Words with Friends is an addictive word game based on Hasbro's Scrabble board game, but since you're not shelling out for the brand name, you can expect to pay about $12 less for this app. You can play against friends you know or random opponents via an Internet connection (3G or Wi-Fi), or play "hand-off" mode with a local friend. There's a free version as well, but $3 is well worth the price to get rid of the ads. The only bummer here is that iTunes currently has no way to gift single apps, so your only option is to buy an iTunes digital gift card at a minimum of $10.
The JVC Marshmallow earphones are a great value for the money, offering a much more comfortable fit than stock earbuds as well as noticeably better audio quality. Plus, they come in a variety of fun, shiny colors.
Price range:$31-$70 (for 2GB to 8GB)
Not to sound like a broken record, but the Clip+ is the perfect gym companion thanks to it's ultrasmall and light design and built-in belt clip. But this player isn't just for the fitness-minded, it's also great for anyone who likes spoken-word content, as the podcast and audiobook support is top notch. Plus, the sound quality is great for the price.
The X-Mini Max II Capsule Speaker is a super compact unit that features an innovative, travel-friendly design and surprisingly good sound quality. Plus, it can be used with just about any audio device. Music lovers and travel hounds alike will benefit from owning one.
Price range:$199 CAD
Unlike the S-Series released in the U.S. this year, this version is actually a worthwhile successor to the Editors' Choice award-winning model from 2008. I hear there are companies that will import products from Canada for U.S. purchase...if you can find one, this player would make quite the neat (and unique) gift. Godspeed.
The Sonos Digital Music System lets you stream all manner of digital audio throughout your home--from Internet radio to iTunes tracks to subscription music to files on your network drive. The ZonePlayer S5 offers all that with an integrated speaker on top of it, and if you have the system's free remote app for the iPhone or iPod Touch, this unit is all you need to complete the setup. It's one luxury gift that is well worth the money. Hint: a year subscription to Rhapsody would make an excellent companion gift.
For the analog aficionados
Now here's a gift my dad would love--if it were available. This brand-new MP3 player with buttons worthy of a vintage '70s or '80s receiver features three analog VU meters, capable of displaying volume, battery live, and FM radio frequency. Sadly, it's not on the market quite yet.