Apple saw record sales this holiday season, 12 times the amount of activations on Christmas Day

Apple saw record-setting sales this holiday season, according to Localytics. So well, that 12.5 times more iOS devices were activated over Christmas than past weekends. For comparison sake: there were 21 times more iPods compared to 14 times more iPhones. The iPods were most likely gifted to younger children who do not yet have a cell phone. At any rate… there were many people enjoying iOS devices on Christmas Day.

Apple is said to have another record setting quarter after a very successful fiscal Q4 for the company. The last earnings report said Apple claimed $28.27 billion in revenue and saw record-setting Mac and iPhone sales. The holiday quarter is expected to be even better.

Apple is set to have its best year ever in its App Store with approximately 10 billion downloads in 2011, along with a record-setting holiday season. That estimate doubles collective downloads from the three years prior, according to research firm Flurry. The report noted the Android Market hit 10 billion cumulative downloads in December, up from 3 billion total downloads in May 2011.

Flurry also backs up Localytics claim and said Christmas Day 2011s activations crushed Christmas Day 2010s by almost 2.5 times. This year saw 6.8 million iOS and Android device activations, and last year saw 2.8 million device activations. That’s a 140 percent growth. We are looking forward to hearing what Apple has to say in late January.

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Last minute gift reviews for Apple lovers

As we close out the year and approach Christmas, here is a quick review of some stellar items we have reviewed over the past few months.

Audyssey Lower East Side Speakers.  Truth be told, we were interested in the Airplay-enabled Lower East Side Audio Dock Air that seems to have been struck by production delays.  In the meantime, we are in love with the standalone LES powered speakers (right).  Very simple I/Os and almost perfect desktop-level sound makes these incredibly good for the small room or workspace.  Sure, they will fill up a medium sized room, but you will find much larger/expensive setups for that.  $199 Amazon. Bonus: If you want Airplay functionality, throw in a $95 Apple TV and an Optical cable.

Doxie Go Wireless scanner: The magic is putting an Eye-Fi card in the SD card slot that allows automatic Evernote/flickr Cloud synchronizing.  I use this at the front of my house without a computer where mail comes in.  Important stuff is run through the scanner and sent to the Cloud before it hits recycling.  Standalone Cloud scanners are the future.  It also does traditional Desktop scanning via USB. ($150-200 at Amazon.)

Atari Arcade. This little plastic iPad “dock” (does not work with iPhone 4) adds a joystick to the 100 Atari applications for $15 app (at present no other games support this – but more are planned). The quality is good and the gaming is certainly nostalgic.  It was fun to teach my kid the games I played when I was his age (which is probably why this thing is such a hit).  It would have been much better with a pass thru charger and landscape options.  Still, fun. ($59.99 Amazon) iCade is a more expensive option.

iHelicopter.net sent us a review unit after we showed their latest preview of their missile-shooting iHelocopter. After a few weeks of playing with this iOS device controlled (through an earphone dongle) helicopter, I can say it works as expected.  I have only used it inside but it has survived a lot of hard “landings” as well as direct hits on the ceiling and walls. The reason this one is so notable is that it shoots missiles through a spring-loaded system.  Yes, this works and with the gyroscope going, it is easy to hit your target.  ($69 shipped free globally.)

Logitech Tablet speaker.  Initially we were down on this little gadget because, let us face it, it is not a “looker”.  However, after playing with our review unit for a number of weeks, it has come in handy on a number of occasions and it produces impressive sound considering its size and portability. It clips to your iPad, is charged via USB and plugs into the headphone jack. The rechargeable batteries last for 8 hours. (Amazon – as low as $22)

Western Digital TV Live. Sure Apple TV does 90% of what this thing does, but if you want stuff like Hulu Plus, Spotify, Facebook or compatibility with DLNA and non- iOS compatible videos, this little $90 1080P TV works great. It also has a full sized USB port for hooking directly into USB Sticks, wireless keyboards, and hard drives.  ($89.99 – Amazon.) Also, consider Roku devices that start at $45.

UK 'Austerity culture' hits Orange's iPad Christmas cheer

Price conscious UK consumers are already grappling with declining public services and public sector jobs and a huge climb in VAT — perhaps that’s why Orange sold just 1,000 iPads in the first week the products went on sale via the carrier in the UK.

As has been widely-reported, Orange is one of the first UK networks to offer the 3G/Wi-Fi iPad at a subsidized price in the UK to customers signing-up for a 24-month service contract. The subsidy means you can get an iPad for just £199, so long as consumers agree to a £25/month contract. Read more

'Apple will be number one for a long time', says Angry Birds

Apple’s iOS has won a big thumbs-up from the Angry Birds themselves, who say that when it comes to mobile devices, Apple’s going to excel against the rest.

“Apple will be the number one platform for a long time from a developer perspective, they have gotten so many things right,” said Peter Vesterbacka, Angry Birds development lead. Read more