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IBM and AELTC preview new Wimbledon iPad app ahead of 2013 Championships

On the scale of good and bad ways that a journalist can start the day, coffee at Wimbledon's iconic All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) must surely rank as one of the more appealing propositions.

Throw in a preview of the tournament's new iPad app, produced in collaboration with IBM, and you've got a real cracker on your hands.

Suffice to say, that's exactly what we were treated to this morning, as we ankled round to leafy SW19 for a sneak peek at how the tech giant's partnership with the AELTC is shaping up ahead of 2013's first serve.

Specifically, we got a first look at the new Wimbledon app for iPad, which is currently pending App Store approval ahead of a pre-Championship release.

Based on our preview session this morning, what seemed most striking about the app was the real-time, interactive nature of its UI. Navigation is via an overhead map of the Wimbledon grounds, with colour-coded dropped pins indicating where different types of action are taking place. Utilising pinch-and-zoom, a user might then hone in on a specific court or match, at which point the app slides into its second screen trousers and serves up additional stats and insights.

The idea, according to IBM's Sam Seddon, was that the tablet would complete the digital Wimbledon experience - which also features a redesigned website and refreshed smartphone apps in 2013 - by offering users a companion to broadcast viewing at home.

"The bit that was missing was the tablet device. [It's} a really rich media companion – it fills in the block towards the end of day [and] provides that lie back, at home experience," he commented.

Another selling point of the new Wimbledon iPad app is that it will offer exclusive content like 360 degree panoramic images and video of the All England Club.

"We really wanted to show people what Wimbledon looks like if you're actually here," the AELTC's Alex Willis commented.

Rollout to Android was a possibility in the future, Willis added, though it wasn't a priority in 2013 because the "phone app actually works very well on an Android tablet - it scales."

The official Wimbledon for iPad app will be available for free.

Last year, IBM and the AELTC saw mobile app downloads soar from 750,000 to 1.5 million, despite intense competition for the attention of sport buffs from the 2012 London Olympics and football's European Championships.

For more on the action from SW19, check out Wimbledon Insights.