audio books, iPod games, and of course 100,000 (and counting) iPhone apps.
Besides being a great gift, iTunes gift cards are great for the giver too. You don’t have to worry about sizes (although bigger is certainly better) or colors.
Since you can buy iTunes gift cards online via iTunes and have them delivered by email, even last-minute shoppers can make quick work of their holiday shopping lists. And you can always buy a printable gift card, if you want to have something to wrap up for the holidays.