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November 09, 2012

2012 is All About Gadgets - Have You Started Your Christmas Shopping Yet?

By Stefania Viscusi, Assignment Desk Editor

Thinking about holiday shopping yet? There are only about two more weeks until ‘Black Friday’ (News - Alert) - when the holiday shopping frenzy really kicks into full gear.

Whether you’re scoping out the hottest deal on a big ticket item, or looking to cross off everyone on your list – there’s one thing that’s become easier to do over the years - decide on a gift for any age group. While it used to be that older recipients got a new tie, a household item, or piece of clothing and children waited for a plastic toy or board game –today children, seniors, business users, students – all have common items topping their gift wish lists – thanks to modern technology.

One of the best known companies, Apple (News - Alert), has had success with all its product launches and their devices have become a popular choice for people across the globe.

The most recent release of the iPhone 5 saw sales of a record five million devices in only the first three days of its release.

And the iPad Mini, released just a few weeks ago, while not yet creating the craze of other Apple counterparts, is already selling out of stock in a number of stores.

While most of us probably can’t buy everyone on our list a new iPad for the holiday, there are a number of affordable gadgets out there that won’t break the bank and are still worth considering.

After all, chances are a large number of those you are shopping for already have an Apple device, so why not get them something to enhance their experience and use of the product?

Here are few items that work with Apple iPad/iPhone that I’ve had the chance to test out. I’ve provided some information on the product as well as some of my initial reactions and the price point, so you can consider them while you put your Christmas shopping lists together.

Square Jellyfish ($9.95) – This is an earbud case that doubles as a stand. Users get somewhere to safely store their headphones, and they have a place to prop up their iPhone or iPod when using Facetime for example, or letting the phone charge.

The product is currently only available only from Amazon.com and eBay and comes in five fun colors: sea blue, lime green, purple and black - to meet the needs of teens and color conscious gadget users.

Square Jellyfish, which can also be used to prop up 7" tablets and iPads equipped with cases,  measures 2 3⁄4" x 1 3⁄4" x 5⁄8".

For someone who travels a lot, or frequents the gym in the middle of a hectic schedule, I found this device to be fun and small enough to slide in my pocket and go. It also kept the wires from twisting, knotting and breaking (an issue I always seem to have with earbuds).

To help support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Square Jellyfish also offers a hot pink option, and a portion of the proceeds are sent to benefit the Foundation.

Koala Mount ($19.99)  - Keeping with the theme of making your Apple device useful while freeing up your hands, Dockem offers the Koala Mount. This gadget is a wall mount that securely holds your iPad up on any hard, vertical surface - such as a mirror, fridge or  other areas.

This was an interesting concept for someone who is obsessed with YouTube and their how-to beauty bloggers. Being able to make use of the device stuck to the bathroom mirror while following the how to steps or propping it up on the wall away from the mess on the countertop while I read through a recipe, made it a particularly useful item.

The Mount can also be moved around as needed and does not require any screws, nails or holes.  Instead, users get two 3M (News - Alert) Command Strips and brackets so setup is simple and easy. It also features a built-in hidden cord clip. Other models also supported include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, ASUS Transformer Prime, Google (News - Alert) ASUS Nexus 7 and Motorola Xoom.

Zooka ($99.95)  -  For those have made it to your “Nice” list this year, spend a little more on Carbon Audio’s slide-on  Bluetooth speaker bar called “ Zooka.” This device makes it easy to enhance the audio of an iPhone, iPad or MacBook – so users can enjoy even louder, crystal clear sounds playing over their device.

While most of us enjoy listening to music and even watching movies while on the go, sometimes the sound button will only go so loud, despite what we’re used to hearing when we aren’t consuming the media on our device. Zooka makes the sound louder and allows users to listen from up to 30 feet away. In addition, it can be turned into a speaker phone to make Skype (News - Alert) calls with those overseas relatives a little more enjoyable.

Zooka can be purchased from Apple.com or at an Apple Store and comes in six loud colors including: black, blue, dark grey, orange, pink, and red.

iShower ($99)  - Finally, if you have a music lover on your list that is always humming tunes, and likes to sing in the shower, now they can take their music with them into the water without fear of causing water damage to their device.

iDevices, the creator of iShower, a Bluetooth, water-resistant speaker for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android and other Bluetooth devices , makes it possible for users to keep their device safe and dry at a distance (up to 200 feet) while they stream and still enjoy music by the pool, in the shower, or at the spa.

One highlight of the device is the ability to pair up to five different phones or devices, so you don’t have to be subjected to listening to your husband’s poor music selections while you shower, or sing along to kid’s tunes when you’re relaxing at the spa.

In addition, iShower features a built-in clock display and easy-to-read buttons to control the device’s music right from the speaker as well as a “Grab-n-Go” mount can easily be take down wherever you use the speaker.

Whatever devices make it to your list this year, it will be a good one for retailers. Predictions from a PriceGrabber survey on the shopping season found 62 percent of consumers are planning to spend more money than they did last year.




Edited by Braden Becker
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