The ultimate iPod Christmas gift guide

Sennheiser cx300
Sennheiser's CX300 earphones are comfortable, good at blocking out background noise, and produce a nice sound

Christmas is coming and you need some gift ideas. And you have an iPod (and so do your friends). So what better thing to get them than something to go with their slice of Apple goodness? Courtesy of our friends at MacFormat, here's the ultimate guide to iPod-related gifts.

As ever with such guides, there's a splash of the expensive, but we've added in a load of stocking fillers so you won't necessarily have to break the bank...

iSkin Cerulean TX + RX
The Cerulean TX + RX consists of a little Bluetooth transmitter (the TX bit) that plugs into the dock connector on the base of your iPod. This transmits your iPod's music to the RX receiver, which can be connected to the audio input on a set of speakers, turning your iPod into a wireless music system that you can carry around the house with you. It can also be used to stream music from your Mac to your speakers, too. Read our full review.

Altec Lansing inMotion iM600
We never travel anywhere without packing our trusty old inMotion 3 speakers, and the latest version is just as attractive. The iM600 folds flat for easy packing, but produces excellent sound quality and more volume than you might expect from such a slim set of speakers. There's an FM radio and alarm clock built in, along with a rechargeable battery and remote.

Nike + iPod Sport Kit
The Nike + iPod Sport Kit is a must-have gift for anyone who's serious about their running. It consists of a tiny little sensor that you slip into a special compartment in the sole of Nike's Air Zoom trainers, along with a receiver that connects to the dock on the base of the iPod. The sensor measures your pace and distance while you're running, and transmits the data to your iPod so that you can monitor your progress during training sessions.

Gear4 LeatherJacket
We see dozens of iPod cases every month, but we can't help getting a bit touchy-feely with Gear4's plush LeatherJacket. Available for all iPod models, as well as the iPhone, the LeatherJacket folds open to reveal your iPod cradled in a silky smooth leather interior that includes a special plastic cover to protect the screen. It's also very reasonably priced, given the quality of the materials used to construct the case.

Elgato Turbo.264
The Turbo.264 from Elgato is really handy if you watch a lot of video on your iPod or iPhone. Video files that you download onto your iPod first need to be converted into the compressed H.264 video format. This can take a long time – even with a powerful Mac – so the Turbo.264 includes a special video processor that dramatically speeds up the conversion process and leaves your Mac's main processor free so that you can carry on doing other things at the same time. Read our full review.

Harman Kardon Go+Play
Sometimes you need a bigger sound than you'll get from portable speakers, and Harman Kardon's Go+Play speakers produce the mightiest sound we've ever heard from a set of iPod speakers. This stylish silver and black unit packs two 'tweeters' and two 'woofers' to produce a roof-rattling 120W of sound. Even more importantly, the sound quality is great – clear and sharp with plenty of bass for party time.

Gear4 CarDock FM Follow Me
It's a little pricey but Gear4's CarDock is one of the best in-car FM transmitters we've seen so far. As you travel from one area to another, the CarDock can automatically scan for the five clearest radio frequencies in that area and store them as presets so you can always play your iPod music through the car radio. If your radio uses RDS (radio data system) it can also display track information on the screen.


Cliff Joseph is a former Editor of MacUser magazine, and a freelance technology writer with 30 year’s experience in the industry (and old enough to remember when Apple was close to going bust…).

His first job involved using Macs for magazine sub-editing and typesetting, which led to the realisation that these computer-thingies might actually turn out to be useful after all. After a few years specialising in the Mac side of the market, he went freelance and embraced the wide world of digital technology, including Windows PCs, digital audio and hi-fi, and networking. Somewhere along the line he also developed a bit of a gaming habit and has stubbornly waved the flag for Mac gaming for far too many years.