Apple’s ‘App Development with Swift’ Curriculum Expanding to Dozens of Community Colleges

Apple today announced that its App Development with Swift curriculum will now be offered in more than 30 leading community college systems across the United States in the 2017-2018 school year.


The full-year course, available for free on the iBooks store, teaches students how to build apps using Apple's open source programming language Swift. Apple says the course takes students with no programming experience and enables them to build fully-functional apps of their own design.
“We’ve seen firsthand how Apple’s app ecosystem has transformed the global economy, creating entire new industries and supporting millions of jobs,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We believe passionately that same opportunity should be extended to everyone, and community colleges have a powerful reach into communities where education becomes the great equalizer.”
The community college systems adopting the App Development with Swift curriculum in the fall include Austin Community College District, Northeast Mississippi Community College, Northwest Kansas Technical College, and additional campuses in the Alabama Community College System.
“We’re thrilled to have Apple join our mission to make Austin more affordable for people who already live in the city,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “Apple is going to be a force multiplier in the community’s ongoing efforts to lift 10,000 out of poverty and into good jobs over the next five years.”
Austin town mayor Steve Adler said Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Austin today. While there, it's possible Cook may have other announcements on his agenda.


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Swift Creator and Former Apple Engineer Chris Lattner Joins Google’s AI Team

Chris Lattner, once responsible for leading the teams behind Xcode and Swift, made headlines earlier this year when he left Apple to work at Tesla.

At the time, Lattner told MacRumors the opportunity to work on Tesla's self-driving project with the Tesla Autopilot team was "irresistible." Lattner lasted just six months at Tesla, however, and left the company in June.

"Chris just wasn't the right fit for Tesla and we've decided to make a change," the company told The Wall Street Journal after Lattner exited. Lattner went on to announce on Twitter that he was seeking companies interested in a "seasoned engineering leader," which has apparently led to a new role at Google.

Lattner today announced that he has joined the Google Brain team to work on artificial intelligence. Google Brain is Google's research unit, and Lattner is expected to work on TensorFlow, Google's open-source machine learning software.

Tags: Google, Swift

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Swift Playgrounds Will Soon Be Able to Program and Control Robots, Drones, and Toys

Apple today announced that Swift Playgrounds, its iPad app aimed at making learning how to code interactive and fun, will be able to program and control robots, drones, musical instruments, and other toys when the latest version of the app is released at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week.


Swift Playgrounds version 1.5, set to be released on June 5, will support several popular Bluetooth-enabled devices, including LEGO's MINDSTORMS Education EV3 robot, Sphero's SPRK+ robotic ball and BB-8 droid, UBTECH's Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit, Dash by Wonder Workshop, Parrot drones, and other toys.
“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 senior vice president 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 invited a small group of reporters to its Cupertino headquarters to demo the functionality, including Engadget, which put together a brief video showing off the programmable toys in action.


Swift Playgrounds requires no coding knowledge to begin with. Kids and adults alike learn how to code by completing a collection of coding lessons and challenges, and the ability to program and control robots, drones, and musical instruments will make it all the more fun. The app uses Apple's own programming language, Swift.

Swift Playgrounds is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, and iPad mini 2 or newer.


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Apple Launches App Development Curriculum for U.S. High School and College Students

Apple today announced a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum comes as a free download from the iBooks Store.

Called "App Development with Swift", the full-year course aims to teach students the elements of app design using Swift, Apple's increasingly popular programming languages. Apple said students who undertake the course will learn to code and design fully functioning apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology in the process.


Beginning in the fall, six community college systems serving nearly 500,000 students across the United States will be among the first to offer the curriculum, according to Apple. Participating colleges include the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College, and San Mateo Community College District.
"We've seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we're thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love."
Since its launch in 2014, Swift has been consistently promoted by Apple as ideal for kids who are keen to code, with its gentle learning curve demonstrated in Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches children how to use the language. The new curriculum includes a comprehensive student guide with playground exercises, mini projects and quizzes, as well as a teachers guide with grading rubrics, solutions code and Keynote presentations.

Swift has become one of the most sought-after skills for freelance developers, experiencing more than 200 percent year-on-year growth, according to one study.

Earlier this month, Apple announced the creation of a $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund focused on creating jobs in the US throughout its supply chain. Apple said the new Swift coding curriculum is another example of its commitment to economic development and will help create even more career opportunities for students across the country.


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First Course Launches to Develop Apps For Android in Apple’s Swift Language

An Italian school has launched the first Android-specific course in Apple's increasingly popular open source Swift programming language.

The Swift University based in Reggio Emilia claims to be the first, globally, to offer the course for Android, and aims to show students how to use the programming language across both platforms while avoiding the limitations associated with cross-platform middleware such as Xamarin.

At the heart of the course is the use of a bespoke integrated development environment (IDE), rather than a converter, that allows coders to program in Swift instead of Java while using the normal classes of the Android SDK. The course summary, through Google Translate, is as follows:


By attending this course you will learn how to program apps for Android devices via the Android SDK but written in the Swift language. Thanks to this innovative course, students can easily port iOS projects to Android and/or develop a multi-platform app without using a middleware. This course is suitable for those who are already programmers in Swift, Java, C #, Objective-C and other programming languages. Topics are updated to the latest version of Android SDK.
Swift was introduced by Apple in 2014, with the aim of replacing Objective-C as an easier-to-learn language, and garnered major support from IBM and a variety of apps like Lyft, Pixelmator, and Vimeo. Since then it has steadily risen to prominence among both emerging and established developers, and last month broke into the top 10 in the TIOBE Index, which ranks programming languages by popularity.

Apple has actively promoted Swift as ideal for children who are keen to code, demonstrating its gentle learning curve in Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches children how to use the language. Apple has been updating and refining Swift since its debut, and unveiled Swift 3.1 on March 27.

(Thanks, Marcello!)

Tags: Swift, Android

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Apple’s Swift Programming Language Surging in Popularity

The rapidly increasing take-up of Apple's Swift programming language was confirmed again yesterday with the publication of a survey that ranks the popularity of programming languages.

In the latest TIOBE Index, Swift was ranked 10th, up four places from March 2016. As CultofMac notes, the nine programming languages ranked above it are at least two decades old, so breaking into the top 10 is a feat more impressive than it sounds. Swift was only introduced by Apple in 2014, replacing Objective-C as an easier-to-learn language.


Apple has promoted Swift as ideal for kids who are keen to code, with its gentle learning curve demonstrated in Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches children how to use the language. Apple has been updating and refining Swift since its debut, and is set to unveil Swift 3.1 this spring.

The TIOBE Index is calculated using search engine data to approximate the popularity of programming languages within online coding communities. Earlier this year, a quarterly study revealed that Swift had become one of the most sought-after freelance developer skills among employers.

Tag: Swift

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Swift Knowledge Quickly Becoming One of the Most In-Demand Skills for Freelance Developers

swift.pngPopular freelancing website Upwork today released its quarterly study ranking the fastest-growing skills employers are looking for, and Apple's Swift programming language scored the number two spot, meaning it's one of the most sought after skills for freelance developers.

Swift, along with the other top 10 skills that made the list in the fourth quarter of 2016, experienced more than 200 percent year-over-year growth. Other skills that have become more essential on Upwork alongside Swift include natural language processing, Tableau, Amazon Marketplace Web Services, and Stripe.

Introduced in 2014, Swift is Apple's programming language, developed in part by Chris Lattner who made headlines recently when he left Apple for Tesla. Designed to be concise yet expressive, Swift replaces Objective-C and is being increasingly adopted by developers.

Swift Playgrounds
Swift is meant to be simple to learn, something Apple highlights with Swift Playgrounds, an app that teaches children to code using the Swift language. Apple has been updating and refining Swift since its 2014 debut, and is set to unveil Swift 3.1 in the spring of 2017.

Upwork's Skills Index measures year-over-year growth rates based on freelancer billings through the Upwork site.

Tag: Swift

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Chris Lattner Says Opportunity to Work on Tesla’s Ambitious Self-Driving Efforts Was ‘Irresistible’

chris-lattner-portraitEarlier this month, Swift creator Chris Lattner announced he will be stepping down as director of Apple's Development Tools department to lead Tesla's Autopilot engineering team as VP of Autopilot Software.

Lattner did not explain the reason for the move, but he later denied a report claiming he "felt constrained" due to Apple's culture of secrecy. So, we decided to reach out to him to learn about his true motivations.

As it turns out, Lattner told MacRumors the answer is actually very simple: he is ready to move on to something new.
I've been writing code for more than 30 years, and 16 of those years have been in the developer tools space. I love it, but I am ready to move on to something else. Autopilot is clearly incredibly important to the world because of its ability to save people's lives (and increase convenience). It is also a very, very hard technology problem and my experience building large scale software and team building is useful. Of course, I’ve also been a huge Tesla fan for some time.
He added it was "a very difficult decision," but noted the opportunity to work with Tesla's Autopilot team was "irresistible."
This was a very difficult decision, because I care deeply about the technology and people at Apple and because I could see myself staying there for many more years. In the end though, the opportunity to dive into a completely new area and work with the amazing Tesla Autopilot team was irresistible.
At Tesla, Lattner will help the company achieve one of its biggest goals: fully self-driving vehicles. As of October 2016, Tesla said all vehicles produced in its factory, including the Model 3, have the hardware needed for "full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver," and it's now only a matter of time before the technology is enabled.


Tesla:
All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, the car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination or just home if nothing is on the calendar. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed. When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you.
Tesla Autopilot is semi-autonomous in its current state for tasks such as steering and parking. Tesla's second-generation hardware suite has eight cameras that provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve ultrasonic sensors and a forward-facing radar allow for detection of objects, even through heavy rain, fog, dust, and the car ahead.

tesla-autopilot
Tesla remains committed to enabling full self-driving capabilities by the end of the year, but the process of gaining regulatory approval, which Tesla said may vary widely by jurisdiction, will presumably be a long and challenging process. Once approved, however, the technology will truly change cars forever, and it's easy to imagine why Lattner would want to be part of that change.

At Apple, he led a group of about 200 people responsible for Swift, Xcode, Swift Playgrounds, Instruments, CPU and GPU compilers, and low-level tools, among other things. These tools are used both within Apple and by third-party developers targeting the iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS software platforms.

Lattner was hired at Apple in 2005 to bring his LLVM Compiler Infrastructure to production quality for use in its products. He then started working on the Swift programming language in 2010, and it became a key focus of the Development Tools team in 2013. Swift was ultimately introduced at WWDC 2014.


Swift now has a large community of developers contributing to it since it became open source in late 2015, so Lattner is in a good position to pursue a new opportunity without jeopardizing future development of the language. His duties will shift to Ted Kremenek, who had already been overseeing Swift for some time.

Lattner said Ted has been "one of the quiet but incredible masterminds" behind Swift, which has an "incredible future ahead of it."

Tags: Swift, Tesla

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Tesla-Bound Chris Lattner May Have ‘Felt Constrained’ by Apple’s Culture of Secrecy

Earlier this week, Swift creator and LLVM co-author Chris Lattner announced he will be leaving Apple later this month—he is headed to Tesla to lead its autopilot engineering team as Vice President of Autopilot Software.

chris-lattner-swift
Lattner, who oversaw Xcode among other tasks as director of Apple's Development Tools department, did not provide an explanation for his decision to leave the company, but "someone in Lattner's circle of developer friends" told Business Insider that Apple's culture of secrecy may have been a contributing factor.
"He always felt constrained at Apple in terms of what he could discuss publicly — resorting to off-the-record chats, surprise presentations, and the like," the person told us. "Similarly, I know he was constrained in recruiting and other areas. Eventually I know that can really wear people down."
Lattner, who joined Apple in 2005, did not respond to the publication's requests for comment, so the exact reason for his decision remains uncertain. He previously said the decision "wasn't made lightly," and that he plans to remain an active member of the Swift Core Team despite his departure.

What we do know is that Swift now has a large community of developers working on the programming language since it became open source in late 2015, so it is very possible that Lattner felt he was in a good position to pursue a new opportunity without jeopardizing future development of the language he created in 2010.

Swift, designed to work with Apple's Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks, was developed for iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Linux. The programming language was introduced at WWDC 2014 and is viewed as an alternative to Objective-C. Lattner said Apple's development of Swift will continue under Ted Kremenek.

Update: Lattner has shared an additional comment about Kremenek as spotted by Daring Fireball:
One thing that I don’t think is fully appreciated by the community: Ted has been one of the quiet but incredible masterminds behind Swift (and Clang, and the Clang Static Analyzer) for many years. His approach and modesty has led many to misunderstand the fact that he has actually been running the Swift team for quite some time (misattributing it to me). While I’m super happy to continue to participate in the ongoing evolution and design of Swift, I’m clearly outmatched by the members of the Apple Swift team, and by Ted’s leadership of the team. This is the time for me to graciously hand things over to folks who are far more qualified than me. Swift has an incredible future ahead of it, and I’m really thrilled to be small part of the force that helps guide its direction going forward.


Tags: Swift, Tesla

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Swift and Xcode Head Chris Lattner Leaving Apple This Month

Chris Lattner, Apple's Director of Developer Tools, has announced he will be leaving the company later this month to "pursue an opportunity in another space." Lattner was responsible for leading the teams behind Xcode, Swift, and some other development-related tools and compilers at Apple.

chris-lattner-swift
In a message posted to the Swift mailing list, shared by MacStories, Lattner said Ted Kremenek, currently Senior Manager of Languages and Runtimes at Apple, will be taking over as "Project Lead" for the Swift programming language, managing the "administrative and leadership responsibility" for Swift.org.
This recognizes the incredible effort he has already been putting into the project, and reflects a decision I’ve made to leave Apple later this month to pursue an opportunity in another space. This decision wasn't made lightly, and I want you all to know that I’m still completely committed to Swift. I plan to remain an active member of the Swift Core Team, as well as a contributor to the swift-evolution mailing list.
Lattner said he does not expect his resignation to impact day-to-day operations of the Swift team in any significant way. He also noted Apple's development of Swift 4 will continue under Kremenek. Apple previously said it will shift its focus to Swift 4 after Swift 3.1 is released over the coming months.

Tag: Swift

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