Rattles are so 1995.
Applications like the recently released Shape Builder and ABC Memory Match are aimed at kid users who can play with blocks, match letters and numbers and put puzzles together on the iPhone by dragging and dropping items on the screen.
U.S. & World
The new programs are a positive way to keep kids occupied while parents are busy running errands, supporters said.
"I think they can be a great way to engage your child whether you're in the grocery store line or in the car," expert toy analyst Len Simonian told the Times
"They also eliminate the need to bring yet another gadget, like a portable DVD player," Simonian said.
Critics say the apps give children yet another screen to zone-out in front of and enable them to disengage from the outside world.
"What about conversation? What about standing in the grocery store line and talking about the colors of the chewing gum packets?" asked Dr. Michael Rich, a Harvard Medical School assistant pediatrics professor.
"What about giving them a little notebook and letting them draw and write what they see, instead of making them psychologically dependent on digital media?" Rich said.
Pencil? Paper? Human interaction? What is this, the Stone Age?
The baby-friendly programs are available for download in the iPhone application store.