5 Holiday Mac gift ideas

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It’s a little late for Hanukkah, but for those of you who celebrate Christmas or have a winter birthday, or know someone who does, here are my top picks for gifts from Apple. Of course, any of their computers would be a great gift, but that goes without saying. So this guide focuses on accessories, and smaller gifts you can get the existing Mac user on your list.

Top Pick: The Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. This keyboard is SO awesome. When they first came out with this keyboard, I did not like the idea of no number pad at all. But then I went into the Apple Store, and then and there my mind was change. This thing is so thin, so sleek, so small, it is IMPOSSIBLE not to want one. The only person who will not want it is anyone who relies on their number pad.I learned fairly quickly to go without it, but there are some who may not be able to (though they might want the wired version, which retails for $49 and has the number pad.) The keyboard runs $79 at Apple’s Online Store, and barely cheaper elsewhere. Paired with Pick No. 2, the Bluetooth Mighty Mouse, it will make an excellently neat desktop.

Pick Two:
Apple Bluetooth Mighty Mouse. By itself, it is nothing remarkable. Just a Mighty Mouse with no tail. But if you are going to get your loved one a Wireless Keyboard, get them the Wireless Mighty Mouse too. They make an excellent couple. Priced a $69 at the Apple Store (and $59 for a refurbished version), you might be able to pick one up for a bit cheaper on eBay.

Pick Three: Got an aspiring, or maybe an already aspired editor around? Give them Final Cut Express HD. It’s a great value for the price (only $199, cut down impressively from last version’s price of $399), and it sports most elements of a pro video application, but takes out the extra advanced features that consumers would likely never touch. If you know someone who is constrained by iMovie, and wants to go higher, Final Cut Express is the gift for them.

Pick Four:
An external hard drive. Prices on these just go lower an lower. Though you can buy from Apple, you can get them much cheaper elsewhere, especially Buy an external hard drive for someone who has Leopard but no drive to use Time machine with. Or perhaps get one as a companion to Mac OS X Leopard. Generally, you should get a hard drive larger than twice the size of their computer’s internal hard drive. So if they have a 160 GB hard drive, get a 320 GB. 500 GB really seems to be the sweet spot in terms of the amount of storage for the least amount of money. Go for one of them if you can.

Pick Five:
Altec Lansing FX6021 – 2.1 Speakers Though pricey, these things sound crazy good. And they look crazy good. And they go with pretty much any Mac setup. Did I mention they look crazy good? Price, as I said, is hefty, at $249. But I think if you give it to the Mac Enthusiast among you, they’ll be darn happy.

Runners-Up: iLife ‘08, iWork ‘08, Microsoft Office for Mac (they have a sweet deal going on right now), iPod Dock, and of course, the all knowing Apple Gift Card.

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