The celebration of fatherhood is just around the corner, and although I remember my own dad's favorite "gift" was sharing a good meal together, I also recollect he was more than pleased years ago when I got him a digital satellite system for Father's Day. It's likely your dad, husband, or partner wouldn't mind something from the tech section, rather than the tie selection this year...
If your father was the strong, silent type like my dear ole dad (rest in peace, dad), picking a gift can be tough...here are some ideas that might surprise him:
Lytro: Is dad a 1st adopter type? Does he have an affinity for photography? The Lytro digital camera is possibly the most unique digital cameras out on the market, offering an impressive unconventional adjustable "touch it to focus it" focal point system. And if your dad is also social network savvy, he can now share pictures from the Lytro Light Field Camera as embedded links directly into his Twitter feed.
Toshiba Satellite U845W: Yawn, what a boring name. But what the Toshiba Satellite lacks in the name game it makes up for in the "whoa, that's one wide screen" category. Dad might be impressed you got him a laptop with a screen with the same aspect ratio as CinemaScope if he's a cinephile. The super wide screen is partnered with an "ultra book" slim form factor, Harman/Kardon speakers with SRS Premium sound, and Intel Ivy Bridge processor with 32GB flash memory cache for the entry $999 model. You can't get this one for him till July 15th, but I'm sure he'd be happy to wait till then if you got him a new laptop.
Hard Graft iMac Slipper/Heritage: I remember my father once telling me a gentleman can best distinguish himself from the crowd fashionably with the small, subtle details: a handkerchief, a fine timepiece, his selection of footwear...good hygiene. Applying the same idea to the home office can be a little more difficult, where function mostly trumps fashion. But if the dad in your life owns either the iMac or Apple Cinema Display, this Hard Graft wool and leather Slipper/Heritage accessory could be that distinguishing detail that sets his work setup apart from the crowd.
Symbol Tabletop HiFi: the pared down, compact form factor of this handcrafted 2.1 amp powered speaker system houses a pair of 4" high efficiency full range drivers with titanium cones and a down firing 5 1/4" subwoofer for a full bodied sound that belies its stature. Whether gifted as secondary speaker for the office/home office or as a primary audio solution, these tastefully designed speakers are beyond the usual big box electronics stores offerings. Order to match decor interior colors with a choice of cabinet finish and speaker front finish.
Callaway Upro MX+: If links is a passion in you man's life, he'll probably geek out happy when gifted this $250 GPS device specifically designed for golfing. Preloaded with 25,000 courses across the States, the Callaway Upro MX+ uses GPS to serve up actual aerial photos of each hole in flyover mode, while a digital score card keeps tally. Connected back at home, the device then uploads scores and analyzes stats and performance in similar fashion to running hardware+app solutions (think Nike+ for golfers).
Cool Leaf Keyboard: Designed by former Apple design director in the early 90's, Dr. Kazuo Kawazaki, this slick mirror finish full QWERTY keyboard silently whispers, "the future is now". Individually backlit capacitive keys beep quietly, with touch sensitivity adjustable for the user's typing style. $250.
Jim Whittle's The Tuck iPad Case: Minimal Mac turned me onto these handcrafted leather goods constructed with the philosophy of "more geometry, less material". The Tuck elegantly unfolds to reveal a wallet and secure place to tuck away your favorite tablet, while the front cover can be rolled into an angled stand. About $115.
1940's Factory Work Table: With an industrial finish, these reproduction of French factory assembler tables make for a sophisticated small space desk. All metal with leather-clad top, the desk can be adjusted in height with a hand crank (!). And best yet, the price has been slashed $600 recently, making splurging on one for the dad in your life a little more reasonable.
Evouni Leather Arc Cover for iPhone 4: for the distinguished gent who wants to carry and protect his iPhone 4S in style, these hand-selected top grade Italian calfskin leather cases fold back to hold, angle, and display your phone with an application of 3M adhesive. Amazon sells these for a notable discount compared to their list price (just 11 left!).
Philips Fidelio L1 Over-Ear Headphones: one of our recent Daily Tech Finds these moderately priced (at least in the realm of premium headphones) sport a timeless design with an audiophile engineered noise isolating design. If Dad enjoys listening to music while working (or better yet, while relaxing after hours), these handsome and understated headphones are the exact opposite of the fashion-over-function celebrity headphones popular today amongst the young whippersnappers.
An additional idea: if you happen to already subscribe to cable television or digital satellite, and if the gent in your life enjoys a specific sports or perhaps HBO or Showtime, secretly pre-pay and subscribe for a season pass or channel package like NFL Sunday Ticket or MLB Extra Innings. And if you're going for extra credit, pre-load compatible package or channel apps onto his iPhone, iPad, or Android device!