Disney AppMATes bring real toys to the iPad

Parents, it might be time to consider buying a second iPad, just for the kids. Disney has officially announced Disney AppMATes – Mobile Application Toys, which use your tablet as a playmat.

The toys themselves are fitted with little sensors, meaning the figure will come to live when used with the iPad – no cables, no Bluetooth, no drama. According to Disney, it’s a simple matter of downloading the (free!) AppMATes app, grabbing an AppMATes toy (not free!), placing it on the screen, and off you go.

Sunny Lauridsen, director of digital toys at Disney boasts:

We have cracked the technology code in changing the way kids play with their toys. Kids will always use toys to play out their favorite Disney stories, but Disney Appmates now allows them to include technology which has become a way of life for them through a beautifully rich app.

At this stage, Disney/Pixar‘s beloved Cars 2 characters are getting their own little AppMATes toys, but I’d wager they won’t be the last. There’s a handful of toys to collect, each one unlocking different features and content specific to the character. Kids (of any age) can guide the AppMATes vehicle on the tablet screen, turning the iPad into a virtual map of Radiator Springs.

…if you don’t have the AppMATes toys, all is not lost. You can still use your fingers to drive a virtual car around the Cars 2 map – but you will miss out on some key elements of the adventure, only available with the toys.

Disney AppMATes - Cars 2

Disney AppMATes - Cars 2

If you’re in North America, keep an eye out after October 1st – these vehicles are set to start popping up all over the place, with more due in November. The App will be available from early October also – but we have no news at this stage about whether or not AppMATes toys will be heading out into the big wide world and making it into other territories.

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