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A peek at Disney Blast for Mac

Walt Disney says its Blast Online service for children is available to Macintosh users in beta form.

After more than a year of exclusive Windows software deals, Walt Disney announced today that its Blast Online service for children is available to Macintosh users in a beta version.

As previously reported by CNET NEWS.COM, the launch of Blast Online for Macintosh comes just as Apple Computer is unveiling its new consumer computer, the iMac, and bringing it to the market.

The free sneak preview of Blast Online for Macintosh is the culmination of a joint effort by Disney and Apple to bring the popular service to Mac users.

"In response to the large number of Macintosh owners around the world who have encouraged us in our effort to develop Disney Blast for their systems, we are thrilled to make this service available for Macintosh," said Richard Wolpert, president of Disney Online.

Apple's interim chief executive Steve Jobs added: "Disney Blast will be a great place for Mac users to visit, especially from their new iMac."

However, the launch of a Mac-compatible Disney Blast did not come without some tactical roadblocks. Though it has been a year since Disney unveiled the Web-based service, development of a Mac version was stalled because of a hardware glitch. Disney said the software plug-ins it preferred to use were not Mac-compatible when it was designing the service.

Wolpert added that development of the Mac version did not happen until Disney got enough help and attention from Apple.

"It took a while to get to point where we got the attention we needed," Wolpert said today. "We weren't getting the type support that we would have liked to get from Apple [back then]."

The Disney Blast Macintosh beta test period begins today and offers users free access to the subscription-based service. Once the test period ends, users will have the opportunity to sign up for the service at $5.95 per month or $39.95 per year.

Wolpert declined to specify how long the beta period would last, but added that "the question can be answered in a week or two."

NEWS.COM's Jim Davis contributed to this report.