The 7 Best iPhone Gifts for Musicians

The iPhone isn't just about listening to music, it can also be a powerful tool for creating it. If you've got any musicians, or aspiring musicians, on your holiday shopping list, they probably already have an Apple device. So why not combine their love of music and technology by giving them one of these gifts for guitarists, pianists, and singers?

Important note: Many of these devices connect to the iPhone's Dock Connector port. Most newer models all use a new interface, the Lightning port. If the musician you're buying for has one of these devices, check to see if they'll need a Lightning-to-Dock Connector adapter to make these accessories compatible with their devices.

(Looking for gifts for music lovers rather than music fans? Try this list.)

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AmpliTube iRig 2

iRig 2
iRig 2. image credit: IK Multimedia

The AmpliTube iRig 2 combines a small accessory and an app to give guitarists and bass players a portable recording studio. Plug the guitar or bass into the iRig 2 and then plug the other end into the microphone jack on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad and you unlock a world of virtual amps, effects, and more. You can connect the device to headphones, amps, and stereos for output and record the music. The iRig 2 improves on the original with new features like adjustable input gain. Expect to spend around US$40.

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Apogee Jam Guitar Input

Apogee Jam
Apogee JAM. image copyright Apogee

Guitarists and bassist who want to record music directly into their iPhones or iPads will be interested in the various guitar input accessories available this holiday season. Guitar inputs are small devices that plug into the port at the bottom of an iPad or iPhone, or the USB port of a Mac. Connect the other end to a guitar or bass and you're ready to rock. One major benefit of this is that you can bring your recordings into GarageBand for post-recording mixing and effects. Expect to spend around $100 for a device like Apogee's JAM. Other options include Apogee's JAM 96k or Line 6's Sonic Port. 

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ION Piano Apprentice

ION Piano Apprentice
ION Piano Apprentice. image copyright ION Audio

The pianist in your life looking for practice, or the budding prodigy who wants to learn how to play the piano, will appreciate the ION Piano Apprentice. This mini-keyboard comes with a teaching app that uses the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch to impart piano lessons. Even cooler, the keys on the keyboard light up in sync with the lesson, showing you where to play and making learning easier. It offers built-in speakers and optional batteries for portable use and can work with any MIDI-compliant piano app. The Piano Apprentice costs $30-60.

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Shure MOTIV MV88 Microphone

Shure Motiv MV88
Shure Motiv MV88. image credit: Shure

Every musician needs a microphone. Whether to record vocals, string instruments, drums, or even podcasts, a microphone is key. The musician on your gift list will be thrilled to get a high-quality mic this year.

Shure's MOTIV MV88 mic plugs directly into the Lightning port on modern iOS devices to let users record high-quality vocals, music, or other kinds of audio (it can be a great accessory for filmmakers, too). And at just 1.43 ounces, it adds barely any weight to a kit bag or in the hand. Expect to spend around $150 for the MOTIV MV88.

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Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface

Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface
Apogee Duet USB Audio Interface. image copyright Apogee Electronics Corp.

For serious musicians whose recording environments include technology like iOS devices and MIDI units, the $650 Apogee Duet can sit at the heart of their work. The Duet includes mic preamps, a USB MIDI connection, support for simultaneous MIDI keyboard and DJ controllers on iPad and when connected to a power source, the ability to charge an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. It’s not an inexpensive gift, but for the professional musician, it could be a great gift.

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iRig MIDI 2 Universal MIDI Interface

iRig MIDI 2
iRig MIDI 2. image credit: IK Multimedia

If the musician in your life prefers a keyboard, chances are they may have MIDI-compatible instruments—and they may want to connect them to their iPhone or iPad. If that's the case, check out the iRig MIDI 2, which lets music played on MIDI instruments be recorded in compatible apps. What's especially nice about is that the MIDI 2 doesn't require adapters to connect to different types of ports. Instead, it has a single port that can accept USB, Lightning, Dock Connector cables, and OTG to Mini-DIN cables (USB and Lightning are included). Expect to spend about $80.

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Griffin DJ Cable

Griffin DJ Cable
Griffin DJ Cable. image copyright Griffin Technology

If the musician in your life is more EDM than R&B, they may enjoy this DJ Cable from Griffin. The cable, which plugs into the headphone jack on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, allows DJs to hear both the music pumping through the speakers and the songs they're preparing to mix in. This accessory is designed to work with algoriddim's djay app (Purchase at iTunes) and will set you back around $20.