Yahoo Finance tech editor Dan Howley joins Brian Sozzi to break down what this year's top tech gifts will be, including gaming consoles, Apple gear, and smartwatches.
BRIAN SOZZI: Welcome back to Yahoo Finance's Rocking Retail special here at Oculus in New York City. The energy, well, it's popping, and we're looking at a lot of shops. People are not exactly in them, buying things. But Black Friday, of course, is right around the corner, and that means everybody, mostly everybody, will be looking for awesome tech gifts. And here's our very own tech editor, Dan Howley, looking for the hottest tech items.
DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, yeah. So every holiday season comes around, everybody wants to get their hands on some kind of tech for the people in their lives or just for themselves. That's kind of what I like to do. So I do have a good list of some of the biggest items.
I think despite coming out two years ago, one of the biggest ones is still Sony's PlayStation 5. It's been a bear for people to get them. You had the COVID shutdowns, you had the chip shortages, you had a huge amount of demand, not enough product. It's still out there as one of the gifts that people really want. I was trying to get one the other day for my buddy. Not paying for it-- he's going to pay me back. But it's still sold out.
After that, we have the rival, Xbox. It might not be as popular as the PlayStation, but Microsoft has some amazing services. They have Game Pass, which lets you get up to 300 games that you can just play on your Xbox without having to buy them, part of a subscription. And you have cloud gaming. So if you're on the go and on your phone, you can play those PC games or Xbox games on your device.
There's a number that are outside of the gaming space, though. One of the more obscure ones that I want to hit real quick is the Valve Steam Deck. This is-- think of a Nintendo Switch.
BRIAN SOZZI: I don't even know what that is.
DAN HOWLEY: Yeah--
BRIAN SOZZI: I'm not supposed to say that, but I've never heard of it, Dan.
DAN HOWLEY: I love it. The Steam Deck? Oh, it's awesome.
BRIAN SOZZI: Don't know what it is.
DAN HOWLEY: It's basically a Nintendo Switch that lets you play PC games. It's $399, a little on the pricier side. It's a little chunky, too, but it's really, really cool if you're a big PC gamer. Outside of gaming, though, there's the murderer's row, right? We have the iPhone 14 Pro. I might have one in my hand right now.
BRIAN SOZZI: Very important, too. We're supposed to get Best Buy earnings this week, too, as well. That is supposed to be a key driver. I would really be listening to that Best Buy earnings call to see the adoption on that new iPhone. That is a great holiday season tale.
DAN HOWLEY: And it's the bigger one, the Pro, so that's the one that's going to drive ASP for Apple and also the one that's kind of hard to get now because of those COVID shutdowns. So if you are shopping for one for somebody for the holidays, make sure that you go sooner, rather than later, because you might not be able to get it later on in the holiday season. Apple also has the Apple Watch. There's the SE and the Series 8. Don't go for the Ultra. It's $800. And unless you're climbing Everest--
BRIAN SOZZI: That's nothing for a man of your stature.
DAN HOWLEY: I mean, no, that's-- look, a million or bust. That's what I like to spend. Give me a couple of rollies. So I would say for most people, go with the SE. That one's going to run you a little bit less than the Series 8. We're talking about around $249. The Series 8 is $399. I have the Series 8 on because I'm bougie. And that's what I like to go for.
There's also the AirPods Pro. They got the new AirPods, the second generation AirPods Pro. Great noise cancelation, great transparency mode. It kind of increases the ambient noise around you. So if you go for a run at night, and you're kind of creeped out, you can hear what's going on around you more. And then outside of Apple, we have Google, actually.
BRIAN SOZZI: Do we care about Google this year?
DAN HOWLEY: I do. We do. I'm throwing out the Pixel 7-- great smartphone, relatively inexpensive. Google throws all that Google AI magic in there. Improves the camera capabilities. You have photo editing. You have true tone. So it's a great, great smartphone. It's also just straight-up Android so there's not a whole bunch of other stuff thrown on top of it.
And then believe it or not, they also have a great smartwatch, too, called the Pixel Watch. That thing is beautiful. It's the first Android smartwatch that I looked at.
BRIAN SOZZI: Did they get the battery right yet? I have a Google OS operating watch for golf. I have a golf watch. The battery dies. It doesn't even make-- it doesn't even make it around, Dan.
DAN HOWLEY: It's going to go-- I'll give you about a day, maybe a day and a half--
BRIAN SOZZI: It's horrible.
DAN HOWLEY: --if you turn the always on display off. The Apple Watch will last you a little bit longer with the always on display on.
And then outside of those gifts, there's an Echo Dot, right? There's a new Echo Dot, Amazon, Alexa. It's got the clock built in. It's not bad.
BRIAN SOZZI: Outside of all these items and just because you're on staff, you're still getting this question, your biggest protection from the tech space this holiday season.
DAN HOWLEY: This holiday season, it's hard. I think where we were talking about the iPhone, we were talking about how it's going to be difficult for people to get their hands on it. Apple really needs the iPhone to do well this holiday season. The holiday season is when so many people go out and buy their devices. I think it might be a little bit of a disappointment, just because we're talking about these lockdowns.
They lasted longer in that factory that really produces the Pro and the Pro Max. That's where they get the bulk of their iPhone money. That's also the one that people want the most. It has that new dynamic island. It has the better camera. It has the better display. So I think it might be a little disappointing there.
I also want to throw out, gaming might do a little bit better than we're expecting. But it could still-- it's not going to push the year over year to new limits or anything.
BRIAN SOZZI: We've seen a pullback in mobile gaming.
DAN HOWLEY: We have. That's all advertising. And that's part of the reason why gaming suffered so far this year. They're not getting the mobile ads. And you look at an Activision Blizzard. Their mobile side all about ads. I mean, anybody that's anybody that's in the gaming space and in the advertising space is dealing with that kind of pullback. But if you can still get a PlayStation 5, I'm rooting for you.
BRIAN SOZZI: Well, I'll let you do your thing. Across the way is that big, bright Apple Store, seeing some shoppers in there. Dan Howley, tech editor for Yahoo Finance, always good to see you, my man. Appreciate it.
DAN HOWLEY: You, too.