Now that November is here, the Christmas season has begun. A radio station in every city has begun playing a 24-hour stream of Christmas music, the stores have stocked all their Christmas decorations in place of their Halloween costumes, and the upcoming Thanksgiving is really only an excuse for some Black Friday shopping.
So where will people be getting trampled this year? I can tell you it probably won’t be at the toy stores. This Christmas, it’s all about the latest technology. From the newest phones to the newest gaming systems, here are the things topping everyone’s Christmas list.
1. iPhone 4
Apple’s (AAPL) iPhones have been topping Christmas lists since they first came out, and this holiday season it’s no different. The new iPhone finally brings us what we were promised by every bad futuristic movie from the 80s—with FaceTime, Apple introduces the video calling to the masses. Apple is also heralding the phone’s new retina display, its new ability to multitask, and HD video recording. But let’s be honest, all anyone really cares about is being able to live out their little sci-fi fantasy. I know Skype has been around for years, but this is just so much cooler. Of course, the only way to make a video call is to call someone else with an iPhone 4. If high school taught me anything, it’s that making something exclusive only makes people want it more. Nobody wants to be left out. So this Christmas, everybody and their friend will be asking Santa for a shiny new iPhone.
If you’re not under the age of 25, you may not have heard of Kinect, but Microsoft (MSFT) is expecting to sell 5 million units of the product just released in stores today by the end of the fourth quarter. The new Kinect introduces controller-free gaming for Xbox 360. It has a motion sensor, skeletal tracking, and facial and voice recognition, so your movement and speech control the game—this takes Nintendo’s Wii to a whole new level. As someone who has never liked video games, even I think this is cool.
Yes, it’s been out since spring, but this is the first big gift-giving holiday it’s been available. We all know what the iPad is by now, we’ve seen it around, but not everyone has the luxury of splurging on a toy. So after waiting patiently all year, a lot of good little girls and boys will be putting the iPad on their Christmas lists.
4. Nikon D7000
If you live in the Midwest as so many of us do, this time of year is filled with country drives to see the changing leaves, trips to the pumpkin patch with the kids, and Saturdays at the cider mill getting fresh apple cider and donuts. This year I noticed something new—just about every parent with children under 10 had a big old camera hanging from their necks. I’m talking about serious cameras; not those little pocket-sized things, but real honest-to-goodness cameras with telephoto lenses and manual zoom. These people weren’t just looking to take a picture of the kiddies posing with their pumpkins; they were trying to take some National Geographic type stuff. Nikon’s D7000 is for these people. It is a whole new type of camera, aimed at amateur photographers who are serious about their art. It’s essentially a fancypants camera for those of us who don’t really know anything about cameras. My guess is that it will sell like hotcakes.
5. Kindle (2010)
OK, so it might not be an iPad, but it’s much more affordable, and for people who really just want to be able to read a book, Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle is still their go-to e-reader. Plus, the Kindle is a lot more user friendly. I know we young people can sit down in front of any new gadget and have it mastered in a few hours, but our parents are still trying to figure out how to download music from iTunes. The new Kindle is slimmer and lighter, has twice the storage capacity, boasts a 4-week battery life, and comes with free 3G coverage. I’m predicting it will be a big hit with the 50-and-over crowd.