Apple’s educational coding app, Swift Playgrounds, will be getting a big upgrade next week. Apple will add support for coding and controlling a variety of robots and toys using the Swift language, the company announced in a press release.
The update, version 1.5, will allow users to program and operate a variety of popular Bluetooth-enabled robots, drones and toys right in the app, Apple said on Thursday. Among those popular devices are LEGO’s WINDSTORMS Education EV3 robot, the Skoog 2.0 tactical music cube, Sphero’s SPRK+ robotic ball and Star Wars-themed BB-8 droid, and several Parrot drone models including the Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider, the company added.
“More than 1 million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s VP of Software Engineering. “Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”
Apple first released Swift Playgrounds about a year ago as an easy way to teach children and adults alike the basics of coding. It’s based around Swift, Apple’s powerful, flexible and easy-to-learn programming language that’s been used to create more than 250,000 iOS apps. Notably, Swift Playgrounds stands out as one of the few kid-friendly educational solutions that uses an actual programming language, rather than simplified code, Engadget pointed out.
Swift Playgrounds is available as a free download on the App Store, and will run on all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, as well as the iPad mini 2 and newer devices — so long as they’re running at least iOS 10. Version 1.5 is slated to be released on Monday, June 5 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.