Gifts for iPad lovers: 2012 holiday guide

If the special someone(s) on your holiday gift list already have iPads, and love them, and are looking to get even more out of them, you're all in luck. There's an embarrassment of great apps, accessories, and content that make the iPad ever so much more functional, and more fun. Here are some of our favorites.

Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker

The iPads have tiny, mono speakers, and even though the iPad mini has stereo speakers, they're still tiny. If you know someone who wants big sound out of their iPad or iPad mini, but still wants something that's portable and wireless, they want the Jawbone Jambox. It's a ton of sound in a tiny package, great for parties, great for enjoying music and video, and excellent for conference calls. True audiophiles will want a wired sound system, but for everyone else, the Jambox is a great gift.

If you want something significantly larger than the traditional Jambox, check out the BIG Jambox.

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad

Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover for iPad works with the iPad 2, iPad 3, and iPad 4 and turns it into an ultra-light laptop on the go. It's the best iPad keyboard we've tested, and the list of bloggers and techies who recommend it is tending towards the endless. If someone you know travel with an iPad, and needs to get things done, and those things require a lot of typing, get them a Logitech Ultrathin Keyboard Cover.

Pogo Connect Bluetooth Stylus Pen for iPad

There are several really good non-Bluetooth stylus pens available for the iPad, but if you want to give something that's pressure sensitive and capable of taking iPad art, calligraphy, and expression the next level -- hundreds of levels, to be precise. The Pogo Connect works with the iPad 3, iPad 4, and iPad mini, and uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology for ultra low-power, long-lasting performance. Best of all, it "just works", requiring no setup, no calibration, no fuss, and no muss. If they lose it, they can even use Bluetooth to find it again. It's the perfect gift for the iPad artists in your life.

If you want something better suited for line work and technical drawing, check out the Adonit Jot Touch Bluetooth stylus

Pad & Quill Handmade Cases for iPad

There are a lot of great cases for the iPad but if you're looking to get that special someone that special something different, Pad & Quill makes a variety of hand-crafted cases for both the full-size iPad and the iPad mini. There's just something about swathing the latest and greatest glass and aluminum technology in old world leather and wood, about wrapping Apple's tablet in something so moleskin inspired. It's not just classy, it's classic.

Otterbox Defender Series Cases for iPad

Sometime an iPad just needs its full body armor. Whether it's to go to work or go on a trip, to play with the kids or simply to survive tumbles, if you have a loved one who's career, circumstances, or just plain clumsiness requires the absolute best protection money can buy, Otterbox has them covered. Literally. (Trust me, we've tried sledding on them.)

You can also get it for the iPad mini:

Fling Joystick

As anyone who's spent any time gaming on an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad knows, there's nothing worse than getting really into the action only to find your finger has drifted off the virtual controls just when it matters most. And that's exactly the problem the Ten One Design Fling mini solves. Made of anodized aluminum and tough, flexible engineering-grade resin, it's both durable and see-through so it doesn't break and doesn't completely obstruct your view of the iPad or iPad mini screen. (Technically the Fling mini is meant for the iPhone and iPod touch rather than the iPad, for which they have a full-size Fling Joystick, but the mini works great on the iPad as well and doesn't cover anywhere nearly as much of the screen.)

Apple TV

While the iPad is is fantastic, beaming the iPad to an HDTV, so you can enjoy it on the bigger, more family-friendly screen, is even more fantastic. Apple builds AirPlay into every iPad and iPad mini so you can do just that -- all you need to make work is an Apple TV box. Sure, if you get someone an Apple TV, they can use it all by itself to stream iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and more directly to the TV, but with an iPad they can do so much more. They can literally mirror almost anything from their iPad, right onto the TV. Yeah, that includes video games. It also includes anything you may have on your iPad when you visit your friends or family and connect to their Apple TV. It's just the best way to share content from the small screen to the big one.

Air Video

Air Video automagically transcodes on the the fly and streams videos -- almost any videos, in almost any format -- from a Windows or Mac PC to an iPad or iPad mini. With AirPlay, it can also beam those videos to an Apple TV. If your friends or family have a ton of content on their computers, and want to watch it on their iPad or TV, Air Video will take care of it, and them.


vjay is all about layering videos and mixing them with music to create unique music videos. With the touch of a button, vjay lets you save your mashups to the iPad in real-time and share with friends. You can also plug your iPad into a TV or stream your videos wirelessly to an Apple TV. You can also browse for music videos on the iTunes store from directly within the app. vjay is a great way for your someone special to turn their videos into something special.

$9.99 - Download Now


Noteshelf is by far one of our favorite note-taking apps and now it's even better than ever. A recent update has introduced pencils and calligraphy pens to the selection of writing tools, and as if Noteshelf didn't already have enough colors to choose from, you can now bring up a color pallet to get the exact color you want or choose from millions of online pallets from If you know someone who would just love to take hand-written notes -- or even better, stylus pen written notes -- with their iPad or iPad mini, get them Noteshelf.

$5.99 - Download Now


Screens is a VNC client for iPad that lets anyone and everyone share the screen with, and control, their Mac or Windows PC at home or at the office. If you know someone who runs a server room, or simply doesn't want to get off the sofa, Screens is a great gift.

  • $19.99 - Screens for iPhone and ipad - Buy Now


iTunes is great for people who want to buy their movies and TV shows. But if your friends or family members simply want to subscribe to some great back-catalog content and enjoy older movies and TV shows, streaming right to their iPad, then Netflix can't be beat. You can even gift Netflix subscriptions, starting at 1 month of service.

If you live in the U.S., you can also get Hulu+ subscriptions as gifts.

Your favorite iPad gifts?

Have you already picked out the perfect iPad gift for your iPad loving friends or family members? If so, what are you getting them? Let us know your favorites in the comments below!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.