Apple has launched Swift Playgrounds, an application designed to help both children and budding developers learn Apple's Swift developer language.
At WWDC 2016, the iPad and iPhone maker revealed the new app, demonstrated on stage by App Camp for Girls founder Jean MacDonald. The app uses bright colors, characters and puzzles to teach children programming commands in a challenging but fun way, which will hopefully entice kids to learn while keeping their attention.
For the next generation, learning to code -- whether in Swift or not -- can help future job prospects in a short-staffed market. If you can develop an app in Swift, doors may not only be opened to earning revenue through the App Store but could also eventually lead to well-paid work in the industry.
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In a statement, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering said:
"Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is both easy enough for students and beginners, yet powerful enough to write real code. It's an innovative way to bring real coding concepts to life and empower the next generation with the skills they need to express their creativity."
Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the conference that the company relies on the creative contributions of developers to stay ahead of the game, and so if this momentum is going to continue far into the future, the company must tap into future talent.
Therefore, it makes sense that Apple should attempt to make learning its programming language easier and more accessible beyond SDKs and those who have already trained in other languages, and the app could be a way to interest future developers at the early stages.
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However, Apple is also not a company to miss a potential revenue stream. The tech giant already has a fairly strong presence in the education market with iPads in the classroom deals and iTunes U, and a tailored app for programming may also appeal to schools and strengthen the case for signing up to these deals.
In addition, by introducing children to the OS X and iOS operating systems, this may snag Apple a wider consumer base as they get older and turn towards Apple products rather than rival devices offered by the likes of Google, Samsung and Microsoft.
The app is available today for Apple developers via the iOS 10 developer preview platform and will go into public beta in July. The final version of the app will launch in the App Store in fall.