When Apple sent out invites for WWDC 2022 with the "Swiftly Approaching" tagline, the very first thought that came into my head was, obviously, Apple's Swift programming language and Swift Playgrounds.
Originally an iPad app that launched in 2016, Swift Playgrounds was brought to the spotlight again when Apple announced at WWDC 2020 that the app would be coming to macOS. Now, two years later, Apple has a "Swiftly Approaching" tagline for WWDC 2022. Coincidence? Maybe. But it's worth keeping in mind as we approach June 6.
So let's take a quick look at Swift Playgrounds. It's predominantly known as an educational tool that Apple created to help aspiring coders learn the basics of coding with Swift, and a recent update was released earlier this month to bring the app to version 4.1 with plenty of features, including a new live preview ability that shows you how exactly the app changes once you make changes to anything in the code.
As someone who has had no experience with coding (beyond tinkering with simple HTML on my now-defunct blogspot page), I went in blind and started going through the introductory lessons, including how to make a character move around, turn, collect gems and more. While it was incredibly simple, just stringing commands together, it was surprisingly satisfying to see the character move as I instructed it to.
This might not be much for adults or people who really want intensive coding lessons, but I can see this being a super engaging way to introduce coding to kids, and best of all, it's fun.
That being said, it's not just for younger children. Apple has a Swift Student Challenge which allows anybody 13 years or older in the United States (or 16 years or older in the EU) and enrolled in accredited academic institutions or in an Apple Developer Academy to participate and win prizes by creating apps on Swift Playgrounds.
Some of these winners even came from Singapore, such as 21-year-old Vincent Neo, a two-time winner in 2020 & 2021, who came up with the swiftPod app, a replica of a 3rd Gen iPod, allowing users to interact with the swiftPod as they would the iPod, using a working touch wheel to listen to music, play solitaire and more.
Richard Qi is another 21-year-old creator from Singapore whose app made with SwiftUI, RealityKit and ARKit 4 allowed people to see the iPhone image on the cover of the box come alive, as seen in the video from his Twitter above.
With more and more people getting into coding, this easy-to-pick-up learning tool is definitely helpful to help people get a glimpse into the basics. Keeping that in mind, we're excited to see what Apple might be announcing soon for their developers, and we're definitely betting on it having a lot to do with Swift.