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.
Alternative gift ideas for Apple iPad users
1. A personalized iPad case
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 case 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!
Read also: Most beautiful iPad cases.
2. An iPad sleeve for style and extra protection
What if someone already has a case? An Apple Smart Cover protects only the front of the iPad. Therefore, many users decide to buy a sleeve or bag that would give extra protection during transport.
And here is the gift idea – get a sleeve. The only thing to check out is whether the giftee has the case and what kind. Then, it’s just a matter of finding a sleeve or bag that is large enough to handle both the iPad and the case.
What are the best places to find unique iPad sleeves? Here are our recommendations:
- Amazon – there are a few thousand iPad sleeves, bags, and jackets to choose from: leather sleeves, travel bags and organizers (including waterproof), neoprene jackets, or felt sleeves,
- Etsy – if you are determined to buy a leather or felt sleeve, with an option to add a personal touch, look no further. Etsy has the largest offer of beautiful iPad sleeves of all kinds.
Read more: Premium leather and felt sleeves for iPad Pro.
3. Digital subscriptions
Popular services such as Netflix or Spotify, are available via iOS apps, and the user can access them via subscription. The same with audiobook services from Audible, Scribd, or Kobo.
Learn what the giftee likes the most. It is watching movies or listening to music? Then find the 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.
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 a 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.
Read more: The best audiobook apps for iPad and iPhone.
5. 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 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:
- a keyboard case – the case for a specific iPad model (for instance a 12.9-inch iPad Pro) that has a built-in keyboard on the inside of the front cover,
- a Bluetooth keyboard – such a keyboard can connect and work with multiple devices, so it can be used more often and for a longer time.
Explore these two online destinations if you want to see the largest possible list of iPad keyboards.
- Amazon – the search returns over 5,000 keyboards and keyboard cases for iPad. You will see lots of different designs: some of them are solid and simple; some are clever and unique,
- eBay – the choice is not as large as on Amazon, but the prices are usually lower. What you have to remember, though, is that the iPad accessory has to offer the same premium experience as the iPad itself.
Read more: The best iPad keyboards and keyboard cases.
Latest Apple iPad models
Together with links to tech specs and best case covers.
Apple iPad mini 7.9 (2019)
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 9.7 (2018)
2048 × 1536 px Retina display, Apple Pencil support, Touch ID, A10 Fusion chip with M10 coprocessor. Prices start from $299 for education institutions.
Apple iPad Air 10.5 (2019)
An ultra-thin design with the A12 Bionic chip and advanced Retina display with True Tone. Supports Apple Pencil 1 and the smart Keyboard. Prices start from $499.
Apple iPad Pro 11 (2018)
11-inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with ProMotion technology, Apple Pencil 2 support, Face ID, A12X Bionic chip and Neural Engine, high-speed high-speed USB-C connector. Prices start from $799.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
12.9-inch Liquid Retina 2732 × 2048 px LED-backlit Multi‑Touch display with ProMotion technology, Apple Pencil 2 support, Face ID, A12X Bionic chip and Neural Engine, high-speed USB-C connector. Prices start from $999.
6. iPad stand or holder
A stand or holder will be most probably the best-received gift. Because it can be used optionally and occasionally, so the giftee is not obliged (like in case of keyboards) 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.
There are different kinds of stands you can consider (we provide them with links to Amazon):
- foldable iPad stand – the one you can fold to a pocket size so that you can carry it anywhere with you,
- cookbook iPad stand holder – designed specifically to be used in the kitchen. Such a stand can usually also handle a traditional paper cookbook,
- desk iPad stand – it’s the stand which belongs to one place: a desk in a home library, a table in a living room, or a bedside table.
Read more: The best iPad stands and holders.
7. 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 a few areas to explore (we use the search phrase “iPad stylus” instead of “Apple Pencil” in order to extend the number or returned results:
- portable iPad stylus holder – you can keep it together with the iPad, by sticking it using the magnets or wrapping with the elastic band,
- desk iPad stylus holder – it’s either a standalone accessory that gives an instant access to the stylus, or it’s a part of a desk stand.
8. A 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 quite 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.
Check out these two stores for the largest selection of charging stations:
- Amazon – you’ll find here dozens of charging stations, both modern-looking and classic,
- eBay – if you are eager to get a charging station at a lower price.
9. iPad travel accessories
Many iPad users also own other Apple devices, such as MacBook laptops.
When going on a journey, it’s easier to take the iPad rather than the computer. The tablet is lighter, more portable, and can connect to the web via a built-in cellular module.
And here is where you can find smart and creative gift ideas. Think about iPad travel accessories: car holders, travel bags, portable stands, you name it.
10. Apple-related t-shirt or clothing
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 giftee? If she or he is addicted to Apple, getting a branded t-shirt or other kinds of apparel would make them happy.
Here are two stores where you can find the largest 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.
Read more: The best t-shirts for book lovers.
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Where to buy iPad gifts?
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.
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.
Top iPad cases and accessories to get in 2019
Based on recommendations from top tech sites and best customer reviews.
Zugu Muse Case for iPad Pro 11 (2018)
Magnet-secured case with 8 stand angles. Wireless Apple Pencil charging support, 5ft drop protection, car industry materials. Also for iPad Pro 12.9 and iPad 9.7.
Average rating: 4.7/5
Anker Tempered Glass Screen Protector for iPad 9.7
Premium tempered glass with 9H hardness rating. Retina clarity with 96% transparency, 0.3 mm thickness, and oleophobic coating. Also for iPad Pro models.
Average rating: 4.4/5
Tomtoc Shoulder Bag for iPad 9.7 and iPad Pro 11
Shockproof, padded urban iPad sleeve that’s both slim and lightweight. Main compartment for iPad, external pocket with a pen holder. Comes with an extra shoulder strap.
Average rating: 4.8/5
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Are you an Apple fan? Keep exploring: