How Steve Jobs Stole Christmas–Apple Products Top of Every Kid’s Wish List

A U.K. survey on Christmas lists shows just how sophisticated children are becoming.

Santa Steve Jobs


It’s official: there are elves at Cupertino. According to a survey in the U.K., almost a quarter of children have put an Apple product at the top of their Christmas list. The survey, by battery manufacturer Duracell, polled over 2,000 kids and found that top toy on the wishlist was an iPhone 4. (Ed’s note–call that a toy?) The lust for Cupertino swag, however, did not start with teenagers: backing up Anya Kamenetz’s story on Fast Company from six months ago, 17% of 5- to 8-year-olds would be using pester power to get their hands on something Apple-y.

As the kids’ ages increased, so did their desire for the company’s products. Half of 9- to 12-year-olds put something from Apple at the top of their list, and 66% of 13- to 16-year-olds. Top three must-haves were, after the iPhone 4, an iPod Touch and the iPad. In fact, just two of the top ten products weren’t gadgets: Zhu Zhu Pet Hamsters, and the Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear (shades of 1994 there).

Although there has been electronics gear aimed at kids for eons now–remember Speak & Spell and Simon?–these findings show that children are getting a feel for their parents’ gadgets. But then again, are you surprised, given the sheer breadth of apps available for kids, be they gaming apps or be they educational apps.

Wired‘s Daniel Donahoo wrote a post bemoaning the one-dimensional approach from developers aimed at pre-school kids, and this morning followed it up with some suggestions on how to improve their child-friendly offerings. We all know, however, that this is not why kids want to get their hands on an iPhone.

We also know, however, that firms are aware of just how much kids can covet their parents’ gadgets–which is why, perhaps, Barnes & Noble is launching Nook Kids, which will offer around 12,000 of its titles for younger readers this week. This would obviously go hand-in-hand with the rumored color screen-version of its e-reader, which will without doubt echo part of the iPad’s wantability. Whether, however, this will mean the Nook makes it onto next year’s list of must-have toys, remains to be seen.


About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.