For the past week MacRumors editors and writers have been sharing gift guides featuring hand-picked items for the holidays. Thus far, we've seen gift guides from Juli, Joe, Mitchel, Marianne, Eric, Matt and one featuring your holiday suggestions. Today, I end our series of gift guides with my own.
This gift guide was written by me, Husain Sumra, and it's filled with items that I either really love and use frequently or items that I'm lusting for in the hope that they make my day easier.
Anker PowerCore+ mini - $9.99
While there are a lot of small external batteries, there are none that I enjoy using more than the Anker PowerCore+ mini. It comes in a small, lipstick-sized package that has plenty of power for my iPhone 6.
It's small enough to slip into your pocket or purse, but it also has a premium metal finish that's oddly fun to hold. It feels sturdy and solid rather than a cheap toy, which makes it a nice companion to the iPhone if you care about the feel of your products.
The best feature of the PowerCore+ mini though is its price, which gives it a huge advantage over similar external batteries on the market.
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening on December 18, there's no better time to revisit the complete Star Wars collection. Yes, even the prequels.
While The Digital Movie Collection doesn't include the unedited original trilogy, it is the most convenient way to watch these movies. Not only can you watch them on your Apple TV or Mac, but you can watch them on your iPad Pro or iPhone, too. Furthermore, you can use Disney Movies Anywhere to watch five of the six movies on non-Apple devices. The only exception to this is A New Hope due to rights issues with 20th Century Fox. They also come with brand new behind-the-scenes bonus features giving even the biggest Star Wars fan new insight into the creation of some of the most loved movies of all time.
If you, or someone you know, likes to watch their media on multiple devices there's no better way to watch the incredible highs and lows of the complete Star Wars saga.
I use my iPhone for recording interviews and quick podcasts a lot, but my iPhone 6's microphone is fairly basic and tends to produce a more hollow sound. So I've been lusting for a small, easy-to-use mic that I can use on the go and the one I've centered on is the Shure MOTIV MV88.
It's the one mic I've found that seems to fall into the perfect mixture of size, audio quality and price. It also comes with a simple app that allows you to adjust your mic's settings, letting you see exactly how it'll affect the sound. Those settings transfer over to any recordings you do with GarageBand or other third-party audio and video-recording apps.
HBO Now - $14.99/Month
There is no content provider I turn to more often than HBO. Whether it be hit shows like Game of Thrones, smaller dramas like The Leftovers, documentary series like The Jinx or weekly shows like Last Week Tonight, there is no one I trust more to provide me with great content.
With HBO Now, you don't have to subscribe to an expensive cable or satellite subscription either. You can get all of their content on your own terms for $14.99, making cutting the cord easier than ever if you don't care about live sports.
iPad Air Smart Cover - $39.00
Whenever I purchase a new device, whether it be an iPhone, iPad or Macbook, I usually opt to not purchase any kind of case or protection. I find the vast majority of cases aesthetically unpleasant compared to the device's natural look, and most cases hamper the feel of the product in my hand.
However, I make an exception for the Smart Cover line by Apple. Not only does it allow my iPad Air's aesthetic and feel to shine, but it's actually got some versatility outside of protecting the display when it's not in use. It can fold itself up, allowing the iPad to stand. Additionally, the soft material on the inside of the cover is a good way to quickly wipe off any dust or fingerprints on the display.
AirPort Extreme - $199.00
The AirPort Extreme isn't the most fully featured or complex router available on the market, but it is the one I'd recommend to the vast majority of people.
I've owned Apple's previous AirPort Extreme in addition to the newest one, and I've never had a problem with either. In fact, the last time I even looked at my AirPort Extreme is when I went through the very simple setup process. The AirPort Extreme has provided a reliable and strong Wi-Fi signal in my home with absolutely no problems, and there's no better option for people who want a no-hassle solution for their networking needs.
The new version of the AirPort Extreme provides 3 times the speed of the previous model and transmits at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies at the same time, allowing your device to connect to the fastest connection it can at most times. It can also transmit further than the previous model, as I found I've been able to hold a viable connection from around 30 yards away from my home.
MoviePass - From $30/Month
As a huge movie buff, I tend to visit movie theaters a lot to check out the latest new releases. However, watching at least one movie in theaters a week quickly becomes a very expensive hobby, so I was very pleased to subscribe to MoviePass, a subscription service for watching movies in theaters.
The subscription starts at $30 a month, though it can rise to $49 a month depending on your area (you can check how much a subscription costs in your area at MoviePass' website). You're allowed to see a new release, non-3D movie in theaters every 24 hours. Since I see at least a film a week, and sometimes two or three a week during the summer and fall, I've found that MoviePass actually saves me money and has been a good value overall.
To use the service, you must download the MoviePass app and check-in to a movie at the theater of your choice. Once you've checked in, you take your MoviePass card to the box office and request the movie you've checked into. The cashier then slides the card and you receive your movie ticket.
Correction: An earlier version of this gift guide indicated that the Anker PowerCore+ mini could provide two full charges for an iPhone 6. As pointed out by readers, it cannot.