Cam put out his list of top things he would love to have this holiday season a few days ago, so I went through and chose what I most want in the tech realm this holiday season. It was harder than I thought it would be, not because most products this year aren’t exciting, but because I don’t feel I would use most products from this past year; and those I would use, I most likely already have (Pebble, Google Glass, iPhone 5s, iPad mini, etc). But, I found some that I would definitely love to have that I don’t yet, in both the accessory and app worlds.
Gadgets and Accessories
1. Pencil by 53 – $49.95 (Graphite model) $59.95 (Walnut model)
The Pencil by 53 was announced just a short time ago in the relative aspect of things, but it has captured the attention of many. 53 is well known for its Paper app on iOS, but it made a bold move when it introduced Book which allowed you to print your notebooks from paper into real, physical little scrapbook like journals of your drawings or whatever you had inside. This was awesome, but to make it even better, 53 decided that it should enter hardware and introduce the Pencil. I have the Pogo Connect, but there is something about Pencil that I really like. Maybe it’s the eraser end, maybe it’s the real wood Walnut color option. Nonetheless, I just really like Pencil, and would love to have one to sketch with.
2. Smart Case for iPad mini – $69
I recently sold my iPad 3rd generation in favor of the new iPad mini with Retina display. Well, I had 4-5 cases for my iPad 3rd generation and now have only 2 for the mini (I quickly bought one the day after getting the mini and another on Black Friday). I’m someone that uses cases just as much for style as for protection, so I love having multiple cases that I can switch to depending on what I need a case to do. Well, one case that I would like to satisfy my love of all things red is the iPad mini Smart Case from Apple. I love the thinness of the case, and also that vibrant red color of the PRODUCT(RED) version (I have the PRODUCT(RED) for iPhone 5s as well). But because I don’t need this case, it’s on a wish list instead of in my hands.
3. HiRise from Twelve South – $34.99
I don’t know if Twelve South makes a product that I don’t want. I have the SurfacePad for iPhone 5 and the BookBook for MacBook Air, and absolutely love them both. When the iPhone 5 came out and I was disappointed by Apple not releasing a dock (it fixed that when the 5s came out), I was on the lookout for a good dock. I have one from Belkin that I got when Amazon had a sale, and love it; but, I can’t use a case with it. The HiRise is made so that you can use a case on your devices and adjust the case to fit it – and that, that is awesome. One of the worst parts of many docks is how you have to take your case off your device in order to use it, and this fixes that problem. Also cool? You can use an iPad mini on it as well. I haven’t picked one up [yet], so that’s why it is on my wish list.
4. PerfectFit for iPad mini – $24.95
After purchasing the iPad mini, I first started looking for ways to protect my new $399 tablet, and screen protectors were on the list. I haven’t picked one up yet, because when I invest in one, I want it to be one that I know is good and that I’m going to keep on it for a while. I use cases and switch cases a lot as well, so I’ll have to use one that will work with cases. I haven’t found one yet that I feel quite sure about (have suggestions? Tweet me @TiP_Kyle), but if one were to be given as a gift, I would ask for this one. The PerfectFit is awesome because, as the name suggests, it fits perfect – every time. You use an applicator to line it up perfectly then you just squeeze out the bubbles and there you have it, a perfectly aligned screen protector.
5. Belkin WeMo Switch – $49.99
The Belkin WeMo accessory lineup is overall pretty cool, but many of the things I just wouldn’t use (not saying they aren’t useful, just not for me). However, the one I could see myself using is the Belkin WeMo Switch. What this is allows you to do is turn something on or off that is plugged into this simply using an app on your smartphone – is that not awesome?! Say you have a heater at your house or in your apartment for the winter, and you are away from home for a while, but on your way back you want the heater to be already back on and heating the room for when you arrive; this is perfect for that. I can think of many use cases for this, but it is something I just don’t need – doesn’t mean I can’t want it though.
Apps and Games
1. New York Times Tablet app Subscription – $2.50/week (Student pricing)
I’ve always been someone that reads more news than others my age, but now that I am of voting age and am around people that also are beginning to pay attention to the issues, I have found myself consuming more content in the form of news than ever before. After picking up the iPad mini with Retina display, I immediately had the thought of how nice it would be to be able to read my news on this awesome little tablet – so of course the iconic New York Times came to mind. The reason I chose this has my preference is because the app is just better from my experience, and it makes reading news on the iPad mini a pleasant experience.
2. 1Password – $17.99 (on sale for $9.99)
1Password was talked about quite often when iOS 7 was announced, because it brought with it iCloud Keychain; a service that syncs all your passwords across all your devices. Sound familiar? It should, that’s what 1Password does. But 1Password lets you organize them, keep things such as software licenses and notes, as well as other things that iCloud Keychain couldn’t support. I am not sure how much I would use it is the first problem. I love the idea of it, but haven’t convinced myself to drop eighteen bucks on it (but the current ten dollar sale is tempting). Overall though, it’d be a great app to be gifted, just not something I see myself buying on my own.
3. Smartwatch+ for Pebble – $2.99
I recently bought a Pebble smartwatch, and I have not once regretted that decision. My favorite part about it is the app ecosystem that has grown around it thanks to Pebble’s SDK that it released, making it possible for applications to be built for both iOS and Android. Smartwatch+ is one of those applications. You can set up multiple different apps and watch screen using this app by connecting it to your Pebble. This app has been sitting in my App Store Wish List ever since I got my Pebble, and while I can easily afford it, I am not quite sure how much of it I would take advantage of – hence why I have yet to purchase it. However, it’d be awesome to be gifted this by someone.
4. Infinity Blade III – $6.99
Infinity Blade III is known as being one of the first 64-bit compatible applications, being shown off at the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c event back in September. I am not the biggest iOS gamer, but when I do I tend to use my iPad more often. I recently (as I’ve said many times throughout this list) bought an iPad mini with Retina display, which of course has the 64-bit A7 processor inside. With this, I could use Infinity Blade III to its full ability. I don’t see myself buying this for myself until I finish Infinity Blade II, which I bought when it first launched and then got distracted from and never picked back up. But, it would be awesome if someone gifted it to me before I got there.
5. PebbleCam – $2.99
Yes, another Pebble app. This app lets you preview your iPhone’s camera on your Pebble, and take pictures from there as well. That’s a pretty neat idea, and while I think it’s worth the $2.99 price tag, I don’t think I’d use it enough to necessarily warrant that price tag. It lets you flip from front facing to back facing and vise versa, it lets you control flash, and of course it lets you take pictures. There is also a “stealth mode” that keeps your iPhone screen black so that it looks like you aren’t taking pictures – kind of creepy, but a neat idea. Like I said, I don’t see myself buying the just for the fact that I wouldn’t use it all that much, but it’d be a nice gift – something cheap, too.