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An Apple a day keeps the baby busy

gadgets Updated: Dec 06, 2011 20:48 IST

Make room in the toy box for the iPad.

Crayola allows tots to doodle on the iPad using its iMarker just as they would use a crayon on a colouring book. Tweens are able to belt out their favorite Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez tunes on a Disney microphone that turns the tablet into a karaoke machine. And technology accessories company Griffin enables teens to fly its toy helicopter by using the iPhone as a remote control.

This holiday season, toy makers have turned Apple Inc’s pricey tablet and smartphone into playthings for kids. They figure in this weak economy, parents will be willing to splurge on toys for their children that utilize devices they already have — or want — themselves.

Whenever Tiffany Fessler she sat down to check emails on her $829 iPad, her 20-month old son would climb into her lap wanting to use it. So, Fessler decided to get him the $29.99 Crayola iMarker, which transforms the iPad into a digital colouring book.

“Regardless of who they buy it for, once it is in the household, we know that kids use it,” says Vicky Lozano, vice president of marketing at Crayola.

This year, Apple is expected to double the number of iPhones sold to 90.6 million worldwide, according to research firm Gartner, while the number of iPads sold is expected to triple to 46.7 million.

And Apple products have a certain "cool factor" with kids that toy companies are hoping to tap into. The iPad and iPhone are among the most coveted electronics this holiday season among kids. About 44% of 6- to 12-year-olds want the iPad, according to a survey by research firm Nielsen. The iPod touch was No 2 with 30%, followed by the iPhone at 27%. And 10% of infants have used one of the Apple devices before their first birthday.

“It’s mostly something for kids to use in the car or at the doctor’s office,” says Chris Baynes, a toy analyst. “It’s a way to get the kid to be quiet.”

Tiffany Fessler would agree.