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Forget about Apple’s Smart Cover or Leather Sleeve. Take a look at these alternative gift ideas.
It’s not easy to buy a gift for the iPad owner and Apple fan. These guys have high expectations: sometimes too high, sometimes way too specific.
Instead of trying to meet the expectations, do something different: get the iPad user by surprise and offer something she or he hasn’t taken into consideration before.
You won’t surprise the iPad user with an original Apple accessory or an iTunes gift card.
And this post is not about them. We strongly encourage you to try to find something unique – as unique as a person you are going to gift.
Instead of featuring specific products, we will suggest the most exciting areas and leave for you the fun of choosing the gift you like the most.
If there is something that will surprise you, the chances are great it will also surprise the iPad lover in your life.
Gifts for iPad users – highlights
In the following overview, you will see recommendations and ideas for:
- A personalized iPad case or sleeve
- An all-in-one bedside lamp
- Digital subscriptions and gift cards
- Eye-mask combined with headphones
- Audiobooks and audiobook membership
- Keyboards and keyboard cases
- Compact stands and holders
- Apple Pencil accessories
- A perfect charging station
- Stands and organizers perfect for bed and bath
- A functional travel electronics organizer
- Innovative audio sunglasses
Shopping events in 2020
- National Reading Month ⇢ March 2020 – mainly on Amazon, several deals on books, ebooks, and Amazon devices
- Mother’s Day ⇢ May 12 in the US – online deal stores launched at the beginning of May; biggest deals revealed on the last weekend
- Father’s Day ⇢ June 16 in the US – deals start appearing from the beginning of the month
- Prime Day ⇢ Predicted for July 13-14 – early deals are revealed a week before; main Prime Day deals start on Monday
- Summer Deals ⇢ July and August – attractive deals offered throughout entire holiday time
- Back to School ⇢ second half of August – school supplies, textbooks, printers, school uniforms, and more
- Black Friday ⇢ November 27 – early deals appear at the beginning of November, second wave during the last weekend; main deals revealed on the preceding Thursday
- Cyber Monday ⇢ November 30 – many Black Friday deals are still valid; new deals on digital content (ebooks, audiobooks, music, movies) and tech stuff
- Green Monday ⇢ December 7 – the last chance to order gifts and get them safely delivered for Christmas; some of the deals are unexpectedly attractive
- Boxing Day ⇢ December 26 – a shopping event to users who want to make the most of their Christmas gifts. Great deals on electronics and digital content.
- End-of-year Deals ⇢ last days of 2020 – mainly deals on digital content; they are revealed during Christmas and are active through December 31
Gifts for iPad users – recommended stores
The primary for all things iPad is Apple’s online store, but as I have already mentioned, there are other places worth checking out. Take your time and explore these Apple Store alternatives:
Amazon – the biggest online store offers the biggest selection of all kinds of iPad accessories. If we had to pick one web destination for everything related to iPad, it would be Amazon.
eBay – a proven place to shop for affordable accessories. Sometimes, you can pick up here the iPad stand or keyboard that’s the same as the branded one you’ve found on Amazon but costs two-thirds of the price.
Redbubble – a marketplace for custom designed items, including prints, stationery, cases & covers, or t-shirts. Opposite to other sites, such as CafePress, the quality of the artwork is much higher.
Not on the High Street – unlike other stores, the site offers beautiful things – showcased beautifully. The team is hunting for the best items on the net to include them in the growing catalog of curated products.
Etsy – this is our favorite marketplace for custom items, hand-crafted to order. There are lots of unique wooden iPad stands to choose from. Most of them are handmade, many can be personalized.
Gift ideas – what other users are searching for?
Best gift ideas for iPad users
1. A personalized case or sleeve
If a person you want to gift still doesn’t have the case, don’t make the mistake of buying the Pink Sand or Midnight Blue Smart Cover in the Apple Store. It’s too obvious, too easy, and too expensive.
Instead, try to take your time and search for unique iPad cases in other online stores. The most exciting thing you can do is buy a custom case – the one you can personalize with specific text (for instance, giftee’s initials), logo, or even a picture you provide.
Make sure to explore the following stores:
- Etsy – items sold on Etsy are handmade to order, and many come with an option to add a custom text, be it a name, initials, or quote,
- Caseable – you can choose from thousands of great-looking designs created by artists from around the world. You can further personalize each case: choose the color (inside or spine) and add custom text,
- Zazzle – you can create an iPad case from scratch – drag and drop a custom image for the front and back, add your text, and done!
Our top pick is Etsy. The site is a marketplace where artisans from all over the world meet with buyers. Every item is made to order, so even if can’t customize the sleeve by default, you can always ask for it in a message to seller.
2. Advanced all-in-one bedside lamp
Bedside lamps are no longer about giving you the light and creating warm atmosphere when you are reading news or a book before going to sleep.
Bedside lamps have evolved to become multifunctional appliances that meet different needs. They combine a lamp with an alarm clock, a charger, an organizer, or a Bluetooth speaker.
Many modern-day bedside lamps offer adjustable brightness or an ability to control the warmth of the light. And some of them look like from the future.
The widest choice of innovative bedside lamps can be found on Amazon. For best results don’t explore only “Electronics” category, but make sure to browse “Home & Kitchen” and “Appliances” as well.
3. App Store digital subscriptions
And there also Apple subscriptions to consider – Music or Arcade – although they may seem an easy gift idea.
Popular services such as Netflix or Spotify, are available via iOS apps, and the user can access them via subscription as well. The same with audiobook services from Audible, Scribd, or Kobo.
Learn what the giftee likes the most. Is it watching movies or listening to music? Then find payment options of the relevant service and available subscription plans. Paying one monthly fee is not a good idea for a gift, but getting the 6-month prepaid plan is worth the effort.
4. Advanced eye mask with headphones
Here is a perfect gift for anyone who lovers to listen to music or an audiobook before going to sleep – and is using the sound to get asleep.
Take a look at a new breed of wearables. This clever thing combines a sleep mask with ultra-slim Bluetooth earphones that can be seamlessly paired with an iPad.
Modern-day sleep masks adopt 3D ergonomic technology to block out 100% of external light.
5. A best-selling audiobook
A few years ago we recommended enhanced ebooks as a gift for iPad users, but times change. Right now, it’s audiobooks that enjoy the biggest increase in sales.
The growth of audiobooks is related to the growth of voice assistants. An audiobook that you can start playing in the car by just saying: “Hey Siri, play an audiobook”? Yes, please!
Audiobooks are more expensive than ebooks. The usual price is between $15 and $30. Getting the hottest new audiobook as a gift for an iPad user is a great idea.
What you have to do is learn which digital platform the giftee is using. If it’s Apple Books, then you can buy the audiobook in the iTunes. But it also may be Audible, Scribd, or Google Play Books.
If the gift recipient is using the Kindle app to read ebooks on the iPad, you can gift a best-selling audiobook from Audible. It’s the largest, most advanced audiobook platform which offers almost 500,000 titles.
6. A keyboard or keyboard case
A keyboard is a single accessory that can widely increase iPad’s usefulness in work. It offers an experience similar to typing on a laptop. The keys are made from premium-quality ABS material and provide real touch response.
What’s more, typing on a keyboard gives a chance to position the iPad at the level of sight – which is better than in laptops.
There are two kinds of keyboards that you can buy for the iPad user:
- Keyboard case – the case for a specific iPad model (for instance a 12.9-inch iPad Pro) that has a built-in Bluetooth keyboard on the inside of the front cover.
- Standalone keyboard – such a keyboard can connect and work with multiple devices, so it can be used more often and for a longer time.
On Amazon, when you search for Bluetooth-enabled keyboards, you will see well over 20,000 different models. Some of them are affordable and simple; other are resembling vintage typewriters.
7. A compact foldable stand
A stand or holder will be most probably the best-received gift. It can be used optionally and occasionally, so the gift recipient is not obliged (like in case of dedicated case covers) to use it all the time.
Stands become more and more popular, as there is a growing number of activities they can be used for.
The one most common reason to buy a stand as a gift is to make the most use of Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant Siri. When you place the iPad on a stand, it can become a smart speaker that you can manage from a distance without the need to touch the screen.
A compact stand which can be used with more than one iPad model is a great solution for anyone who wants to turn the iPad into a stand but doesn’t want to buy a stand cover.
8. An Apple Pencil holder
Apple Pencil is an accessory recommended by most other gift guides for iPad users. There are many Apple Pencil alternatives around, but don’t buy them as a gift. No third-party pen beats Apple’s original stylus in performance and integration.
If the iPad user has the Apple Pencil already, you can surprise her or him by gifting a little but very helpful accessory – a stylus holder.
There are at least two options to explore:
- A portable iPad stylus holder – you can keep it together with the iPad, by sticking it using the magnets or wrapping with the elastic band.
- A desk iPad stylus holder – it’s either a standalone accessory that gives instant access to the stylus, or it’s a part of a desk stand.
When searching Amazon for an Apple Pencil holder, try a few phrases, such as “iPad pencil holder” or “iPad stylus holder” in order to extend the number of results.
iPad cheat sheet 2020
Latest Apple iPad models
Together with links to tech specs and best case covers.
Apple iPad mini 5, 7.9-inch
The world’s favorite compact tablet now comes with Apple Pencil 1 support and A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, three times the performance and nine times faster graphics. Prices start from $399.
Apple iPad, 10.2-inch
2160 × 1620 px Retina display, Apple Pencil and full-size Smart Keyboard support, Touch ID, A10 Fusion chip with M10 coprocessor. Prices from $329.
Apple iPad Air 3, 10.5-inch
An ultra-thin design with A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and 10.5-inch advanced Retina display. Supports Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard (1st generation). Prices start from $499.
Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2020 release)
11-inch edge-to-edge 2388 × 1668 px Liquid Retina display with ProMotion, Magic Keyboard and Trackpad support, Ultra Wide camera, A12Z Bionic chip, LiDAR Scanner, and more. Prices from $799.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2020 release)
12.9-inch Liquid Retina 2732 × 2048 px LED-backlit Multi‑Touch display with ProMotion, Magic Keyboard and Trackpad support, Ultra Wide camera, A12Z Bionic chip, LiDAR Scanner, and more. Prices from $999.
9. A multi-device charging station
A charger or a high-capacity power bank is among the top wished-for accessories of heavy iPad and iPhone users. However, as a gift, it may be too obvious or insufficiently valuable.
Instead, think about a charging station. It’s the desk accessory that’s used to charge multiple devices, from iPhone to iPad to MacBook.
What makes the charging station a great gift is that it’s stately. The box is large, so is the fun of opening it. If the giftee is addicted to more than one accessory, a charging station could be most welcomed.
10. A bathtub table and reading stand
For many people, the most relaxing time of the day is when they can hide in a bathroom and enjoy reading on their tablets their books or newsfeeds. This special moment can be even better if one takes to the bathroom some more things than just the iPad.
Multifunctional bathtub tables are getting more and more popular. They can hold a tablet or a print book, a cup of tea or a glass of wine, a snack, and a few tealight candles.
Most bathtub tables and tablet holders are expandable, so they will fit most tubs.
11. A travel accessory organizer
Many iPad users also own other Apple devices: MacBooks, Apple Pencils, iPhones and AirPods.
With a growing number of electronic devices (and a growing need to keep all of them at all times), travel organizers become an important companion of every heavy tech user.
A travel organizer usually features two big compartments: one can fit a MacBook, and the other one can be devoted to store and protect an iPad.
Plus, there are a several smaller pockets for cables, headphones, chargers, adapters, and personal essentials – all cleverly organized in the smallest possible space.
12. An Apple-related t-shirt
The last idea on a list is related to addiction. I’ve started using Mac computers in the early 1990s, at work. Since that time I’m a dedicated Apple user, hunting for new devices and getting excited every time the new item with a bitten apple logo arrives.
What about the gift recipient? If she or he crazy about all things Apple, getting a branded t-shirt or other kinds of apparel would make them happy.
Here are two stores where you can find the good selection of Apple-related clothes:
- Redbubble – dozens of designs for Apple fans, on several types of clothing, both for women and men, available in multiple colors,
- Zazzle – the designs here are different, much funnier; the choice of apparel options is similar.
13. Car cup tablet holder
There are several kinds of iPad stands you can choose from. One of them is the holder that you mount in the car to the cup holder.
Thanks to this, the driver can use a large-screen iPad as a reliable navigation tool.
Car holders are popular electronic accessories as they can be used with several devices. You can find on Amazon an expandable holder that can accommodate an iPhone or an iPad.
What are the most important features of the good cup holder? It should be stable, it should form a solid grip for a device, and it should have a quick but reliable release mechanism.
14. An Amazon gift card
Giving and iTunes gift card seems to be the least creative idea. If you want to give the gift recipient the freedom of choice, you can gift an Amazon gift card instead.
Since an official Apple Reseller Store launched on Amazon, many iPad users register account on the largest online store to grab iPad-related deals, and get new iPad models are lower prices than anywhere else.
And, as Amazon is the giant source of all things iPad, from third-party case covers, to stands, to keyboards, to chargers, to screen protectors, giving a $25 or $50 Amazon gift card makes more sense than ever.
Oh, and you can buy App Store gift cards on Amazon as well.
15. Artist two-finger drawing gloves
More and more iPad owners try to creatively use their devices, especially now, when every model is ready to be used with Apple Pencil.
To make drawing or note-taking by hand easier than ever and make the most use of the stylus, you can use special two-finger gloves.
These gloves are designed for digital artists and help the hand smoothly slide over the touchscreen and eliminate the friction between the display and the surface.
At the same time, drawing gloves eliminate oils that appear on the screen and are caused by the skin.
16. A bedside charging organizer
How to spot iPad users? They keep their iPad always with them, and as close as possible.
A great gift for anyone who is extensively using electronic devices is something that lets charge the device during the night.
Sometimes, considering the length of an iPad charging cable, the bedside table is too far…
Clever bedside organizers come to the rescue! They are capable of keeping all essential things within the reach of a hand, be it an iPad, a print magazine, a pair of glasses or AirPods.
Most bedside organizers feature multiple compartments that differ in size. You can place all your essentials in a vertical position, so you save a lot of space.
17. Innovative Bluetooth audio sunglasses
Sunglasses with built-in speakers and a microphone are still an emerging category, but iPad users are first to embrace them.
These top-shelf sunglasses combine fashionable style with a functionality of Bluetooth enabled headphones, while giving you the freedom from cables and one less accessory that you have to remember to take with you.
Due to the fact that audio sunglasses use open air speakers, you can listen to your favorite music and simultaneously hear what’s happening around you.
Depending on the brand and model, a pair of audio sunglasses costs between $50 and $200, but the prices are getting lower and lower.
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Top iPad cases and accessories to get in 2020
Based on recommendations from top tech sites and customer reviews.
Zugu Muse multi-functional iPad protective case
This is the best heavy-duty iPad case you can find on Amazon. It features multi-angle stand secured with strong magnetic structure. Military drop tested ( MIL STD 810G 516.6) to withstand 5-feet drops. Available for iPad mini 5, iPad 10.2, Air 3, and latest Pro models.
Average rating: 4.7/5
Penoval high-precision iPad stylus with palm-rejection technology
A great alternative to Apple Pencil. Penoval stylus is using advanced technology for precise, natural, highly responsive writing and drawing with no delays. Works with all current iPad models.
Average rating: 4.4/5
TiMOVO clear iPad case compatible with Smart Cover
This is a perfect solution for anyone who already has an original Smart Cover but would like to protect the back of the iPad, as well. The case is made of crystal clear plastic that is elegant and non-slip. Available for iPad 10.2 and iPad mini 5.
Average rating: 4.5/5
Lamicall adjustable charging stand for iPad
This sturdy foldable stand lets you charge the iPad thanks to adjustable base and a hole for a cable. The stand can be set at multiple angles, and features rubber pads for better stability.
Average rating: 4.7/5
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Are you an Apple fan? Keep exploring:
- 17 premium iPad Pro 11 cases for demanding users (2020 edition)
- What you should know about iPad Pro 2020 case compatibility
- The 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro (2020) – tech specs chart and comparisons
- Apple iPad Pro 11-inch (2020) – full tech specs, new features & comparisons
- 6 reasons why ebooks are the most virus-free way of reading