Apple expands Swift Playgrounds to robots, drones

The updated iPad app will let students program third-party devices like Lego's Mindstorms Education EV3.

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Apple

Starting June 5, students can use Apple's educational coding app Swift Playgrounds to program robots, drones, and musical instruments, Apple announced Thursday.

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Apple is partnering with device makers to connect the Swift app to Bluetooth-enabled robots, enabling kids to program devices like Lego Mindstorms Education EV3, the Sphero SPRK+ (a popular robotic ball that rolls, turns, accelerates, and changes colors) and Parrot drones.

About a year after Swift Playgrounds was launched, there are now more than 1 million kids and adults using the iPad app, Apple noted.

"Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds," said Craig Federighi, Apple SVP of software engineering, in a statement. "It's an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn."

Apple has taken other steps recently to further its educational initiatives. In April, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company announced it's launching a range of educational sessions at 495 stores covering coding, media, art, and design to help people get more from their Apple hardware.

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