In order to get more people learn how to code, Apple has unveiled a brand new iPad app called Swift Playgrounds. Aimed largely at students, it features a number of programming lessons and tutorials to create real apps that can be shared to friends using Mail, Messages or even the web.
Programming lessons developed by Apple will teach the fundamentals – including creating functions, perform loops, and using conditional statements. Educators and other developers can further expand the app by adding their own unique challenges using Xcode.
The interface is designed to be engaging and not too complicated, allowing them to see their results immediately after changing a line of code or two. It utilises the iPad multi-touch interface to let you edit numbers in place, or drag the boundaries of a loop function to wrap around existing code. It also includes a specialised keyboard that lets you type additional characters that are common to Swift, such as the asterisk (*).
Swift Playgrounds is available to all developers as part of the iOS 10 developer preview, and will be included in the public beta in July. The final version is expected to come out in spring – most likely September – and will be free to download. Apple notes that you will need to have an iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad mini 2 or above and to use the app.