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Disney joins rush to embrace Apple's iPad

February 9, 2010 |  5:24 pm
Jobs-ipad When Walt Disney chief Bob Iger attended Apple Inc.'s unveiling of the new iPad two weeks ago in San Francisco, it seemed only a matter of time before content deals were announced.

Iger told Wall Street investors during Disney's earnings call Tuesday that the Burbank entertainment conglomerate plans to develop casual games and other forms of entertainment for the portable device, including digital books and a new and improved version of ESPN's ScoreCenter app on the iPhone, which provides real-time sores for more than 500 sports leagues around the world. 

"We find that the iPad has a lot of potential," Iger said. "We think it's a really compelling device. We think it could be a game-changer in terms of enabling us to create essentially new forms of content."

The iPad is a tablet-style computer that can display movies and television shows and Web videos, playing video games as well as books and newspapers. Iger said the quality of the 10-inch screen and its wireless Internet access open the door to a different kind of content than would be found on a computer or Internet-connected TV. Its speedier processor make it a more technically robust development platform than even the iPhone, he said.

Fans of an ABC program like "Lost" would be able to do more than merely watch the show on the iPad, Iger noted, and a new digital books initiative from Disney's Publishing Group could incorporate features such as singalong songs or simple animations.

"ESPN ScoreCenter, which is a great app on the iPhone and provides relatively rudimentary information scores basically," Iger said. "Suddenly we have an opportunity with a platform where you can make the scores come to life. We’re thinking about it in those terms."

Disney was the first of the major studios to sell television shows through Apple's iTunes store.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Apple Inc. CEO and Disney shareholder Steve Jobs announces the new iPad as he speaks during an Apple Special Event on Jan. 27 in San Francisco. (Credit: Ryan Anson / AFP/Getty Images)

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