Teddy Bears Cuddle Up to IPhones

A high-tech, “interactive” teddy bear is showing Apple’s youngest fans that no age is too early to heed the iPhone’s siren song.

Developed by Happitaps, the iPhone Interactive Bear comes with a free app, transforming the bear into a talking, singing and game-playing companion for children as young as 18 months. Parents can slide their iPhones or iPod Touches into the bear’s face and entertain their children for hours, granted adults don’t need to use the handset themselves.

The Interactive Bear features a toddler mode for children too young to understand the concept of apps, and offers educational games for older kids. Children can practice ABCs and listen to the bear read stories.

Childhood is probably still enjoyable without the latest technological gadgets, but the build-up of kid-friendly iPhone accessories flooding the market indicates businesses are betting big on little ones getting their hands on Apple products.

Apple is promoting the iPad’s potential as a learning tool, but accessories like Interactive Bear use the company’s products as extra-curricular entertainment. One study says more toddlers know how to play Angry Birds than tie their shoes, indicating children quickly pick up mobile technology with intuitive ease.

In addition to the Interactive Bear, iPhone accessories on the market can transform the device into an Etch-a-Sketch, targeting both children and nostalgic adults. Lego developed another product aimed at the diaper demographic, introducing an app and accompanying toys that turn Legos into a challenging puzzle.

Interactive Bear represents the next wave of toys, interconnected with the mobile technology taking children’s products by storm. The iPhone’s operating system appeals to children’s learning style, making the phone a potentially useful education buy for kids.

No word on whether the toy completely protects the iPhone from drool or juice, but it could provide valuable learning and entertainment.

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