Can it really be time to talk holiday gifts? I’m not ready. But for you, our faithful readers, I’m willing to dive in. And there is a lot to talk about!
The latest and greatest gadgets are out. Which ones look good? Which ones fit your budget? Which ones do you want to pile under the tree with secret dreams of getting your turn to press the power button? Ho. Ho. Ho. Like Buddy the Elf with glee and a good heart, let’s survey the options, from stocking stuffers to budget busters.
Let’s start with cool tech that doesn’t freeze your accounts.
How about a little spice for your tech palate? Cord tacos. No, your favorite taco truck isn’t serving a Silicon Valley culinary fusion menu. Cord tacos are like little wallets for your peskiest cords. This would be a great choice to keep your earbuds from tangling like a ball of yarn or your USB cable from disappearing into the dark valleys of your handbag.
Or go the direction of the Native Union key cable. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. That’s the approach of this nifty cable system. Rather than try to keep the cable untangled, the Native Union approach is to make the very best ball of yarn possible, while still keeping the functionality of that cable at the end of your keys instead of lost in the rubble of your junk drawer.
Okay, the sweet spot—gifts that keep on giving, without taking you for a trip to the cardiologist. Increasingly, we love our wireless world. We love streaming music, 24/7 news and podcasts of every flavor. We’re also busy, rushed and hitting the ground running from the time the alarm sounds until our heads hit the pillow. How about relaxing, smooth jazz flowing from your showerhead? Yep, a showerhead speaker. Whether it’s ending the day with your favorite sports show or filling your spiritual cup with a self-help podcast, this speaker washes away your worries.
But suppose you like to keep your speakers in your ears and away from the water. Earbuds have gone to the next level. Apple has broken the sound barrier with their wireless Air Pods. They’re a little pricy, but the functionality and the “it just works” factor that Apple always seems to muster make these a compelling choice for the Apple nation.
Finally, here are a couple of ideas for the big spender. Maybe you’ve come into an inheritance or won the lottery. Maybe you’re a hard working, money-earning machine or you just love to be in debt. There are countless tech goodies you could choose from, but I want to highlight two: the new 2016 MacBook Pro and the category-creating Surface Studio from Microsoft. Both machines have broken new ground (and both could break the bank, if you’re not careful).
Apple has 13- and 15-inch versions with an interesting new Touch Bar feature. You can get in the game for $1,799, but if you want to move to the front seats of the tech arena, you’ll have to pay a whopping $2,799—and these prices are before any upgrades. Fully outfitted with all the bells and whistles will run you $4,299. Whoa.
Then there’s the machine that literally made me almost shed tears when I watched it in action and dreamed what my kids might do if they could unleash their creative potential with it: the Surface Studio from Microsoft.
At first, it looks like an iMac wannabe, but then the lights come on, the curtains lift and the sparks fly. Tilted at any angle you want and paired with the new Surface Dial—a $99 peripheral that makes on-screen options come alive—Surface Studio transforms into something like a space-age drafting table. Words don’t do it justice. Just go watch it in action. For artists, architects and the like, this is a game changing device and it costs game changing money. It starts at $2,999, but if you want the full sizzle, it will cost you a jaw-dropping $4,199. You could easily find something for half that price with innards just as good or better. But, you’d never match the one-of-a-kind experience.
So, there you have it. Now it’s time to decide just how much gift-giving glory you want to pursue. There are so many options. Be wise and always remember that no matter what the gift, the meaning of the gift is about the relationship.
Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.