MacRumors Gift Guide by Eric: SteelSeries Nimbus Controller, Apple Watch Dock, BB-8, and More

Following in the footsteps of Juli, Joe, Mitchel, Marianne, and even MacRumors readers, I’m now adding my suggestions to the parade of holiday gift guides we’ve been publishing over the past week. Below you’ll find a varied list of accessories that I, Eric Slivka, use on a daily basis. and hopefully there’s something here for just about everyone with accessories for Macs, iOS devices, the Apple Watch, and the Apple TV all represented here.

SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller ($49.99)

SteelSeries has offered Apple-approved game controllers for some time now, but with the launch of the new Apple TV roughly six weeks ago, interest in such controllers is surging. Fortunately for Apple fans, the SteelSeries Nimbus is a solid option that notably relies on a Lightning port for charging, making it easy to use existing cables and even Apple’s iPhone dock to recharge the controller.

Apple has heavily featured the Nimbus alongside the Apple TV, and has equipped demo Apple TV units in its retail stores with the controller. The Nimbus is also included in a Disney Infinity 3.0 starter pack for Apple TV.

Gaming on the Apple TV is still in its early days, but the benefits of a controller over the included Siri Remote are already clear, enabling more precise and varied controls in a package that feels more natural in the hands when gaming. Beyond Apple TV, the Nimbus can also pair with iOS devices, enabling controller functionality for a number of games including Real Racing 3, Oceanhorn, and several titles in the LEGO series.

Make sure to check out our full review of the SteelSeries Nimbus for more details on the controller.

Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock ($79.00)

I was skeptical of this one when it first leaked and even once it officially launched, but once I got it in my hands, I was hooked. Yes, it seems expensive, but keep in mind that it includes a 2-meter Lightning cable in the box, an accessory that Apple charges $29 for on its own.

Third-party Apple charging stands with the exception of the $130 combination Apple Watch and iPhone dock from Belkin do not include a charging cable of any sort, requiring users to supply their own Apple Watch charging cables at an additional cost unless they want to commit the sole cable that comes with the watch to that effort.

Unsurprisingly, Apple’s dock has a premium feel, with a soft top and a microfiber bottom to prevent scratching. The center charging puck can lay flat or be swung up into a vertical position to charge the Apple Watch on its side, and the mechanism feels smooth and solid. The vertical orientation makes it great for Nightstand mode and for closed-loop bands. And while the disc shape takes up a bit more room than some other Apple Watch stands and docks, it’s incredibly stable and with the charging puck folded flat the dock can be easily stored in a drawer or slipped into a bag.

The use of a Lightning cable for powering the dock is also a major advantage over third-party docks reliant on actual Apple Watch cables. I’ve got Lightning cables all over my house, so it’s easy to move this Apple Watch dock anywhere in the house as needed and just plug a Lightning cable into it.

Anker PowerPort 4 ($26.99)

Anker is an extremely popular accessory company due to its low prices, high-quality products, and good customer service, so their products are making several appearances in our gift guides. My choice is the PowerPort 4 USB wall charger, a compact charger that lets you charge up to four USB devices simultaneously from a single power outlet.

Introduced earlier this year, the PowerPort 4 includes a number of improvements over Anker’s previous 4-port charger, including foldable prongs that make it great for travel and an increase to 40 watts from the previous 36-watt design. With 40 watts of charging power available, you can charge up to three iPads or two iPads and two iPhones simultaneously at high speed. A status light on the adapter tells you whether it’s charging your connected devices at high speed (green) or normal speed (blue), making it easy to tell how much load you’ve got on the charger.

All of this comes in a package that’s not a whole lot bigger and just a few bucks more than Apple’s 12-watt iPad charger that only includes one USB port. With so many iOS devices, battery packs, and more sitting around my office and competing for outlet space with all of my other equipment, the PowerPort 4 is a must for keeping everything topped off.

BB-8 App-Enabled Droid ($149.95)

Sphero’s been involved with app-controlled toys for a few years now, but this holiday season sees the perfect tie-in to the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens debut in the form of a BB-8 droid. This one’s mostly going to appeal to kids (I’ve got two of my own who are in love with it) and it’s definitely expensive, but it’s a clever and fun toy for Star Wars fans if you’re looking to splurge.

At its heart, BB-8 is very much like a standard Sphero, a gyroscope-equipped ball controlled via app from a paired iOS device. Unlike normal Sphero balls, however, BB-8 has an extra magnetically attached head to match the droid from the film. The magnets allow BB-8’s head to stay upright (most of the time) even as its body is rolling around underneath.

Aside from simple steering controls on the app, BB-8 can also respond to voice controls and even go on „patrol mode“ by itself to explore its environment, keeping track of obstacles and sounding alerts for „enemies“ it encounters.

For more on BB-8, make sure to check out our full review.

elago L3 Stand for Notebooks ($32.99)

I’ve been using elago’s L3 Stand for a little over a year to elevate my Retina MacBook Pro a bit on my desk. It’s a simple aluminum design that gives just right amount of elevation to the rear of the machine, improving air flow to help keep things cool. That’s a plus when I’m driving one and sometimes two external monitors from it. My desk setup has my MacBook Pro sitting underneath a hutch, so I needed something that didn’t add too much height, and the L3 Stand fits the bill perfectly.

It’s a fairly cheap investment as stands go, looks nice, has scratch-resistant silicone pads to protect the bottom and front edge of my MacBook Pro, and includes a pair of cable management holes in the rear. It’s also available in silver, gray, and gold to match Apple’s various notebook finishes.

For those who want to raise their machines a little higher and have some room to slide papers, a keyboard, or other desk items out of the way underneath, elago offers an alternative design with the L4 Stand.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2 ($196.99)

Yes, Thunderbolt 3 is right around the corner, but there are plenty of people who already have Thunderbolt 2 machines and might be looking for something to help make it easy to manage their peripherals. Thunderbolt docks have been notoriously slow to surface, but CalDigit’s Thunderbolt Station 2 was one of the earlier ones out of the gate when it debuted early this year.

I’ve used a couple of different Thunderbolt docks, and CalDigit’s has been the best fit for my needs. It’s compact and sturdy, with good heft due to its ribbed metal enclosure that help dissipate heat. It can also be oriented either vertically or horizontally to fit various desk setups. The default orientation is vertical, with black cushioning covering the entire „bottom“ of the device when standing up. If you wish to use the dock horizontally, CalDigit includes a pair of white rubber strips that easily slip onto the case’s ridged casing for cushioning.

Most Thunderbolt docks come with a fairly standard set of ports of various types, and the Thunderbolt Station 2 covers those bases and then some, offering a pair of Thunderbolt 2 ports to allow for passthrough to daisy-chain additional Thunderbolt devices, an HDMI port, dual eSATA 6G ports for speedy data connections, and three USB 3.0 ports. As is also true of most docks, the majority of the Thunderbolt Station 2’s ports are located on the back of the dock to keep cables out of the way, but the audio in/out ports and one USB port are located on the front for easy access. In addition to its easy accessibility, the front USB port also provides power even when the computer is turned off or disconnected, a convenient feature. The front of the dock looks clean with a brushed appearance, the three ports, a CalDigit logo, and a single blue light to show when the dock is connected to a computer. The light can be a bit bright if you have it on a desk in a bedroom for example, so those sensitive to light while sleeping may want to be mindful of the dock’s placement.

With many hard drive peripherals needing to be ejected before disconnection, CalDigit also provides a downloadable menu bar utility to make it easy to see connected devices and eject all of them at once prior to disconnecting the Thunderbolt dock from your machine.

The eSATA ports on the Thunderbolt Station 2 are a nice addition for power users, even if performance can be degraded under certain circumstances as they have to share the available bandwidth with other peripherals, but the ports will likely go unused by most consumers who have little need for the interface. Part of the compromise of including eSATA ports are the omission of extra USB ports or a Firewire port as seen on some competing docking stations, so that’s something to keep in mind.

The Thunderbolt Station 2 carries a list price of $200, which is quite competitive in the docking station market, although Belkin and Kanex docks can sometimes be found at lower prices. Unlike some competitors, CalDigit’s dock does not include a Thunderbolt cable, so if you don’t already have one you’ll need to pick one up separately. Fortunately, accessory vendors have slowly ramped up availability of Thunderbolt cables, so pricing has come down a bit on those over the past couple of years.

Kenu Airframe+ Smartphone Car Mount ($29.75)

I reviewed this one nearly a year and a half ago before the larger iPhones even came out, and it’s still my go-to solution for mounting my iPhone in the car. Available in black or white, the Airframe+ is a simple spring-loaded clamp that fits a variety of air vent sizes and styles, making it easy to put your phone wherever you need it. And its compact size means it’s easy to slip it into a pocket or a bag.

Kenu has also just released a new Dualtrip car charging solution with a pair of high-speed USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously. I haven’t used the Dualtrip yet, as I have an existing dual-port car charger that works well, but it looks like a nice option that even fits inside an Airframe+ for storage and transport, and Kenu sells the two accessories together in an Airframe+ Car Kit bundle for a discounted price of $39.99.

Stay tuned as MacRumors staff members continue sharing their favorite products in the form of these gift guides over the next few days, and be sure to weigh in our Reader Picks guide to voice your own opinion on the best accessories out there.

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Discuss this article in our forums

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MacRumors Gift Guide by Eric: SteelSeries Nimbus Controller, Apple Watch Dock, BB-8, and More

Following in the footsteps of Juli, Joe, Mitchel, Marianne, and even MacRumors readers, I’m now adding my suggestions to the parade of holiday gift guides we’ve been publishing over the past week. Below you’ll find a varied list of accessories that I, Eric Slivka, use on a daily basis. and hopefully there’s something here for just about everyone with accessories for Macs, iOS devices, the Apple Watch, and the Apple TV all represented here.

SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller ($49.99)

SteelSeries has offered Apple-approved game controllers for some time now, but with the launch of the new Apple TV roughly six weeks ago, interest in such controllers is surging. Fortunately for Apple fans, the SteelSeries Nimbus is a solid option that notably relies on a Lightning port for charging, making it easy to use existing cables and even Apple’s iPhone dock to recharge the controller.

Apple has heavily featured the Nimbus alongside the Apple TV, and has equipped demo Apple TV units in its retail stores with the controller. The Nimbus is also included in a Disney Infinity 3.0 starter pack for Apple TV.

Gaming on the Apple TV is still in its early days, but the benefits of a controller over the included Siri Remote are already clear, enabling more precise and varied controls in a package that feels more natural in the hands when gaming. Beyond Apple TV, the Nimbus can also pair with iOS devices, enabling controller functionality for a number of games including Real Racing 3, Oceanhorn, and several titles in the LEGO series.

Make sure to check out our full review of the SteelSeries Nimbus for more details on the controller.

Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Dock ($79.00)

I was skeptical of this one when it first leaked and even once it officially launched, but once I got it in my hands, I was hooked. Yes, it seems expensive, but keep in mind that it includes a 2-meter Lightning cable in the box, an accessory that Apple charges $29 for on its own.

Third-party Apple charging stands with the exception of the $130 combination Apple Watch and iPhone dock from Belkin do not include a charging cable of any sort, requiring users to supply their own Apple Watch charging cables at an additional cost unless they want to commit the sole cable that comes with the watch to that effort.

Unsurprisingly, Apple’s dock has a premium feel, with a soft top and a microfiber bottom to prevent scratching. The center charging puck can lay flat or be swung up into a vertical position to charge the Apple Watch on its side, and the mechanism feels smooth and solid. The vertical orientation makes it great for Nightstand mode and for closed-loop bands. And while the disc shape takes up a bit more room than some other Apple Watch stands and docks, it’s incredibly stable and with the charging puck folded flat the dock can be easily stored in a drawer or slipped into a bag.

The use of a Lightning cable for powering the dock is also a major advantage over third-party docks reliant on actual Apple Watch cables. I’ve got Lightning cables all over my house, so it’s easy to move this Apple Watch dock anywhere in the house as needed and just plug a Lightning cable into it.

Anker PowerPort 4 ($26.99)

Anker is an extremely popular accessory company due to its low prices, high-quality products, and good customer service, so their products are making several appearances in our gift guides. My choice is the PowerPort 4 USB wall charger, a compact charger that lets you charge up to four USB devices simultaneously from a single power outlet.

Introduced earlier this year, the PowerPort 4 includes a number of improvements over Anker’s previous 4-port charger, including foldable prongs that make it great for travel and an increase to 40 watts from the previous 36-watt design. With 40 watts of charging power available, you can charge up to three iPads or two iPads and two iPhones simultaneously at high speed. A status light on the adapter tells you whether it’s charging your connected devices at high speed (green) or normal speed (blue), making it easy to tell how much load you’ve got on the charger.

All of this comes in a package that’s not a whole lot bigger and just a few bucks more than Apple’s 12-watt iPad charger that only includes one USB port. With so many iOS devices, battery packs, and more sitting around my office and competing for outlet space with all of my other equipment, the PowerPort 4 is a must for keeping everything topped off.

BB-8 App-Enabled Droid ($149.95)

Sphero’s been involved with app-controlled toys for a few years now, but this holiday season sees the perfect tie-in to the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens debut in the form of a BB-8 droid. This one’s mostly going to appeal to kids (I’ve got two of my own who are in love with it) and it’s definitely expensive, but it’s a clever and fun toy for Star Wars fans if you’re looking to splurge.

At its heart, BB-8 is very much like a standard Sphero, a gyroscope-equipped ball controlled via app from a paired iOS device. Unlike normal Sphero balls, however, BB-8 has an extra magnetically attached head to match the droid from the film. The magnets allow BB-8’s head to stay upright (most of the time) even as its body is rolling around underneath.

Aside from simple steering controls on the app, BB-8 can also respond to voice controls and even go on „patrol mode“ by itself to explore its environment, keeping track of obstacles and sounding alerts for „enemies“ it encounters.

For more on BB-8, make sure to check out our full review.

elago L3 Stand for Notebooks ($32.99)

I’ve been using elago’s L3 Stand for a little over a year to elevate my Retina MacBook Pro a bit on my desk. It’s a simple aluminum design that gives just right amount of elevation to the rear of the machine, improving air flow to help keep things cool. That’s a plus when I’m driving one and sometimes two external monitors from it. My desk setup has my MacBook Pro sitting underneath a hutch, so I needed something that didn’t add too much height, and the L3 Stand fits the bill perfectly.

It’s a fairly cheap investment as stands go, looks nice, has scratch-resistant silicone pads to protect the bottom and front edge of my MacBook Pro, and includes a pair of cable management holes in the rear. It’s also available in silver, gray, and gold to match Apple’s various notebook finishes.

For those who want to raise their machines a little higher and have some room to slide papers, a keyboard, or other desk items out of the way underneath, elago offers an alternative design with the L4 Stand.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2 ($196.99)

Yes, Thunderbolt 3 is right around the corner, but there are plenty of people who already have Thunderbolt 2 machines and might be looking for something to help make it easy to manage their peripherals. Thunderbolt docks have been notoriously slow to surface, but CalDigit’s Thunderbolt Station 2 was one of the earlier ones out of the gate when it debuted early this year.

I’ve used a couple of different Thunderbolt docks, and CalDigit’s has been the best fit for my needs. It’s compact and sturdy, with good heft due to its ribbed metal enclosure that help dissipate heat. It can also be oriented either vertically or horizontally to fit various desk setups. The default orientation is vertical, with black cushioning covering the entire „bottom“ of the device when standing up. If you wish to use the dock horizontally, CalDigit includes a pair of white rubber strips that easily slip onto the case’s ridged casing for cushioning.

Most Thunderbolt docks come with a fairly standard set of ports of various types, and the Thunderbolt Station 2 covers those bases and then some, offering a pair of Thunderbolt 2 ports to allow for passthrough to daisy-chain additional Thunderbolt devices, an HDMI port, dual eSATA 6G ports for speedy data connections, and three USB 3.0 ports. As is also true of most docks, the majority of the Thunderbolt Station 2’s ports are located on the back of the dock to keep cables out of the way, but the audio in/out ports and one USB port are located on the front for easy access. In addition to its easy accessibility, the front USB port also provides power even when the computer is turned off or disconnected, a convenient feature. The front of the dock looks clean with a brushed appearance, the three ports, a CalDigit logo, and a single blue light to show when the dock is connected to a computer. The light can be a bit bright if you have it on a desk in a bedroom for example, so those sensitive to light while sleeping may want to be mindful of the dock’s placement.

With many hard drive peripherals needing to be ejected before disconnection, CalDigit also provides a downloadable menu bar utility to make it easy to see connected devices and eject all of them at once prior to disconnecting the Thunderbolt dock from your machine.

The eSATA ports on the Thunderbolt Station 2 are a nice addition for power users, even if performance can be degraded under certain circumstances as they have to share the available bandwidth with other peripherals, but the ports will likely go unused by most consumers who have little need for the interface. Part of the compromise of including eSATA ports are the omission of extra USB ports or a Firewire port as seen on some competing docking stations, so that’s something to keep in mind.

The Thunderbolt Station 2 carries a list price of $200, which is quite competitive in the docking station market, although Belkin and Kanex docks can sometimes be found at lower prices. Unlike some competitors, CalDigit’s dock does not include a Thunderbolt cable, so if you don’t already have one you’ll need to pick one up separately. Fortunately, accessory vendors have slowly ramped up availability of Thunderbolt cables, so pricing has come down a bit on those over the past couple of years.

Kenu Airframe+ Smartphone Car Mount ($29.75)

I reviewed this one nearly a year and a half ago before the larger iPhones even came out, and it’s still my go-to solution for mounting my iPhone in the car. Available in black or white, the Airframe+ is a simple spring-loaded clamp that fits a variety of air vent sizes and styles, making it easy to put your phone wherever you need it. And its compact size means it’s easy to slip it into a pocket or a bag.

Kenu has also just released a new Dualtrip car charging solution with a pair of high-speed USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously. I haven’t used the Dualtrip yet, as I have an existing dual-port car charger that works well, but it looks like a nice option that even fits inside an Airframe+ for storage and transport, and Kenu sells the two accessories together in an Airframe+ Car Kit bundle for a discounted price of $39.99.

Stay tuned as MacRumors staff members continue sharing their favorite products in the form of these gift guides over the next few days, and be sure to weigh in our Reader Picks guide to voice your own opinion on the best accessories out there.

Tag: gift guide
Discuss this article in our forums

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Holiday Gift Guide for iPhone, iPad, and Mac [iOS Blog]

You’ve made your list, you’ve checked it twice. Now it’s time to get gifts for the folks on that list. But what should you buy, especially for the tech-savvy people? You can turn to many of the gift guides on the web, but our guide is for the devoted Mac, iPhone, and iPad user. Pick up one of our suggestions, or use them as inspiration to figure out a gift on your own.

Mac Gifts

Asus PB287Q 28″ 4K Monitor: HD is passé. It’s all about Ultra HD now, also known as 4K video. The PB287Q is a 28-inch display with a native resolution of 3840 by 2160 pixels. At a $649 list price and frequently available for less, it’s a lot more affordable than other Ultra HD displays, which can cost most than a thousand dollars. As Macworld points out, you sacrifice a few features for the price, but the PB287Q does the job. [$563 at Amazon]

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock: Apple laptops are quite popular, so there are a lot of MacBook users who plug-in and unplug their devices as part of their daily routines. With the $300 (and currently on pre-order sale for $249) Thunderbolt 2 Dock at your desk, you connect all your devices to the dock, and then you connect the dock to your laptop with a single Thunderbolt cable. When it’s time to go, just unplug the one cable; when you return, just plug in the same cable. [$249, pre-order at OWC]

Dynamism Ultimaker 2: Remember when 3D printing was only for companies with big budgets and specialists? We’ve come a long way since then, and you can have your own 3D printer at home. The $2,499 Ultimaker 2 from Dynamism comes with Cura, software for designing your creations, and it has settings for beginners and experts. The Ultimaker 2 is PC Magazine‘s Editor’s Choice for 3D printers, with the site pointing out that the printer is ideal for makers and designers alike. [$2,499 at Dynamism]

LaCie Christofle Sphére: Don’t settle for a boxy, boring hard drive when you can give something more artistic. The $490 Christofle Sphére is a gorgeous silver-plated sphere that houses a bus-powered 1TB hard drive. Handcrafted in France, the Sphére uses a USB 3 connection, so you don’t have to sacrifice speed in the name of art. CNET‘s review of the Sphére says it stands out in both performance and design in a crowded market of hard drives. [$490 at Lacie]

WaterField Designs Mac Pro Go Case: Apple’s Mac Pro is so small that you shouldn’t be surprised to find a professional toting a Mac Pro around from location to location. But instead of using the original box, use the $129 Mac Pro Go Case a bag that’s specially designed for the Mac Pro. The soft lining inside the bag protects the Mac Pro, and accessories and cables can be stored in the Go Case’s disc pouch that covers the top of the Mac Pro. Macworld called the Go Case an „elegant“ bag for the Mac Pro. [$129 at SFBags]

iPhone Gifts

Cobra JumPack Battery: It sucks when your iPhone battery runs dry, but it’s even worse when you’re stranded somewhere because your car battery is dead. The JumPack is a 7500 mAh portable battery pack with a peak current of 400A, enough juice to jump start a car. Cobra includes special jumper cables that work with the JumPack, as well as a standard power adapter and a 12V charger. Mobile devices connect to the JumPack via USB. [$101 at Amazon]

Beats solo2 wireless headphones: The $300 solo2 wireless headphones are the first released by Beats since Apple’s acquisition of the company became official in August. The headphone’s Bluetooth connectivity has a 30-foot range, and the battery lasts 12 hours. More importantly, as of the launch of the original solo2, Beats has improved the audio quality, and there’s no degradation between the wireless and wired modes. TechCrunch says the solo2 wireless sounds „surprisingly good.“ [$300 at Apple Store]

Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1: While we live in a digital world, there’s something fun and sentimental about printed photographs. The $180 Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1 is small enough to take to parties and get-togethers, and it connects to your iPhone wirelessly so you can print a picture right after you’ve shot it. The iOS app has different templates for adding text and to make your prints more festive to match the occasion. The Digital Trekker Blog said the SP-1 can be „an indispensable tool.“ [$151 at Amazon]

HTC RE Camera: You have a camera with you all the time, thanks to your iPhone, so why do you need a camera like the RE, much less want to pay $200 for it? Because as easy as it is to use your iPhone’s camera, you can still miss out when a surprise photo opportunity presents itself. With the RE’s one button control, all you need to do is literally point and shoot, and its 146-degree wide-angle lens means you don’t have to worry about framing. You can set the RE to shoot videos or stills, and it’s waterproof up to 1 meter deep. The iOS app gives you access to saved videos, provides a viewfinder, and offers camera settings. Greenbot has a full review of the RE. [$199 at Amazon]

Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash: The easiest way to improve your photos is to have better lighting when you take a picture. The iPhone’s flash has come a long way, but it still has its limits. The $59 Nova Bluetooth iPhone Flash gives you more flexibility, allowing you to place the flash where light is needed, instead of coping with the fixed flash on your iPhone. The flash has 40 diffused and cool LEDs so you can adjust the light through Nova’s iPhone app. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket so you can carry with you all the time. [$59 at Amazon]

Olloclip 4-In-1 Photo Lens: Olloclip’s camera lenses for iPhone have always been popular, and the 4-in-1 Photo Lens improves on a successful formula. Designed for the iPhone 6, the 4-in-1 clips on the phone over the front-facing or rear-facing cameras to expand your choices in optics. The 4-in-1 includes a fisheye lens, wide-angle lens, macro 10x lens, and macro 15x lens for $79.99. Learn more about the 4-in-1 by reading our hands-on article. [$79 at Olloclip]

SanDisk iXpand: iXpand is a flash drive that can copy files from your iOS device, giving you one more way to transfer files between devices. The drive works with an iOS app that you use to transfer photos and videos, and you can even play media files from other devices directly on the drive. The iXpand also has password protection, so your files are safe in case the drive falls into the wrong hands. CNET provides a review. [16GB ($59.99), 32GB ($79.99), and 64GB ($120) at Sandisk].

iPad Gifts

littleBits Smart Home Kit: Home automation is making its way through the neighborhoods of America, but why isn’t it catching on more quickly? Mostly because most home automation systems require you to replace the items already in your home. You don’t have to do that with the $249 Smart Home Kit, which includes 14 „Bits“ that you add to appliances and other items in your home. With some handiwork, you’ll soon have the Internet of Things throughout your house, and you can control it all with your iOS device. [$249 pre-order at littleBits]

Logitech Keys-To-Go: The $70 Keys-To-Go is a portable stand-alone keyboard that’s extremely thin and lightweight like the iPad Air 2. Keys-To-Go weighs a scant 6.35 ounces, and is barely a quarter of an inch thick, so it won’t take up a lot of room in your bag. It’s covered in FabricSkin and there are no nooks and crannies, so if you’re at the coffee shop and you spill your latte on the keyboard, all you need to do is wipe it off. In its review of Keys-To-Go, TUAW says the Bluetooth connectivity works quickly and easily. [$70 at Logitech]

Orbotix Ollie: Originally called the 2B, the $99.99 Ollie is a new robotic toy from the makers of the Sphero. This time, the robot is tube-shaped and comes with a set of wheels that make it go as fast as 14 miles per hour. Ollie is durable enough so that you can off ramps and make it spin, and the iOS app shows you how to do more tricks. In a review, Time called the Ollie durable, but „even more niche than Sphero.“ [$99 at Amazon]

Parrot Bebop Drone: You can get a bird’s eye view of the landscape around you with the Bebop Drone. It has a 14-megapixel fisheye camera so you get a wide angle view, and image stabilization makes sure your videos and pictures don’t suffer from the shakes. The drone uses Wi-Fi to connect to your iOS device. The Next Web says that the controls require practice, but it’s „definitely suitable for beginners.“ [$500 at Apple, shipping in 1-2 weeks]

SteelSeries Stratus XL: When the gaming gets serious, the iPad’s touch controls can be frustrating. Times like these require a dedicated controller like the $70 Stratus XL. It connects to the iPad or iPhone via Bluetooth and has two joysticks, a D-pad, four action buttons, and four shoulder buttons. Most importantly, it’s comfortable in your hands, making it easier to perform precise movements while you’re getting your game on. Our sister site TouchArcade went hands-on with the Stratus XL earlier this year, and said it felt great when held due to its large size, which is similar to a standard console controller. [$70 at Apple]

Out of ideas?

Still stumped about finding just the right gift? You can always turn to gift cards. Apple offers Apple Store Gift Cards that can be used at any retail Apple Store or on the online Apple Store.

You can also buy iTunes Gift Cards that are redeemable in the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, or Mac App Store.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.




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CES 2014: Orbotix Announces ‘Sphero 2B’ Smartphone-Controlled Robotic Toy [iOS Blog]

Orbotix, the company behind the smartphone-controlled robotic ball Sphero, today announced its next-generation toy, the Sphero 2B. Unlike the original Sphero, which was spherical in shape, the Sphero 2B features a rugged, tubular two-wheel design.

According to Orbotix, the Sphero 2B is able to move up to 14 feet a second, making it twice as fast as the Sphero 2.0, which debuted in August 2013. At 14 feet a second, the Sphero 2B can travel a mile in just over six minutes. Like the first Sphero, the Sphero 2B will connect to an iOS device via Bluetooth LE, and is controlled with an iOS app.

The Sphero 2B will offer customizable tires and accessories for a personalized driving experience, and along with an array of multiplayer games, the 2B is fully programmable.

Thanks to its design, it is also able to make quick turns, pull off tricks, and tumble over uneven terrain. Much like the Sphero, developers will be able to create a variety of apps and games that will interact with the Sphero 2B.

Sphero 2B will be available in the fall of 2014 for $100.




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