'Tis the season to be gifting and with iPhone and iPad increasingly making their way into business, there will be a lot of workers and enterprise users to shop for this year. That means not only devices like iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad all wrapped up and ready to go, but all the great apps and accessories that go with them. Is there a special business user in your life? If so, here's TiPb helpful holiday gift guide!
Don't need anything for a business user? Check out the recommendations anyway, something great might still catch your eye. If not, no worries, we'll have plenty more holiday gifts guides coming your way this month!
At the desk
Apple's dock is sweet and simple but it doesn't fit with any cases, even Apple's own. And that's just not how we do business. Instead, we love the Seidio Inno Dock Jr. for iPhone. Its elevated, adjustable dock connector can fit almost any case you throw at it. It's not as long-lasting as a one piece, less adaptable dock, but it's inexpensive enough to more than make up for it. A great iPad alternative is the Griffin A-Frame. And an extra Apple cable and power adapter is always handy.
When it comes to apps, the recommendations get trickier. If we're at our desks, we have our computers and computer apps, so iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad become secondary displays, something we want around for glance-able information or utilities, and something we can take with us. Appigo Todo and Omnifocus both take different paths to the same goal -- getting things done. Appigo Todo has great sync options, Omnifocus ties in location, but both let us quickly make sure we're on task. PC Calc, especially for accounts, engineers, developers, and number-crunchers of all types, let's us quickly get answers while leaving the problem up on the main computer for easy reference. DropBox and Box.net are great online storage solutions with excellent iPhone and iPad apps so you can quickly peak at a file, watch a video, or listen to some music you've kept in sync from any computer you own.
- Appigo Todo [iTunes link] or OmniFocus [iTunes link]
- PCalc [iTunes link]
- DropBox [iTunes link] or Box.net [iTunes link]
On the road
When our business keeps us behind the wheel, a good car kit is essential. Whether we want to keep our iPhone perfectly positioned for turn-by-turn navigation, or the law requires us to keep our hands free for calls and music, the iGrip Universal Fit Vent Mount (or one of its handy alternate configurations) along with the BlackBerry VM-605 Bluetooth Premium Visor Handsfree will get us where we're going. (That's right, we're actually recommending a BlackBerry accessory, it's that good!). And when we need something to plug it in, right now we're wrapping up the Griffin PowerJolt Plus because it will not only keep our iPhone or iPad juiced up, but it lets us charge something else as well via the 12v socket, built right in.
And yes, we have tried to car-mount our iPads, but that big screen just moves around too much for our safety-concious liking. The Bluetooth works great though!
- iGrip Universal Fit Vent Mount
- BlackBerry VM-605 Bluetooth Premium Visor Handsfree
- Griffin PowerJolt Plus
Once we're set up, we need that navigation and entertainment we were talking about. Navigation is really an embarrassment of riches on the iPhone and now that we have streaming background audio in iOS 4, music and media are catching up nicely as well. When our business takes us places where data isn't accessible, Navigon MobileNavigator is a big download but keeps all the maps on-board and ready. The TeleNav powered AT&T Navigator is for when we want to travel light and prefer to sip our maps online. Navigon is pay-up-front and also gives us international options if we want to buy them. AT&T Navigator is subscription based and carrier specific. While we're driving, Slacker Radio is a great choice for lots of stations, and with local caching there's no need to burn through data. Audible.com audio books can also be a life saver for when we commute. We don't have much time to read so listening to everything from the classics to the latest best sellers while we drive is a treat. Both require subscriptions and make great gifts year-round. If all mileage matters, Trip Cubby is just what the expense department ordered, and Trapster helps us avoid giving all that money back in speeding tickets (just saying...!)
- Navigon MobileNavigator or AT&T Navigator
- Slacker Radio app or Audible.com app
- Trip Cubby and Trapster
In the air
Whether we travel regularly or just to the occasional conference or trade show, we're never be able to get enough power. While there are battery cases for iPhone, if they have an iPad, iPod, and other gear as well, a more universal charging solution, like the Ventev PowerCELL is in order. Good usability on the plane is also important, and for iPad nothing looks as executive or works as well as the Marware Eco-Vue. It has a built-in stand for easier typing, strap for one-handed carrying, and eco-leather finish for style and protection. For iPhone, something lighter and less bulky for better pocketability is in order, and the Case-Mate Barely There certainly fits that bill. And when we really need to get work done, an ultra-portable Bluetooth keyboard, like the Freedom i-Connex Mini Keyboard, is just be what the holidays ordered (don't tell Steve Jobs!). Just pair up and start typing, on the plane or in the meeting.
- Ventev PowerCELL for iPhone and iPad
- Marware Eco-Vue for iPad
- Case-Mate Barely-There Case
- Freedom i-Connex Mini Keyboard
To keep track off all our travel arrangements, we use TripIt. Just email all flight, hotel, and other confirmations to the TripIt address and it automagically populates our iPhone with all the details and extra information like airport maps. Since the app is free, a pro subscription makes a great gift and then TripIt even notifies us of any change in flight times. When we need to get some extra work done, both Documents to Go and QuickOffice keep us productive (and if the flight has Wi-Fi, we can even keep in sync with our cloud storage). Since all work and no play makes us dull boys and girls, we also load up with iTunes or Amazon gift certificates so we can download iTunes movies, TV shows, and iBooks or Amazon Kindle books. iBooks is frankly the better reading experience but Kindle has a much bigger library and works on a wide range of devices, so it comes down style vs. quantity and compatibility.
Remember, you're part of Team TiPb too, so if you've already picked the perfect gift for your iPhone or iPad business user, or have the perfect idea for one, let us know in comments!