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Holiday gift guide 2018: Here are the top 10 toys for use with Apple's iPhone or iPad

If your son or daughter is lucky enough to have an iPhone or iPad handy, there are a growing number of toys that take advantage of the iOS platform. AppleInsider rounds up the top 10 toys for kids to use with Apple mobile devices.

Top 10 toys holiday 2018

As with the rest of our guides, these aren't just random picks. In this case, they have been tested in play by the siblings and children of AppleInsider staffers. And, in many cases, by the staffers themselves.

Anki Overdrive

Anki Overdrive

Overdrive is an RC-style racing game with a difference. Races can include a mix of human and AI drivers, and the humans use an iPhone, iPad, or Android device for control. Gameplay modes include a mix of combat and pure racing options.

A Starter Kit is currently $99, and includes two Supercars plus enough track pieces for eight course designs. Up to four humans can compete though, and accordingly Anki sells separate Supercars and Supertrucks, as well as more track pieces and accessories for lengthening and complicating races.

Lego 31313 Mindstorms EV3

Lego Mindstorms EV3

The 31313 Mindstorms EV3 kit ($349.99) mixes Lego pieces with motors and sensors to allow programmable robots. The are 17 stock designs, such as a humanoid, a dinosaur, and even a printer.

Programming can be done through free apps for the iPad and Mac/Windows. For direct control, there's a separate Mindstorms Commander iOS app.

Sphero BB-8 or BB-9E

Sphero makes a number of robots you can control with an iPhone or iPad, but perhaps the neatest are BB-8 and BB-9E, taken from the latest "Star Wars" trilogy. These roll around on spheres, and have magnetically-attached heads like their movie namesakes. Careful — a hard collision can cause their heads to temporarily pop off, but they'll go right on after the crash.



Sphere's Droids app is used for manual control and some autonomous modes, including a "Watch With Me" feature which syncs with the movie trilogy. BB-8 and BB-9E are both on discount, but may be hard to find given their popularity.

The ONE Smart Keyboard Pro

The ONE Smart Keyboard Pro

At $799, the ONE Smart Keyboard Pro at a retail of $799 is a serious investment, but might be worth it if you know your child is equally serious about music. The keyboard can connect to an iPad app for access to lessons, sheet music, and 128 instruments. LEDs on the keyboard itself help point beginners to which notes to play, though you'll eventually want to turn those lights off to help with memorization.

XCOM: The Board Game

XCOM: The Board Game

The XCOM series is a pretty popular series of strategy games for PCs, consoles, and mobile devices. The Board Game puts up to four players in different roles within XCOM as the futuristic organization fights an alien invasion. Essential to the game is an iPhone/iPad app, which is used to coordinate the alien faction and respond to player victories and defeats.

XCOM: The Board Game retails for $60, but is often on sale for $50 or a bit less on Amazon.

Osmo Genius Kit

Osmo Genius

The Osmo Genius (retail $99) uses iOS software, a special stand, and an assortment of pieces to turn an iPad into a tool for learning games for kids aged 5 to 12. These cover subjects like math, physics, spelling, drawing, and visual puzzle solving. Just check which iPad you have before you buy, since the stand won't fit iPads over 10.5 inches.

SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller

SteelSeries Nimbus

It's not a toy per se, but the Nimbus is a good way of playing controller-enabled games for iPhones, iPads, and the Apple TV. It doesn't have a cradle, but it's also not locked to a particular device size, and its layout is similar to an Xbox or PlayStation controller. Parents will appreciate the fact that it has a 40-hour internal battery recharged by Lightning, instead of requiring expensive AA or AAA batteries.

The Nimbus retails for $60, but can be found for a "street price" of around $50.

Anki Cozmo

Anki Cozmo

The Cozmo ($179.95) is a small robot on treads that's designed not just to play games but to adapt to its owner and surroundings while developing a personality. Anki claims the robot can "express hundreds of emotions" through its animated face.

Via an iPhone or iPad owners can take direct control, customize settings, discover new things to try, or experiment with simplified programming. The Cozmo iOS app also lets users view things from the Cozmo's perspective.

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

Lego Boost Creative Toolbox

The Boost Creative Toolbox ($159.99) allows kids aged 7 to 12 to build one of five robots or machines using motors, a color and distance sensor, and 844 Lego pieces. A companion iOS app includes building instructions and over 60 activities. The core of the app though is a drag-and-drop programming interface, which teaches concepts such as loops and variables.