Toys are about to change for the iGeneration, with a new gadget from Disney, linking together an iPad, an app, and whatever imagination your children can muster.
Released late last year, AppMates is a new kind of toy, and one that may be considered a little too expensive for most parents. While most toys just require imagination, the AppMates require an iPad to function, relying on Apple’s tablet for an app that brings the toys to life.
Reminding us of Micro Machines, an AppMate is a tiny toy with sensors on the bottom designed to interact with specially made apps. This app essentially turns an iPad into an interactive playmat, allowing the toy to interact with an ever-changing video game based world.
Made in conjunction with Disney’s “Cars 2” film, the AppMates take on the look of characters from the franchise. For our test, we took Mater and Finn McMissile for a spin, sitting them on our iPad and loading up the free app available from the AppStore.
Depending on which character you place on the iPad, the car springs to life, switching on the headlights and speaking up with the movie voice. For Mater, this brought the world of Radiator Springs to to life, flickering his headlights, switching on his top tow truck light, and then being given the freedom to drive around for fun or play games with other characters.
Controlling the cars is fairly simple: just hold the car by the windows, basically pinching the cars behind their eyes. This needs to be done for the AppMates to function, as letting go will see the cars stop working altogether.