Best gifts for graduates 2016

Graduation is a time to look ahead and celebrate the long road of work and effort that it took to reach this point. If you know someone who's about to graduate, we've got a rundown of the best gifts a grad could get.

iPad Pro

iPad Pro 12.9 inch

Make your new graduate feel like a seasoned professional with the gift of an iPad Pro. It's the most versatile gift you can give someone who's striking out on their own.

Both the 12.9 and 9.7 inch versions have bright, non-reflective Retina displays that are perfect for viewing photos or catching up on missed shows when your graduate is on the go. Both also provide impressive sound quality with four speakers and twice the volume capabilities of older iPads.

With a speaker in every corner, the iPad Pro is also perfect for gaming and, let's be honest, even the eager young professional needs to unwind with some fun. It's available in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and Rose Gold, so there's an iPad Pro for everyone, and the list of accessories to match is ever-growing.

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MacBook Air

MacBook Air 13 inch

The old desktop or laptop that got your graduate through finals is ready to retire. Tell them how proud you are with the gift of a MacBook Air.

There are two sizes available: 11 inches or 13 inches. Both come in under 3 pounds, pre-loaded with work and game apps and Flash storage that promises to run up to 17 times faster than other notebook hard drives. Once charged, the MacBook Air has up to 30 days of standby time, so even if your grad heads out for a getaway without their laptop, it will be ready to go when they come home.

The most significant differences between the 11 and 13-inch versions are battery life and screen size. The 11-inch has 9 hours of battery, while the 13 inch has 12. The 11-inch also has a smaller display, so that may be a deciding factor when you're about to make the purchase.

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Apple Watch

Apple Watch sport aluminum case

If you're tempted to buy your graduate a timepiece, there's no doubt it has to be the Apple Watch. It blends finery with the tech and connectivity a young professional needs.

The Apple Watch is completely customizable, with beautiful bands to choose from and aluminum or stainless steel face plates. There will be no excuse for not keeping in touch once this watch is on their wrist; missed calls and text messages will only be a glance away. The Apple Watch is available in 38 and 42mm sizes and it looks good on everyone.

There are some awesome must-have accessories to complement an Apple Watch if your grad is already a proud owner, so why not treat them to some Apple Watch add-ons?

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Apple TV 4

Apple TV 4

Help a new grad who's moving on (and out?) deck out their pad with the latest Apple TV. The fourth generation Apple TV uses a combination of remote and voice control for easy, awesome operation.

The new Touch surface on the Siri Remote means that whatever you do on that surface happens on the TV screen. Turn on the Dictation feature and and speak into the search fields instead of hunting for the right letter on the screen. The Home screen is totally customizable to keep favorite apps organized, too.

Even if your proud graduate is staying home, having another Apple TV in the house can't hurt, right?

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PlayStation 4

PS4 console and controller

Post-graduate life isn't all work and no play. What better way to spend that downtime than with a PlayStation 4?

The PS4 comes in a variety of bundle options and a number of limited edition systems also come in colors and designs that match favorite games. The DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller makes for an outstanding gaming experience, with a six-axis sensor and a new touch pad.

More than a game system, the PS4 also provides great movie and sports programming apps and the ability to play movies on Blu-ray. A PS4 is the gift grads won't expect, so get ready for a heartfelt hug when you spring it on them.

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UE Boom 2 wireless Bluetooth speaker

UE Boom 2

Give your graduate a mobile party with a UE Boom 2 speaker. An improvement in virtually every way on the original UE Boom, the speaker travels well and is sure to be the center of a good old housewarming party.

The water-resistant skin means that the UE Boom 2 can go to beach or pool parties and handle a little drizzle during a backyard BBQ. It has a range of 100 feet and a battery life that can reach 15 hours. It also features Block Party, which allows up to three devices to connect via Bluetooth and rotate through favorite playlists. There's an auxiliary plug-in for older iPods or devices, just in case not everyone at the party is wireless-compatible.

The UE Boom 2 comes in a number of colors at varying price points, so make sure to select the one that's perfect for the grad you've got in mind before purchasing.

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Beats Solo2 wireless headphones

Beats Solo 2 wireless headphones

For the grad who's going to be commuting and can't be without music or conversation, there's the Beats Solo2. The built-in microphone lets the young professional or college student carry on a hands-free conversation while they're on the go, perfect for talks with the boss or catching up with Mom.

The battery lasts up to 12 hours and has a gauge to show how long until a recharge is needed. The headphones also have a 30-foot range so that the streaming device doesn't have to be too nearby; just leave the iPad on the coffee table and roam around the room without getting tangled up.

The color assortment for Beats Solo2 is impressive, so make sure to find the color that suits your graduate before heading to checkout.

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Give them what they want

Have you found a great gift that every grad would love? Tell us about it in the comments below and be sure to let us know why it's the perfect gift for this year's graduate!