December 4, 2023

Jack Wallen lays out a back-to-school gift guide that would make any student thrilled to start their first day back at classes.

Latin students in the classroom. female student with twisted hair wearing mask and writing in notebook with a pen. Covid-19. Pandemic.
Image: Brastock Images/Adobe Stock

It’s that time of year again. The summer is ending, and both teachers and students are ready to get back into the swing of things, or at least they will be with the help of a few impressive gifts from Apple’s line of products. And who doesn’t want to gift their student something that would not only perk up their interest in education but also help keep them in contact and productive throughout their day?

This back-to-school Apple gift guide features must-haves for students looking to up their educational and productivity games. If you want more great Amazon deals, read about the Prime Student member perks.

SEE: Keyboard troubleshooting guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Apple MacBook Pro

Image: Amazon

There’s no way the Apple MacBook Pro escapes your back-to-school gift guide. With the new M2 devices now available, the M1 configurations are enjoying discounts. And with the M2 iterations having only just been released, you can expect M1 prices to fall quickly.

Currently, the 13″/ 8GB RAM/256GB SSD version of the M2 sells for $1,299.00 on Amazon. If you’re concerned about purchasing the unproven M2, know that Apple has a stellar record rolling out new technology. You cannot go wrong with an Apple laptop. If you’ve been looking to buy into the Apple ecosystem or upgrade from your student’s older MacBook, now might be the time.

iPad Air

Image: Amazon

The new iPad Air is powered by the M1 chip, so it’s more powerful and enjoys more battery life than previous incarnations. This device includes a 12MP ultra-wide front camera, 5G,, a 10.9″ Liquid Retina display that supports True Tone, P3 wide color and adds an anti-reflective coating for better viewing in nearly any light, works with Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard, and comes in five different colors. The base models ship with 64GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM. If a MacBook Pro or Air is out of your budget and your student needs an Apple device for productivity, the iPad Air is a great way to go. Connect a keyboard and a mouse and there’s next to nothing they cannot do. Currently, the latest iteration of the iPad Air sells for $559.00 (on Amazon) for the base model. To bump it up to 256 GB of internal storage, the cost goes up to $679.00.

Magic Keyboard

Image: Amazon

If you want your student to use their new iPad Air as a pseudo-laptop, consider the Magic Keyboard, which includes both a keyboard and touchpad. This keyboard has a unique design that allows the iPad Air to attach magnetically and allows for a smooth adjustment of viewing angles. With backlit keys and a Multi-Touch trackpad, the iPad becomes a much more productive device. The keyboard also serves as a protective case, so the iPad can be carried in a backpack without concern of screen damage. The Magic Keyboard sells for $299.00 on and comes in black or white.


Image: Amazon

Walk around in public and count how many AirPods you see. It never ceases to amaze me how many people I spy sporting those little white buds in their ears. If you want to give your returning student a gift they’ll use day in and day out, consider the Apple AirPods.

With Active Noise Cancellation, your student can not only concentrate more on their music but also block out distractions when they’re supposed to be studying. For the parents, those earbuds can also help ensure your happy student never misses a call from you (in theory) because they can easily answer calls with the built-in force sensor technology.

Of course, that same technology allows them to easily end calls, which means they could just as quickly hang up on you. And with up to six hours of listening time, they’ll get plenty of music and video fed into their ears until they have to recharge. If you want to get your returning student a pair of headphones, and they are already deep in the Apple ecosystem, these $179.00 earbuds are the way to go.

Apple Watch

Image: Amazon

The Apple Watch is one of the most elegant smartwatches on the planet. But more than elegant, it’s a great way to help keep your student on time, aware and always connected. With alarms and iPhone sync, they’ll never miss a class, an appointment or a pick-up time. And with this watch on their wrist, they won’t miss your incoming calls, even if their phone is inside their backpack.

On top of that, the Apple Watch Series 7 even adds a Blood Oxygen app, an ECG app and high/low/irregular heart rate notifications, so you can keep tabs on your student’s well-being. That’s an assurance every parent could use.

If you’re not hip on purchasing the latest iteration Apple Watch for your student, which runs for $399.00, you can go for the Apple Watch SE which doesn’t include the health functions for $279.00 or the Apple Watch Series 3, which sells for only $199.00.

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