2011 Holiday Guides: iPhone and iPad gifts for gamers

With full, fast internet access and apps aplenty, the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are pretty much perfect for students of all ages. If you're looking for a gift for the student (or students) in your life, from elementary to high school to university, there are a ton of accessories and apps to choose from. Here are some of our favorites!

Don’t need anything for a student? Check out the recommendations anyway, something great might still catch your eye. If not, no worries, check out one of our other 2011 holiday gift guides!

Awesome hardware and accessory gifts for students

There's nothing like something real to unwrap, not just for the little ones in elementary school, but even the big ones home for the holidays. No matter how old, their faces light up just the same.

iOS devices

Does you special student not have an iPod touch or iPad yet? Maybe even an iPhone if they're going off to college and need to stay connected? Not sure which one you should get? Not a problem! Start here:

OtterBox Case

Students are busy and active, so a protective case is a must. Over the past several years that I've spent as both a student and an instructor, I have seen a countless number of iPhones and iPads fall to the floor. I've also seen my share of skateboard wrecks that send iPhones on a tumble and flimsy backpacks (that carry iPads) take hard falls to the concrete. The devices protected with OtterBox have always survived these tragedies. OtterBox makes 4 different series that offer different levels of protection.

  • Defender Series is the mother of all cases. Its multiple layers of protection will protect your student's iPhone and iPad from just about everything. It does add a significant amount of bulk, however.

  • Reflex Series offers iPhone and iPad protection from falls and is inspired the crumble zone of a car. It's much less bulky than the Defender Series, but will still protect against the inevitable tumbles to the ground. (This series is my personal favorite).

  • Commuter Series is the slimmest option from OtterBox. But despite it's thin and stylish look, the Commuter Series will protect your student's iPhone from scratches, bumps and shocks.

  • Impact Series is the most affordable option from OtterBox. This compression molded silicone skin will protect your student's iPhone from scratches and bumps.

Just figure out the best blend of protection and cost, and then let them head back to school in safety!

Bamboo Stylus

Once you student has a great school app like CaptureNotes2 (see below), she's going to want a better note-taking method than her finger. The Bamboo Stylus will rock her world.

There are many styli out there to choose from, but we recommend the Bamboo Stylus because it's design is both functional and beautiful. It's weighted just right and is the perfect thickness. The length is also perfect – shorter than an average pen, but long enough to be comfortable to hold.

Any serious notetaker needs a Bamboo Stylus.

Jawbone JAMBOX

Did you know that students love music but have very little space for good speakers? Of course you do, which is why you understand why the Jawbone JAMBOX will be an amazing gift for your student. This tiny package delivers huge sound at up to 85 decibels. It's completely wireless, making it simple for your student to play music over Bluetooth and even bring along to the party study session at his friend's place.

AirPrint Printer: Epson Artisan 730 Color Inkjet All-in-One

Every student needs a printer, but since your student is an iPhone or iPad wielding student, she needs an AirPrint compatible printer. For printing out everything from an elementary school book report to a high school project to a college term papers, not to mention scanning things for said activities, and printing photos to decorate her room at home or at the dorm, the The Epson Artisan 730 Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer has got her covered. Since the printer is AirPrint compatible, she'll be able to write her papers from her iPad and print it directly from her iPad. If she takes a great picture with her friends on her iPhone or iPod touch, she can immediately make a couple prints to give to them. It's low profile is also perfect for small, already crammed student rooms.

Don't get your student just any printer, get her an Epson Artisan 730 Color Inkjet All-in-One Printer.

Perfect software gifts for students

While wrapping paper is nice, nothing is faster to buy or easier to ship than software. Whether you load it up for them on their brand new device, or send it half way across the world, it'll always get there on time and ready to use.

Note taking apps: CaptureNotes2

A huge part of a student's life is spent taking notes. After taking notes in class, some students head back to their dorm and take more notes on their notes! Simplify your student's life with CaptureNotes 2 for iPad.

This gem allows users to type, write and record - at the same time. It's easy to miss important things that an instructor says while frantically taking as many notes as possible, so CaptureNotes makes it easy to flag parts of your notes that make it easy to pick up and listen to that exact part of the lecture at a later time. A disadvantage to typing notes has always been the inability to draw diagrams, but with CatpureNotes you can quickly draw a diagram right there with your typed notes. You can also import PDFs and share to Dropbox.

Really, every student needs this app.

Also check out:

  • Noteshelf is a powerhouse note taking app for iPad that keeps you organized and more. $4.99 - App Store link
  • Elements is a text editor that syncs with Dropbox and has Markdown support. 'Nuff said. $4.99 - App Store link
  • Evernote stores text, images, and audio for easy reference later. Free - App Store link
  • Awesome Note is a note-taker, to-do list, and diary all-in-one. $3.99 for iPhone - App Store link. $4.99 for iPad - App Store link

Productivity apps: Numbers, Pages, and Keynote

Top 10 apps for your new iPhone 4S - Keynote, Numbers, and Pages

Apple's iWork suite, which consists of Keynote for presentations, Numbers for spreadsheets, and Pages for word processing has recently been updated to work with iCloud, so all your documents get stored and synced between your devices (including, eventually, iWork for Mac when Apple updates it). Keynote was built for Steve Jobs so it's absolutely best in class, while Numbers and Pages are easy to use and produce great looking docs.

Also check out:

  • Documents to Go for a more Microsoft Office feel and all-in one solution $16.99 - App Store link
  • Good Reader is a powerhouse for PDF annotating and file management. $2.99 - App Store link
  • OmniOutliner helps you collect, compose, and organize your ideas. $19.99 - App Store link
  • Todo takes task management to the next level, with sync to Dropbox or iCloud among others. $4.99 - App Store link

Educational apps: WolframAlpha

Educational apps

WolframAlpha isn't a traditional search engine, it's a computational knowledge base with a continually growing set of data and algorithms. Math, statistics, physics, chemistry, engineering, astronomy, earth, computational, and life sciences, units and measures, dates and times, places and geography, people and history, culture and media, music, linguistics, sports and games, money and finance, socioeconomics, health and medicine... and on, and on, and on... It's the full power of the website nicely packaged for your student's iPhone or iPad.

Also check out:

  • Starwalk for iPad puts the universe in your lap. Literally. $4.99 - App Store link
  • MathBoard for iPad lets you solve problems, and build skills, on a chalk board. $4.99 - App Store link
  • Lola's Alphabet Train is perfect for the little one learning to read. $0.99 - App Store link
  • Wikipanion Plus for iPad makes it easy to search, queue, and download entries for offline viewing. $4.99 - App Store link

Your picks?

Remember, you’re part of Team TiPb too, so if you’ve already picked the perfect gift for your iPhone or iPad student, or have the perfect idea for one, let us know in comments!

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