You’ll need a (pain) tablet this Christmas

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iol scitech march 7 ipad AP The move aims to boost Apple's share of the market for mobile devices for enterprises, by offering specially tailored apps, security and other services that are part of IBM's core business.

London - Toys that connect to iPads are being tipped as one of the “must have” gifts for children this Christmas as studies show rocketing numbers play games on their parents' tablets.

After a dramatic rise in sales of tablets for children last year, makers are intent on going a step further by offering toys that can be used with iPads.

The toys, such as a car or an action figure, are placed on the tablet's screen and interact with an app.

In Britain, more than 2.8 million people own an iPad, and many belong to parents who are willing to hand over their devices to their offspring.

Recent research in the UK and the United States found 39 percent of adults who own an iPad have downloaded an app for children aged six to 11. Another study said parents download an average of 6.8 apps for children aged three to eight every three months.

Toys that connect to tablets are now tipped to be one of the top 10 Christmas toys this year. Among them are toymaker Mattel's Apptivities - which link up to iPads - but at least three other companies have their own versions.

Samantha Loveday, editor of Toy News, said: “Christmas is obviously the toy industry's most important part of the year. There are a lot of good toys coming out, but I think Apptivity toys have the potential to be up there. It's very 'of the moment'.”

She said the toy industry had a long track record of recognising trends within the adult world and incorporating them into children's play: “They have been looking at the rise of digital and are very good at working that new kind of technology into their toys.

“We've started to see it come on over the last 12 to 18 months. It started with kids' tablets such as LeapPad by LeapFrog and Inno Tab from Vtech. They were a phenomenal success.

“The toy industry recognises that kids do play with their parents' technology, like iPhones and the iPad. The idea is the kids want to be like their parents. The Apptivity is part of that. It's another sector we've started to see grow over the last 12 to 18 months.”

Andrea Abbis, toys and nursery trading manager for Argos, the UK's largest toy retailer, also expected them to be a success.

“Toys which incorporate technology have already proved very popular with our customers and we expect them to be a big hit for Christmas,” she said.

Dr Amanda Gummer, a psychologist specialising in play and parenting, said: “Today's children are growing up with technology and expect it in many of their playthings. Combining a physical toy with the excitement of an app and the contemporary appeal of an iPad is a completely new way for kids to play.” - The Independent

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