Chris’s gift picks: 2012 holiday guide

Chris’s gift picks: 2012 holiday guideThis season we're asking everyone here at iMore to share some of their favorite gift ideas. Sure, there'll be iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps and accessories included on everyones' lists, just as you'd expect, but there'll also be other stuff, great, geeky, gorgeous other stuff that's as multi-facted and fun as the people themselves. It's my turn and I've found a couple must-haves for the gadget fanatics you'll be shopping for this year.

iPad 2

iPad 2 I didn’t upgrade my trusty iPad 2 to the new iPad or the iPad 4th generation and I am still glad I didn’t. The iPad 2 does everything I need it to do in a lighter form factor and it has saved me a fortune too. I would still recommend (and have for that matter) the iPad 2 to people who don’t really care about a razor sharp screen or have any need for it either.

For me, it is the best iPad made so far, lighter and cheaper than the newer models out there now. I have had it for nearly two years now and it still makes me smile every time I use it. If you don’t want to pay the extra for the Retina display, don’t be put off by the iPad 2. It is still the best tablet out there in my opinion and should not be dismissed as yesterday’s technology. The fact that it can be easily jailbroken and used as an XBMC client is the icing on the cake!

Soundwave SW50 Bluetooth Speaker (UK)

Soundwave SW50 Bluetooth Speaker I have been on the lookout for a reasonable priced good quality Bluetooth speaker that I can use in my bathroom and bedroom. Sure the Jambox is a lovely solution but the price is just a bit too tasty for me. Instead I decided to go for the Soundwave SW50 Bluetooth speaker and I am really glad I did.

I ordered it from Amazon here in the UK and it cost in total with free shipping, just £20 or $32 and to say I am impressed is an understatement. Once I paired it with my iPhone 5 (which was very straight forward) I started to play some music through it and the quality was excellent. The most impressive part is the bass reproduction for a speaker that fits in the palm of your hand; it is really loud, more than good enough to fill a reasonably sized room. It even comes with a rechargeable battery which uses micro-USB to charge it and it can even be used as a Bluetooth speaker-phone.

The Soundwave SW50 is a real bargain and is now sitting in my bathroom. It is compatible with any phone, mp3 player, tablet or laptop that supports the Bluetooth A2DP profile. It's available from Amazon in the UK.

If you're not in the UK, check out the Jambox.

TuneLink Auto

TuneLink Auto This accessory was an absolute must after I upgraded my iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5. I listen to music and podcasts all of the time when I am driving around and my iPhone 4S had a kit that allowed the audio from the dock connector to be piped straight into my car stereo. Due to Apple' change in dock connector from the 30 pin to the Lightning connector, I could no longer use this when I switched to the iPhone 5; this is where the TuneLink Auto comes in.

The TuneLink Auto is a Bluetooth stereo audio interface that plugs into your car's 12-volt power socket and then into your cars AUX 3.5mm input. Your iPhone can then connect to the TuneLink via Bluetooth and it plays your music through your stereo all without wires. It also comes with a USB port so you can plug in your Lightning cable and charge your iPhone 5 if needed. The sound quality is fantastic and as soon as you start your car the iPhone pairs to the TuneLink and your music or Podcasts start playing without any interaction needed. It works perfectly every time.

If your car doesn't have an AUX input, fear not, the TuneLink also has an inbuilt FM transmitter included too so you can tune it to a free radio station and listen to your music that way; the sound quality using the FM transmitter is nowhere near as good as with the wired solution. The TuneLink is a top piece of technology and I love it!

If you want something that can be used both in the car and around the house, check out the BlackBerry Music Gateway:


Tweetbot If you love know someone who just getting started using Twitter, then you must give them Tweetbot. It is quite simply the most elegant and functional Twitter client for iPhone. It has been designed from the ground up to take advantage of the buttery smooth animations found when developing for the iOS platform. Not only does this app look the best it performs the best and has the best features too.

From multiple timelines to smart gestures, push notifications to mute filters, this app has them all and so much more.

Pocket Casts

Pocketcasts I love listening to podcasts, I subscribe to loads of them and need an app that helps me stay organized and tells me when new episodes are available. Thankfully I discovered Pocket Casts which fits into my life perfectly.

Pocket Casts has a fantastic clean user interface and features in abundance. It can download new episodes in the background; notify you when new episodes have been released and so much more. It is an excellent app and one I use on a daily basis. If you know someone who needs a good podcast app, gift them Pocket Casts.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Reader comments

Chris’s gift picks: 2012 holiday guide


I would've thought you'd included a Proclip mount. When the iphone 5 came out I had to abandon the tomtom iphone mount i had been using (modified for proclip). The Proclip iphone 5 holders out now are ok but you need your own Lightning cable to connect into it. With them though, you know better ones are coming out next year. Plus a bit expensive.

The Blackberry Music Gateway does a good job as well if you relied on tomtom mount for the aux connection in the past. I'm not getting phone calls over the speakers now though.. I may end up just getting wife a new car rather than replacing her stereo.

I don't get what is so great about the TuneLink Auto. Why can't I just plug my iPhone (any version) directly into the cars AUX 3.5mm input via my headphone jack? To me, for $79, it is just a glorified iPhone charger. I can get an iPhone car charger for like $10. Am I missing something here???


Great point on the iPad 2. Retina is nice but not a deal breaker. Had I not purchased the mini I would be still using the iPad 2. I know it is basically the iPad 2 in a smaller version and I am fine with that. I do miss the jailbreak but in time that will come.