Apple is bringing augmented reality to its Swift Playgrounds app designed to teach kids the basics of computer programming. The US technology giant announced the move Tuesday at its Education-centric event at Lane Tech High School in Chicago.
With the update, Apple will allow kids to take advantage of its ARKit augmented reality platform announced last year. The students writing codes will now be able to bring AR characters who follow students’ programming instructions into their Swift Playgrounds projects.
The Swift Playgrounds app is conceived as a programming software for beginners and evolve them into Apple’s XCode professional programming software and Swift programming language, which was introduced in 2014. Apple says the number of programmers adopting the Swift language for writing iOS apps since its launch in 2014 has rocketed up the charts.
The Swift Playgrounds app is available only for iPads and not on iPhones, Macs or browsers. The new announcement is part of an effort to win back lost market share in the education from Google and Microsoft.
Google is the leader in the K-12 education market in the US with a market share of around 66 percent. The search giant has made significant inroads in the segment with its Chromebooks and education software such as Google Classroom, which make it easier for teachers to monitor progress of their students and give assignments. Microsoft, on the other hand, is offering education edition of its Minecraft app, that has been tuned for teaching.
Apple also announced a 10-year study called Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow to track its products in schools. Apple CEO Tim Cook also detailed company’s Everyone Can Code initiative, which includes classes at its store to teach programming using Swift Playgrounds.