Apple has big plans for Swift, the wildly popular programming language it first introduced in 2014.
Swift is already a smash hit: Over 100,000 apps have started using Swift to build at least some of their code, including Twitter, Uber, and Lyft, not least because Apple purpose-built it to be easy to learn.
Indeed, Swift has seen a lot of love from schools and classrooms everywhere. To keep that train going, Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds on Monday, an official iPhone and iPad app for kids (and adults) to learn how to code with Swift.
“We believe it’s the absolute best way to teach everyone to code,” says Apple CEO Tim Cook. “We believe code should be a required language in all schools.”
In an on-stage demo, Apple demonstrated a few Swift Playgrounds lessons, including building a simple emoji-stacking game. The app prompts the user to adjust things like weight and gravity, showing them how changes to the code affect the way the game is build and played.
Swift Playgrounds includes a custom iPhone keyboard with commonly-used symbols and functions in Swift, to simplify the learning process.
This dovetails nicely with Apple’s broader ambitions for Swift, which it sees as “the major language for the next 20 years of programming in our industry.” More kids doing more programming with Swift pushes it to more places.
The news got wild cheers from the audience at WWDC, which includes 350 student developers attending on an Apple-issued scholarship.
Swift Playgrounds is available as a preview to developers today. It will be in public beta in July, and release on the iPhone and iPad App Store alongside iOS 10, which comes out in the fall of 2016.