Still, it’s easier to know that you should be buying gifts than it is to know what you should be buying in the first place.
To help you with your holiday shopping, we’ve put together this guide for Apple gifts in 2020. We’ve made a point to cover various price ranges and use cases so that you can find the gift that best matches your budget and loved one’s interests.
Let’s get started!
The best Apple gifts for 2020: Hardware
First up, we’re going to get into the best hardware that Apple has to offer. iPads, Macs, and more will be listed here, along with recommendations and advice for purchasing these devices.
The 2020 iPad: Perfect for everyone
Just a few months ago, Apple updated its base iPad (i.e., the basic, plain iPad) for 2020. It features the same iconic design you know and love, gets a decent spec bump, and is still one of the best products Apple makes for the price.
Seriously, there are few better bargains than the 2020 iPad. It starts at $329, is powerful enough to replace a laptop for some people, is great for games, reading, and watching movies – it’s super flexible and fun to use.
It also works with the Apple Pencil! You have to get the first-generation Apple Pencil, mind you (the one that charges by plugging directly into the iPad). And, because the iPad is often purchased for younger kids, you can easily find a robust kids’ case to go with it from Amazon.
My recommendation is to buy the base iPad with no upgrades. You can increase the storage and add cellular connectivity if you want, but I don’t think most people will get a lot of value from these.
The 2020 iPad Air: Great for students and artists
To keep things brief, I love it! I’ve been using this device daily for the past two months now and have next to no complaints. It’s fast, easy to use, and makes a perfect companion for my MacBook.
However, it’s not cheap. Starting at $599, this is a pricier gift than the base iPad, so I would not recommend buying this for kids. This is a better gift for students and artists, as the screen and power will support both of these better.
My recommendation is to buy this for someone who needs a more serious device than the standard iPad. It’s a great budget alternative to the iPad Pro but will be overkill if you just want to read books and watch YouTube.
The Apple Watch SE: For those who want to stay fit and those you want to keep close
Another product that I have loved from Apple this year has been the Apple Watch SE. I also wrote an in-depth review over the Apple Watch SE, which you can read for a better insight into what I think about this product.
For those who don’t know, the Apple Watch SE is just a budget version of the standard Apple Watch. It lacks a few key features but also knocks a big chunk of change off the price tag. You can pick this watch up for as low as $279.
There are some things to keep in mind, however. The Apple Watch can only be used by someone with an iPhone or someone whose parent has an iPhone. Otherwise, they will not be able to use it.
My recommendation is to purchase this as a gift for an athletic iPhone user. It provides all of the health tracking they need without being too extravagant of a gift.
HomePod mini: For music lovers
Speaking of budget gifts that Apple fans will love, let’s talk about the HomePod mini. This little smart speaker was just announced a month ago and is already a hit among owners.
If you’re not familiar with HomePod, it’s Apple’s offering to the smart speaker market. Though not as popular as Google Home or Amazon Echo, HomePod provides excellent sound and integrates well with Apple’s entertainment and smart home features.
The HomePod mini is a more affordable, smaller version of the standard HomePod, making it a better option as a gift. Just bear in mind that it has poor integration with non-Apple apps; Spotify, Pandora, and others don’t run as smoothly as Apple Music or Apple TV.
My recommendation is to grab this for those who love music and/or smart home accessories. I’d also recommend this as a solid “I don’t know what to get them” gift, as it’s affordable, easy to use, and will please anyone who gets it.
The M1 MacBook Air: Perfect for college students
Of course, now and then you want to go big for the holidays. In my opinion, the M1 MacBook Air is the perfect “Go big” gift for 2020. It starts at $999 and packs a serious punch in the slim, lightweight frame you know and love.
Beyond the great price, design, and software, the 2020 MacBook Air includes a major upgrade over its predecessors. That upgrade is the M1 chip. You can read more on it here, but in short, this chip (made by Apple) makes this device about as powerful as the MacBook Pro that came the year before (a device that costs several hundred dollars more).
There isn’t much more to say about it! Aside from the price, there aren’t many drawbacks to the MacBook Air. I’d recommend getting the basic $999 version for most users. If your loved one has more power-intensive needs (video editing, graphic design, making music), then consider upgrading the RAM/Memory to 16GB.
The best Apple gifts for 2020: Accessories
With hardware out of the way, it’s time to get into the more “reasonable”, budget-friendly gifts. We’ll include great stocking stuffers as well as gifts that are powerful enough to stand on their own.
AirPods: You can’t go wrong
We’d be remiss to not mention the now-classic AirPods. They launched in 2016 to waves of skepticism, but have now become one of Apple’s hottest releases of all time. The simple design is iconic, they’re incredibly easy to use, and they work like magic.
Even the experience of taking AirPods out of the box and setting them up is a unique and special moment. AirPods work with Android devices and laptops, too, so you can buy them for non-iPhone owners without worry.
There are some concerns, though. You won’t be surprised to hear that they are, in fact, incredibly easy to lose. I wouldn’t buy these for anyone under the age of 13. Additionally, they don’t have the longest lifespan; after a year or so of regular use, they’re going to start to break down. The battery will be poor, the mics might stop working, and they’ll get fairly dirty.
All of that said, I still think these are the quintessential Apple gift. They’re expensive enough to impress, will be used every day, and how more wow factor than the average Apple product.
AirPods Pro: Leave an impression
If you want to give the gift of AirPods, but better, then give AirPods Pro. These have all the perks of AirPods with tons of extra features that users will love.
The AirPods Pro include noise-cancellation, pass-through audio (you can listen to music and still hear the outside world), extra buttons, and more comfortable tips for your ears.
Of course, the downside here is the price. AirPods Pro are $249. If you recall, that’s almost the same price as the Apple Watch SE – for a pair of headphones. For this reason, I’d save these for a special someone crazy about music and audio experiences.
Apple Gift Cards: Choose your price
If you want to give a gift that is exactly what you can afford and what the other person wants, then, of course, you’ll want to choose the classic gift card. There isn’t much else to say here: everyone loves gift cards, and everyone could use some help paying for their Apple addiction.
The Apple Pencil: A gift for iPad owners
In my opinion, Apple Pencil is one of Apple’s more underrated products. I think it’s a more solid product than AirPods by a mile, it just happens to be more niche. So if you find yourself in the position to gift the Apple Pencil to someone, I think you should!
First, though, you’ll want to check compatibility The Apple Pencil doesn’t work with just any device. It only works with iPads, and it only works with iPads from late 2017 and onwards. If someone has an iPad older than three years (that isn’t an iPad Pro) don’t get the Apple Pencil!
Second, there are two versions of the Apple Pencil. The first-generation Apple Pencil charges by plugging directly into the iPad, while the second-generation Apple Pencil magnetizes to the iPad Pro and charges that way.
The 2020 iPad Air, 2020 iPad Pros, and 2018 iPad Pros use the second-generation Apple Pencil. Every other iPad (that’s either an iPad Pro or less than three years old) uses the first-generation Apple Pencil.
If you’re not sure which to buy, contact Apple’s support team – they’re super friendly!
Cases, chargers, and bands: Plenty of budget-friendly options
Lastly, we have the “miscellaneous” Apple products. These are products that you can buy from Apple or a third-party. You have tons of options here, both in price, design, and compatibility, making this great for a more casual gift or a stocking stuffer.
- Chargers, portable batteries, and cables: $5-$20 Wireless chargers, car chargers, MagSafe chargers, long cables, weatherproof portable batteries – get creative!
- iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBook cases: $10-$30. Yes, all of these devices have cases available. When picking a case, try to find something that matches the person’s style and needs (durability, keyboard, etc.)
- Apple Watch bands: $50. One of the best accessories you can get someone is a new Apple Watch band. They’re stylish, and there are tons of options to choose from, both from Apple and from third-parties. Just make sure you know what size the person’s Apple Watch is!
Buy Apple gifts that everyone will love
Luckily, Apple hardly ever makes a bad product, and it has an incredibly flexible return policy for the first two weeks after you make a purchase. So don’t feel too much pressure when choosing an Apple product.
My advice would be to go smaller (<$300) unless you really know what a person wants. And if you still can’t make a decision, chat online with an Apple representative and get their input!
Happy shopping, and happy holidays!