App Store trends suggest top Christmas gifts: VR, drones, cameras, Amazon Echo

Posted:
in iPhone
Apps for iPhone-connected accessories are among the most popular downloads and search terms following Christmas, offering some insight into the types of toys that proved to be popular gifts this holiday.




As of Monday morning, apps for low-cost drones SkyThunder RC and CX-10 Wi-Fi were among the top trending searches on the iOS App Store in multiple regions across the U.S. Priced under $50 and featuring wireless connectivity with built-in cameras, these affordable toys make logical Christmas gifts.

Another popular result was the Quik GoPro video editing app, suggesting that the beleaguered sports camera maker at least moved some product for the 2016 holiday season.

Another big winner this year, based on App Store trends, was virtual reality. As of Monday morning, 12 of the top 30 free downloadable apps were virtual reality experiences compatible with Google Cardboard.

Perhaps reflecting the unpolished experience of Google Cardboard on an iPhone, there were no paid virtual reality games among the top 30. However, the keywords "VR apps" and "VR games" were among the top trending searches the day after Christmas.




Google Cardboard headsets can be purchased for under $20, making it an easy way to cheaply sample VR -- and also a great gift.

Another hit for the holidays appears to be the Furbo Dog Camera, a treat-tossing Wi-Fi camera with two-way audio. The new connected way to check on your pets appeared among the top trending App Store searches Monday morning.




Another top hit was Amazon Alexa, suggesting the Echo voice-controlled personal assistant was a hot present this Christmas. The Alexa app also ranked No. 5 on the free charts on Monday.

Fitbit, too, appears to have been a popular choice -- its official app topped the free downloadable charts, beating out Nintendo's blockbuster smash game Super Mario Run. Fitbit was also among the top trending searches on Dec. 26.




Finally, Apple itself likely saw a strong performance this season, if App Store trends are any indication. The freemium game Hill Climb Racing 2 and library e-book app Overdrive saw post-Christmas boosts. Games and reading apps are likely to be among the first downloads users seek on a new iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

For those with new iOS devices, AppleInsider has rounded up some of the best indie games, productivity apps, content sources, and even board game conversions available on the App Store.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    calicali Posts: 2,909member
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    edited December 2016 tokyojimuelijahganantksundaramsingularityjony0
  • Reply 2 of 16
    fallenjtfallenjt Posts: 3,236member
    cali said:
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    Echo Dot pretty much had great sale this holiday. I got 2 of them cuz the price was cheap at $39; and with a couple Wemo switches at $20/pc, I could turn off my Christmas lights and other lights in my house from any location...with Alexa. Streaming music from Echo was also a great fun; it connects/disconnects BT speakers with voice. I believe Apple is quite late in this game to create something like Echo because of the price prohibition. I don't believe Apple can make a Puck size Siri media device at $50.
    elijahganantksundaram
  • Reply 3 of 16
    VR super popular over Christmas only to disappear in January once people realize it's nowhere near the hype surrounding it. 
    macplusplusration al
  • Reply 4 of 16
    cali said:
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    I my opinion, it only reflects how well Amazon managed to push the Echo product during the gift giving cycle. I have 3 personal anecdotes for you:

    1. My boss' husband bought an Echo Dot without really knowing what it was. She said buys stuff from Amazon all the time and since it was everywhere on their website and even on their shipping tape, she decided to give it as a gift, thinking it would be a "good idea."

    2. I almost got one for my sister and her husband. For the same reason: it feels like a safe, cool gadget. It's not because I thought Siri needs to be "fixed". (P.S.: I gave her the Roku 4 instead)

    3. My sister got the Echo Dot and Tap from her mother in law, but this is also a woman who wears an Apple Watch and loves her iPhone. (She also has an Echo). She didn't give the Echo as a statement of "how Siri needs an overhaul." It's a heavily marketed, low-risk gift idea (cheap+easily returnable).
    anantksundarambrucemc
  • Reply 5 of 16
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 523member
    fallenjt said:
    cali said:
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    I don't believe Apple can make a Puck size Siri media device at $50.
    Hopefully Apple is smart enough to not do a Siri device with this current Management (Cook, Ive, Cue).     A Echo/Google Home device by Apple with SIRI would be to much of an embarrassment.    Cook has too much of a history of cheaping out on components and manufacturing problems (Intel Modem, MBP batteries, long delayed Airpods). Lame design from Ive won't be able to be covered up by making a new product thinner with the really pathetic SIRI front and center.
    Phill Schiller won't get any holidays off if he had to spin a Apple Hub.

    Alexa is so easy to interact with.   If Google can add the same flexible to its assistant then Google Home can become an even bigger hit.
    macplusplusbrucemcsuddenly newton
  • Reply 6 of 16
    k2kw said:

    Alexa is so easy to interact with.   If Google can add the same flexible to its assistant then Google Home can become an even bigger hit.
    Remember that you are the product with the Amazon and Google devices. They are only in it to get the data on your lifestyle, conversations and well... all that stuff about your family and friends. Plus what you watch one TV, talk about, swear about, what Footbal team you follow, what car you drive, who your insureres are and just about your whole life right down to the smallest detail.
    These devices are IMHO far more intrusive into your life than Facebook etc could ever be.
    If you want them and you know the impact that these things could have then go ahead and give them your life lock stock and barrel.
    I won't and that's for sure.

    I do all my browsing on Amazon from a Linux VM now. The VM gets restored to the original state after every use. This is just to keep the 'we thought you might like...' tracking down to a minimum. It is also done via a VPN tthat has an endpoint in another country.
    I am probably paranoid but I did work for an internet Ad agency for a couple of years so I know what goes on with your data. Thankfully, I got out.
     
    StrangeDaysration aljony0
  • Reply 7 of 16
    Siri is just not smart. I carry both Android and iPhone. The Google AI sends me better news feeds and is more aware of my location. I understand that to Google I am the product. But the difference is quite drastic to the overall experience. Siri is also much slower to respond because it needs a live connection to Apple. A Siri inspired hub like Alexa or Google Home would not be successful. That being said, iOS is still the far superior OS for gaming, picture taking, and overall fluidity. But the AI is sorely lacking.
    macplusplusanantksundaramsingularity
  • Reply 8 of 16
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 523member
    k2kw said:

    Alexa is so easy to interact with.   If Google can add the same flexible to its assistant then Google Home can become an even bigger hit.
    Remember that you are the product with the Amazon and Google devices. They are only in it to get the data on your lifestyle, conversations and well... all that stuff about your family and friends. Plus what you watch one TV, talk about, swear about, what Footbal team you follow, what car you drive, who your insureres are and just about your whole life right down to the smallest detail.
    These devices are IMHO far more intrusive into your life than Facebook etc could ever be.
    If you want them and you know the impact that these things could have then go ahead and give them your life lock stock and barrel.
    I won't and that's for sure.

    I do all my browsing on Amazon from a Linux VM now. The VM gets restored to the original state after every use. This is just to keep the 'we thought you might like...' tracking down to a minimum. It is also done via a VPN tthat has an endpoint in another country.
    I am probably paranoid but I did work for an internet Ad agency for a couple of years so I know what goes on with your data. Thankfully, I got out.
     
    I'm ok with that.  I'm ok with a few companies being essentially monopolies in their own areas.  Google for mail and search,  Amazon for online commerce, and Facebook for social networking, etc.

    I've bought Apple products because of the past quality of their hardware and the basic functionality of iOS.   When that falls (which I have worried about)I'll leave Apple.   But I don't use Apple because of their services like iMaps.   All in all very disappointed with the lack of Siri progress since it introduction.   It's a little better, but not hardly enough.  Alexa understands me better from the next room that Siri does holding my phone.  and I can tell Alexa to turn my lights on and off, etc in multiple ways.   while with Siri 90% of the time I expect to get a web search.  Alexa has been good enough that I would consider buying an Alexa phone.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    fallenjt said:
    cali said:
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    Echo Dot pretty much had great sale this holiday. I got 2 of them cuz the price was cheap at $39; and with a couple Wemo switches at $20/pc, I could turn off my Christmas lights and other lights in my house from any location...with Alexa. Streaming music from Echo was also a great fun; it connects/disconnects BT speakers with voice. I believe Apple is quite late in this game to create something like Echo because of the price prohibition. I don't believe Apple can make a Puck size Siri media device at $50.
    Couldn't one use homekit switches to do the same thing with the lights? And stream music? I guess i still haven't heard what Echo does that's unique other than enable voice-driven ordering on amazon.com, which honestly doesn't excite me much. Not to mention the always-on eavesdropping in order to send targeted ads and coupons -- not interested. Somethings are worth more than money. 
    edited December 2016 ration al
  • Reply 10 of 16

    k2kw said:
    fallenjt said:
    cali said:
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    I don't believe Apple can make a Puck size Siri media device at $50.
    Hopefully Apple is smart enough to not do a Siri device with this current Management (Cook, Ive, Cue).     A Echo/Google Home device by Apple with SIRI would be to much of an embarrassment.    Cook has too much of a history of cheaping out on components and manufacturing problems (Intel Modem, MBP batteries, long delayed Airpods). Lame design from Ive won't be able to be covered up by making a new product thinner with the really pathetic SIRI front and center.
    Phill Schiller won't get any holidays off if he had to spin a Apple Hub.
    That's a lot of subjective opinion passed off as fact. I have a hard time reconciling that with the best iterations of Apple hardware ever -- iphone, ipad, macbook pro, retina imac, watch, airpods....I love my apple gear. 

    The fact that you cite MBP batteries as an issue despite it only being one report from CR while all the other reviews gave it big thumbs up seems suspect to me. Almost like you're cherry picking to present a negative narrative. 
    ration aljony0
  • Reply 11 of 16
    fallenjt said:
    cali said:
    I wonder how Apple Watch did...

    the fact Alexa is even on the charts or being gifted shows Siri needs an overhaul.
    Echo Dot pretty much had great sale this holiday.
    Isn't the Dot limited to one product that you can quick-order? Or has that changed?
  • Reply 12 of 16
    I just don't get the appeal of something like Alexa. I have no desire to be speaking commands to some device in my house. I can use Siri on my iPhone or Watch which is always with me (no need to have multiple devices in all the rooms in my house just so I can have the same "experience" everywhere).

    I'd LOVE to hear someone's use case for Alexa that makes it such a wonderful device. Because I just don't see it adding anything to my life that my existing devices can already do. Especially not enough for me to buy a bunch of them to scatter all over my house.
    Metriacanthosaurusration al
  • Reply 13 of 16
    I just don't get the appeal of something like Alexa. I have no desire to be speaking commands to some device in my house. I can use Siri on my iPhone or Watch which is always with me (no need to have multiple devices in all the rooms in my house just so I can have the same "experience" everywhere).

    I'd LOVE to hear someone's use case for Alexa that makes it such a wonderful device. Because I just don't see it adding anything to my life that my existing devices can already do. Especially not enough for me to buy a bunch of them to scatter all over my house.
    Even the commercials are utterly ridiculous and do not demonstrate a single real world use case. I will always prefer speaking Siri commands softly into my Apple Watch, or AirPods, over shouting across the room at Alexa (assuming Alexa is even in the room).
    ration al
  • Reply 14 of 16
    Don't know if I would get Google Cardboard for anything more than a stocking stuffer. Google is shifting all future VR efforts to Google Daydream, which is designed to compete more directly with the likes of the Samsung Gear VR and the HTC Vive. Netflix VR supports Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream, but it does not support Cardboard without a hack to run it through your (Windows) PC. If you absolutely must get something for less than $20 to play around with before you opt for the $80 Daydream or the even more expensive HTC, Samsung and other options out there, I have no idea why the writer chose that device. The best Google Cardboard device - for the money - by far is the first generation Mattel Viewmaster. As the 2nd generation device is now out - and obsolete already thanks to Daydream - the first generation 2015 model can be had for $17. https://www.amazon.com/View-Master-Virtual-Reality-Starter-Pack/dp/B011EG5HJ2 There are other Google Cardboard compliant devices that cost from $15-$20 available from companies that are not as well known as Mattel ... and are also made out of more durable materials than cardboard. If a paper or cardboard viewer is all you want, there are so many promotions out there where you can get one for free that I have no idea why anyone would pay for one. Or you can simply obtain the instructions from Google and build your own for less than $5 in materials and less than 60 minutes of your time. I do agree that the app selection stinks. There are more - and better - apps on Google Daydream, and that is not going to change. Unfortunately, Daydream is not available on iOS unless you hack it.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    k2kw said:

    Alexa is so easy to interact with.   If Google can add the same flexible to its assistant then Google Home can become an even bigger hit.
    Remember that you are the product with the Amazon and Google devices. They are only in it to get the data on your lifestyle, conversations and well... all that stuff about your family and friends. Plus what you watch one TV, talk about, swear about, what Footbal team you follow, what car you drive, who your insureres are and just about your whole life right down to the smallest detail.
    These devices are IMHO far more intrusive into your life than Facebook etc could ever be.
    If you want them and you know the impact that these things could have then go ahead and give them your life lock stock and barrel.
    I won't and that's for sure.

    I do all my browsing on Amazon from a Linux VM now. The VM gets restored to the original state after every use. This is just to keep the 'we thought you might like...' tracking down to a minimum. It is also done via a VPN tthat has an endpoint in another country.
    I am probably paranoid but I did work for an internet Ad agency for a couple of years so I know what goes on with your data. Thankfully, I got out.
     
    While this is true of Google full stop - Amazon less so - it is also true of a great deal of the apps on your iPhone. Including but not liimited to the Google and Amazon ones. Essentially, you would have to remove all of the search, shopping, social networking, web browsing and communications apps - as well as many of the games - from your iPhone and iPad. Of course, if you do that, it is no longer a smartphone is it? Instead, it will be a Nokia or Motorola mobile circa 2005 with a much better camera and iPod functionality. (Much smaller and thinner of course.)
  • Reply 16 of 16
    VR, drones, cameras and Amazon Echo. Cameras being the only thing Apple actually makes (as part of the iPhone). This shows how off base Apple's business plans have been for the past several years. Take the Echo. We just got ours. The first thing that jumps out at me is that Apple could never have made this product. It's #1 feature is the ability for third party developers to add features to it. That is something Apple would never do for Siri. I mean on the back end not some app control feature. Apple's walled garden now looks more like a tomb. It is keeping out all the really good ideas. Did you know that the Echo works with the Nest thermostat and smoke detectors right out of the box? Apple can't do that because Nest was created before HomeKit and Apple won't let anyone that does not pay for MFI to access their products via WiFi. Apple is only hurting themselves at this point.
Sign In or Register to comment.