Poll cites iPod among 'worst' holiday gift choices

IT media company TechTarget has offered its holiday tech wish list poll. The poll purports to offer the "Five Most Wanted" tech gifts sought after by computer professionals this holiday season. Apparently those polled aren't the same folks that have been lining up at Apple Store openings every weekend for the past six weeks, because TechTarget also offered a "Top Five Worst" list of tech gifts to get this Christmas, and Apple's iPod is on that list.

The iPod has been a huge draw to Apple's retail stores since its introduction in late October. Some analysts and critics have dinged Apple for pricing the appliance at US$399, which they suggest is high for a digital music player. But the iPod also acts as a 5GB FireWire storage device and incorporates a smaller footprint and better interface than many comparable digital music players that are priced similarly but equipped with a much slower USB 1.1 interface.

Many other experts have lauded the iPod's combination of features and design. Various analysts have identified the iPod as a strong reason for consumers to visit Apple retail stores this holiday season. MacCentral's own informal poll of Apple Store customers on opening day definitely bears out this observation; many people who come to the stores are there to see and buy the new gadgets, iPod included.

It's no great surprise that the most popular gifts requested by those polled this year include high-ticket items like flat screen televisions, digital cameras, DVD-RW systems (presumably like those found in Apple's mid-range and high-end Power Mac G4 systems), digital video cameras and HDTV systems. We here at MacCentral would love it if some benefactor gave us a matching fleet of Ferrari 550 Maranellos for Christmas too, but we're not banking on such an act of beneficence happening any time soon.

Apple's iPod shares the "Top Five Worst" list with offerings like Sega's discontinued Dreamcast video game console -- which from this reporter's perspective is actually a pretty good value; some consumers can lay their hands on the console itself for as little as $49. A ton of top-quality Dreamcast games are available from various nationwide retailers for $10-$40. Oddly, Nintendo's new GameCube video game console, a hot holiday seller that was released shortly before Thanksgiving, is also on the Worst list. Infrared mice are also cited as no good for this gift-giving season. Research In Motion's popular BlackBerry wireless handheld communications device is also on the Top Five Worst List.

"Nearly 1,000 registered members of the TechTarget network of Web sites for IT professionals completed the holiday poll," said the company. No other info was available on how the poll was conducted or what the criteria were for certain products' inclusion on the poll.

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