The Must-Have for the holidays

The Must-Have 2019 Holiday Shopping Guide 

Story  Jim Witous

AirPods Pro

Apple announced and began shipping their new AirPods Pro in late October. They provide active noise cancellation, adaptive EQ, and a vent system for pressure equalization. They incorporate dual “beamforming” microphones, an inward-facing microphone, dual optical sensors, motion-detecting accelerometer, speech-detecting accelerometer, and a force sensor. The wireless charging case provides more than 24 hours of listening time and 18 hours of talk time (five minutes in the case provides one hour of listening time). Silicone ear tips, in three sizes, provide comfort for all ear dimensions. $249 retail.

Ember Mug

The Ember Temperature Controlled Smart Mug is an app-controlled, heated coffee (or tea) mug that keeps your beverage at the exact temperature you prefer (between 120-140 F). It has a one-hour battery life, or it can be kept on its charging coaster for continuous heating. The Ember App sets the temperature and can also be used to control presets and notifications. The mug is made of stainless steel with a ceramic coating to reduce scratching. $99 retail.

Throwboy Apple Pillows

The idea for Throwboy formed after Roberto Hoyos hand-sewed 7 pillows shaped like computer icons as a gift for his girlfriend. When photos of the pillows went viral online, causing Hoyos’ website to crash, a business opportunity was born. Decorate your home or office with these Apple-themed pillows, shaped like the original Mac, iMac, iPod, iPhone, Spinning Rainbow Wheel, and Finder Boy. $39 retail.


Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K lets you watch movies and shows in 4K HDR, with Dolby Atmos sound. It provides great content from Apple (see Apple TV+ below), Amazon Video, Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, YouTube, Live TV, and more. It includes a rechargeable Siri Remote that can control it all with just your voice. It connects to your TV screen with an HDMI cable and to the Internet via WiFi or Gigabit Ethernet. The A10X Fusion chip, with 64-bit architecture, provides smooth and quick access to all features. $179 retail.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ is the new ad-free video streaming service (think Netflix,

Amazon Video, Hulu) from Apple that launched on November 1, 2019, with the following series:

The Morning Show, which examines the complicated power dynamics between men and women in a bustling morning news show, with Steve Carell and Jennifer Aniston playing co-anchors.

See, featuring Alfre Woodard (12 Years a Slave) and Jason Momoa (Aquaman and GOT), is a thriller set in a post-apocalyptic world in which everyone has been blind for many centuries, to the point where many question if sight ever existed.

Dickinson, starring Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit and Pitch Perfect 2), is a revisionist comedy-biopic on the life of poet Emily Dickinson, offering a slanted look at this famous American poet, asking what kind of story could be told if we saw her as a hell-raiser rather than an isolated bedroom writer.

For All Mankind is a new alternative history series from Ron Moore (Battlestar Galactica) that reimagines the space race of the 1960s and 1970s from a position that sees the Soviet Union putting a man on the moon first.

Apple TV+ will also be rolling out exclusive children’s shows (Ghostwriter, Snoopy in Space, Helpsters), series (Little America, Servant, Amazing Stories, Truth Be Told, Oprah Winfrey), movies (A Christmas Carol with Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell, The Banker with Samuel L. Jackson, and Hala) and documentaries (The Elephant Queen) from acclaimed filmmakers, including JJ Abrams, Steven Spielberg and M. Night Shyamalan. Apple TV+ can be streamed on the following devices: Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, Macs, Roku players & TV, and Fire TV. $4.99/month (first year is free with purchase of Apple products).

Max Rhymes Board Books

Researchers say that, for children, 95 percent of the programming to the subconscious mind is done by the age of 7. So all the things your child has heard via conversations, TV or radio, is all getting programmed in the mind. It’s this programming that plays a huge role in the child’s future based on the “truths” and “beliefs” with which the child has been programmed. Max Rhymes children’s books, by Todd and Jackie Courtney, are scientifically written to condition children with a positive belief system at the subconscious level. As children grow, they will be able to draw from this knowledge they learned at an early age and create a path toward success.

As your child reads more about Max Rhymes, his sister, Molly, and their friends, you may start to notice your child is behaving more like Max. Children have what science calls “mirror neurons” that cause them to emulate both good and bad role models. As Max Rhymes teaches the core values we all want our children to grow up with, your child will begin emulating Max just as he/she would any other close friend. $8 per book or $40 for the boxed set.